String of Turtles Plant (Peperomia prostrata) Indoor Care and Propagation Guide


String of Turtles, Peperomia prostrata Care

Botanical name: Peperomia prostrata
Family: Piperaceae
Common names: String of Turtles, Magic Marmer

Description

Peperomia prostrata commonly called String of Turtles Plant or Magic Marmer is a compact perennial plant that is easy to grow and adapts well to indoor growing conditions.

Magic Marmer bears succulent leaves about 1 in. long, heart-shaped with beautiful patterns of white veins which vary in color from maroon to dark blue to purple in young plants and they become silvery-white as the plant matures.

The veining on the leaves gives them the look of tiny turtles and hence the common name, 'String of Turtles'.

String of Turtles Plant is a trailing type of Peperomia and is an ideal choice for a hanging basket.

Flower

The flowers in String of Turtles Plant are rat-tail flower-heads made up of cream-colored flowers on an upright spike.

Origin

Peperomia prostrata is native to the tropical rain forests in Brazil where it grows as an epiphyte on trees. An epiphyte grows on trees for support only, it does not affect the tree in any way.

Is String of Turtles Plant toxic?

String of Turtles Plant (Peperomia prostrata) like other Peperomia Plants is non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.

Where to Buy

If you are looking to acquire String of Turtles Plants, check out this Link to Etsy Shops.

String of Turtles, Peperomia prostrata Care

Peperomia prostrata Care Indoors

String of Turtles Plant (Peperomia prostrata) does best in bright light with some direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Peperomia prostrata requires regular pruning to keep it neat, minimize pest and disease infestations as well as rejuvenate growth.

Repotting is only needed when the plant becomes extremely pot-bound. Keep reading for more details on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Watering

Water String of Turtles Plant liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

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

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can result in root-rot disease and eventual loss of the plant.

Light Requirements

String of Turtles Plant grows best in bright light with a few hours of sunshine. It can also grow under a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.

Too little light can cause the plant to be leggy with wide spaces between the leaves as well as lose the beautiful leaf color.

Keep the Magic Marmer away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.

Temperature and Humidity

Average warmth between 18-250C is ideal for String of Turtles. Keep it away from cold draughts as they can cause leaf drop.

String of Turtles Plant thrives in a humid environment. Set pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity.

You can also grow the Magic Marmer in a terrarium as high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium.

Fertilizer

Feed Peperomia prostrata with a balanced, liquid fertilizer monthly during the growing period to encourage a lush growth.

Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is reduced and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.

Potting Mix

The best potting mix for String of Turtles 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.

Magic Marmer is prone to root-rot if the soil gets soggy (retains too much water), therefore, Cactus and Succulents Soil is ideal as it drains easily. Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Soil from Etsy.

Repotting

Repot String of Turtles Plant during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound. However, you can refresh the soil at the beginning of the growing season if not repotting.

Use a pot one size larger than the current one and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

A shallow, terracotta pot rather than deep pot is preferable as String of Turtles Plant has a small root system.

Pruning

Pruning Peperomia prostrata involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat as well as reduce pest and disease infestations.

To encourage a bushy, compact growth for the String of Turtles Plant, regularly pinch off the growing tips.

Cut back the stems during the growing season to rejuvenate growth; as the plant ages, it becomes straggly.

Propagation

String of Turtles Plant (Peperomia prostrata) propagation can be done in 3 ways; from leaf cuttings, from stem-tip cuttings or by plant division.

1. How to propagate String of Turtles from leaf cuttings in water

The leaf cuttings root easily, therefore there is no need for a rooting hormone. Take leaf cuttings from a healthy String of Turtles Plant and ensure each leaf cutting has a petiole.

Allow some time for the formation of a protective callus tissue over the cuts of the leaf cuttings to prevent rotting.

Once callused, place the leaf cuttings in a jar of clean plain water or in a propagation station and change the water every 5-7 days.

Place the set up in warm, well-lit place until growth begins at the base of the cuttings leaf petiole. Allow enough time for substantial growth of the roots and new leaves.

Transfer the rooted cuttings to individual pots in moist, Cactus and Succulents Soil and place in bright, indirect light. For a fuller plant, transplant several plants into one pot.

Maintain the soil moist until the new Peperomia prostrata are well established after which you can begin routine care.

2. How to propagate String of Turtles from stem-tip cuttings

The stem-tip cuttings root easily, therefore, there is no need for a rooting hormone.

Take stem cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy String of Turtles Plant and ensure each cutting has at least 2 sets of leaves.

Allow some time for the formation of a protective callus tissue over the cuts of cuttings to prevent rotting.

Once callused, insert the cuttings in moist rooting soil and place in warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight.

Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and substantial growth has been observed.

Transfer the rooted stem cuttings to individual pots in moist, Cactus and Succulents Soil and begin routine care. For a fuller plant, transfer several cuttings into one pot.

3. How to propagate String of Turtles by plant division

Water the String of Turtles Plant thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment as a well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

Slide out the plant from its pot and divide it into several sections by pulling apart the roots. Ensure each section has adequate roots to hasten establishment.

Pot these sections in individual pots in moist, Cactus and Succulents Soil and place in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight.

Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges on the sections. Allow the new String of Turtles Plants to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.

String of Turtles, Peperomia prostrata

Peperomia prostrata Problems

String of Turtles Plant (Peperomia prostrata) problems include brown leaf tips, dropping leaves, dull leaves, shriveled leaves, wilting, leggy growth, diseases and pests among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Brown leaf tips and edges

Brown leaf tips and edges in String of Turtles Plant are due to sudden drop in temperature from cold draughts.

Remove all the damaged leaves and keep the plant away from cold draughts like windy doors, drafty windows, air conditioners and maintain average room temperatures.

Dropping leaves

Dropping leaves (leaf fall) in String of Turtles Plant is caused by many and varied reasons like overwatering, insufficient lighting, overfeeding among others.

Here is an outline on 12 reasons why Peperomia is dropping leaves (with solutions).

Brown, shriveled leaves

The cause of brown and shriveled leaves in String of Turtles Plant is too dry air (low humidity) as it prefers a humid environment.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Dull and lifeless leaves

Exposure of String of Turtles Plant to hot direct sunlight will cause the leaves to become dull and lifeless. Shield the plant from hot direct sunlight or move it to a shaded spot.

Leggy stems

Leggy stems in String of Turtles Plant are due to too low light. The plant grows best in bright light to light shade.

Cut back the stems to rejuvenate growth and move the plant to a brighter spot where it will receive medium to bright light or instal a grow light if the natural light is not adequate.

Wilted and discolored leaves and corky swellings under the leaves

String of Turtles Plant wilted and discolored leaves and corky swellings under the leaves are due to soggy soil.

This is an indication of root-rot disease. Isolate the affected plant and treat it appropriately for the disease.

To prevent the soil from getting soggy, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is loose and free-draining.

Diseases

The other common disease in String of Turtles Plant is leaf spot disease. Isolate the affected plant and treat it appropriately with Neem oil.

Pests

String of Turtles Plant is prone to whiteflies, mealy bugs, scale insects and spider mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read more on how to identify and control houseplants pests.

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