String of Rubies Plant (Othonna capensis) Indoor Care and Propagation


String of Rubies Plant, Othonna capensis

Botanical name: Othonna capensis
Synonmy: Othonna crassifolia
Family: Asteraceae
Common names: String of Rubies Plant, String of Pickles, Ruby Necklace, Little Pickles

Description

Othonna capensis commonly called String of Rubies Plant, String of Pickles, Little Pickles or Ruby Necklace is characterized by thin, oval-shaped leaves and reddish-purple stems.

The bean-shaped leaves turn a bright ruby red when the plant is grown under bright sunshine. The flowers are a bright yellow color.

In its natural habitat, Othonna capensis grows as a trailer, with stems trailing on the ground, rooting where they touch and forming dense mats.

The trailing stems are spectacular when they cascade downwards beautifully in a hanging basket or on a pedestal.

The odd shaped leaves in Ruby Necklace is an adaptation to arid conditions and allows for the storage of water while exposing minimum surface area to the dry desert air which greatly reduces water loss.

The fleshy leaves and stems store water, which allows the Little Pickles to go for a considerably long period without being watered.

Origin

Othonna capensis is a trailing, perennial, succulent vine native to the drier parts of Southwest Africa.

Toxicity

String of Rubies Plant (Othonna capensis) is non-toxic to both humans and pets. The plant is safe to grow in the home.

Where to Buy

String of Pickles Plants are available online at Etsy. Buy String of Rubies Plant online from Etsy.

String of Rubies Plant, Othonna capensis

Othonna capensis Care Indoors

String of Rubies Plant (Othonna capensis) blossoms in very bright light, average warmth and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with two feedings during the growing season.

Othonna capensis requires regular pruning to keep it neat as well as rejuvenate growth. Frequent repotting is not needed as it has a small root system. Keep reading for more on the best growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

String of Rubies Plant grows best in bright light with at least 6 hours of morning or late afternoon sunlight per day.

Bright sunshine enhances a bright ruby red color on the leaves and stems. Low light results in a leggy growth with wide spaces btween the leaf nodes and undersized leaves.

Othonna capensis can also grow under a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.

Watering

Water String of Rubies Plant thoroughly (until water comes out through the drainage holes) during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of the soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Significantly decrease watering during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Make sure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid soggy soil as it can lead to rotting.

Temperature and Humidity

String of Rubies Plant requires an average warmth within the range of 20-270C during the growing season inorder to thrive.

Keep it away from draughts as it does not like sudden changes in the temperature. Extreme temperatures can cause leaf drop.

String of Rubies Plant has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for this plant. Ensure that there is good air circulation to prevent fungal disease infestations.

Potting Soil

The best soil for String of Rubies Plant should be rich in organic matter, loose and free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out fast enough.

Othonna capensis is prone to root-rot if the soil gets soggy (retains too much water), therefore, Cactus and Succulents Soil is ideal for the plant. Purchase Cactus and Succulents Soil for String of Pickles Plant from Etsy.

Fertilizer

Feed String of Rubies Plant twice during the growing season with a Succulents Fertilizer. This plant is not a heavy feeder so be careful when feeding.

Do not feed in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.

Repotting

String of Rubies has a small root system so frequent repotting is not necessary. Repot the plant at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes crowded in its current pot.

Use a pot 1 size larger than the current one and one that has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to rotting of the plant.

A shallow pot is ideal for String of Pickles as it has a small root system and be careful not to bury the stems to prevent rotting.

Pruning

Pruning String of Rubies Plant involves removal of any dead leaves and stems to keep it neat and tidy. Trim the stems at the beginning of the growing season if they become straggly to rejuvenate growth.

Propagation

String of Rubies Plant (Othonna capensis) propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings.

How to propagate String of Rubies Plant from stem cuttings

Take 4-6 in. stem cuttings from a healthy String of Rubies Plant. Ensure each cutting has 2-3 leaf nodes as this is where rooting will occur.

Allow the cuttings to dry (callus) for about 5-7 days to avoid rotting.

Fill the rooting cointainer or pot with quality succulents soil and moisten it moderately.

Once callused, press the cut end of the cutting into the soil or lay the cuttings on top of the soil and lightly press the leaf nodes into the soil.

Place the set-up in a brightly-lit, warm place and maintain the soil moist until the cuttings are well rooted.

Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new Little Pickles plants to individual pots after which you can begin routine care.

String of Rubies Plant, Othonna capensis

Othonna capensis Problems

String of Rubies Plant (Othonna capensis) problems include root-rot disease, dropping leaves, shrivelled leaves, diseases and pests among others. Read on for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Plant dying

String of Rubies Plant may die due to varied reasons which are mainly due to failure to provide the right growing conditions.

Othonna capensis may die due to overwatering, underwatering, overfeeding, hot direct sunlight, pests and diseases. Read more on 11 Reasons Why String of Rubies Plant is Dying and How to Fix Them

Dropping (losing) leaves

String of Rubies Plant may lose leaves when not given the correct growing conditions like proper watering, right temperature, correct feeding among others.

String of Rubies Plant can drop leaves due to improper watering, improper feeding, wrong temperature, diseases and pests among others. Here are 12 Reasons String of Rubies Plant is Losing Leaves.

Elongated (leggy) stems

String of Rubies Plant elongated (leggy) stems during the cold season is due to too much water. Water less and maintain the soil barely moist.

If elongated (leggy) stems happen during the growing period, the cause is too little light. String of Pickles Plant grows best in bright light with some direct sunlight.

Too little light will cause the plant to grow weak, elongated (leggy) stems in an attempt to reach the light source.

Move the plant to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light with some direct sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

Pests

The common pests in String of Rubies Plant include mealy bugs, aphids, scale insects and spider mites.

These are sap-sucking insects which attack the new growth from where they suck the plant sap and will cause wilting, yellowing and leaf drop.

Isolate the affected Othonna capensis and treat it with appropriate products like neem oil and insecticidal soap to get rid of the pests.

Diseases

String of Rubies Plant is prone to powdery mildew and leaf spot disease. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the diseases.

Shrivelled (wilted and discolored) leaves

String of Rubies Plant shrivelled (wilted and discolored) leaves can be due to two possible reasons.

One possible reason is overwatering during the cold season which will result in soggy soil.

Reduce the amount and frequency of watering in the cold season and maintain the soil barely moist.

Growth of the plant is minimal during the cold season therefore it does not require much water.

The second possible reason for shrivelled leaves in String of Pickles Plant is underwatering during the growing season.

Water the plant moderately during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of the soil to dry out between waterings but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Rotting base and stem collapse

String of Rubies Plant rotting base and stem collapse is an indication of basal stem-rot disease which is brought about by overwet conditions.

Use the upper stem to propagate new plants and discard the infected parts. Reduce frequency of watering during the cold season in the future.

Brown, dry leaf spots

String of Rubies Plant brown, dry leaf spots are caused by underwatering. Water String of Pickles Plant liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of the soil to dry out between waterings but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

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