String of Lemons Plant (Senecio citriformis) Indoor Care, Propagation, Problems and Solutions


String of Lemons Plant, Senecio citriformis, Curio citriformis

Botanical name: Senecio citriformis
Synonmy: Curio citriformis
Family: Asteraceae
Common names: String of Lemons Plant, String of Tears Plant, String of Teardrops Plant

Description

Senecio citriformis commonly called String of Lemons Plant, String of Tears Plant or String of Teardrops Plant bears erect stems on which oval, succulent, teardrop-shaped or lemon-shaped leaves grow.

The leaves in String of Tears Plant are green to dark-green with translucent longitudinal stripes (windows).

Each leaf bears the translucent windows that run the length of the leaf and allows light to reach into interior of the leaf where photosynthesis takes place.

The odd shaped leaves is an adaptation to arid conditions and allows for the storage of water while exposing minimum surface area to the dry desert air.

This greatly reduces water loss as the fleshy leaves and stems store water, which allows the String of Tears Plant to go for a considerably long period without being watered.

Origin

Senecio citriformis also called Curio citriformis is a perennial, succulent vine native to the drier parts of Southwest Africa.

Toxicity

String of Lemons Plant (Senecio citriformis like other Senecio species is toxic to humans and pets as outlined by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

If ingested, it can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Contact with the plant sap may cause skin irritation or skin rash in sensitive skin therefore, always wear gloves when handling the plant.

Keep the String of Tears Plant from the reach of children and pets to avoid mishaps.

Where to Buy

String of Teardrops Plants are available online at Etsy. Buy String of Lemons Plants online from Etsy.

String of Lemons Plant, Senecio citriformis, Curio citriformis

Senecio citriformis Care Indoors

String of Lemons Plant (Senecio citriformis) prefers bright light with some direct sunlight, moderate warmth and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils coupled with regular feeding during the growing season.

Curio citriformis requires pruning to keep the plant neat, to minimize pest and disease infestations and rejuvenate growth.

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

Light Requirements

String of Lemons Plant grows best in bright light with some morning or late afternoon sunlight of at least 4-6 hours.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the String of Teardrops Plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Curio citriformis can also grow under a grow light where natural light is inadequate.

Watering

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

Lessen watering during the cold period to maintain the soil barely moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely as it can lead to wilting and leaf drop.

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

Temperature and Humidity

Average warmth between 20-270C during the growing season is ideal for String of Lemons Plant. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for this plant.

Keep the Senecio citriformis away from cold draughts as they can cause sudden drops in temperature which result in leaf drop.

String of Lemons 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 diseases infestations.

Feeding

Feed String of Lemons Plant monthly during the growing season with a Cactus and Succulents Fertilizer for a lush growth. The plant is not a heavy feeder so be careful when feeding.

Do not feed during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.

Potting Soil

The best soil for String of Lemons 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.

Cactus and Succulents soil is ideal as it drains easily. Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Soil online from Etsy.

Repotting

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

Use a pot that is only 1 size larger than the current one and one that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Use a shallow pot as the root system is tiny and be careful not to bury the stems to prevent rotting.

Pruning

Pruning String of Lemons Plant involves removal of any dead leaves or stems to keep the plant neat and also reduce pest and disease infestations. Trim the stems if they become too long or straggly to rejuvenate growth.

Propagation

String of Lemons Plant (Senecio citriformis) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings.

How to propagate String of Lemons Plant from stem cuttings

Take 3-5 in. stem cuttings from a healthy String of Lemons Plant and allow the cuttings to dry (callus) for about 7 days.

Lay the stem cuttings on moist free-draining soil and lightly press the stems into the soil at the nodes.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist until the stems are rooted.

Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new Senecio citriformis after which you can begin routine care.

String of Lemons Plant, Senecio citriformis, Curio citriformis

Senecio citriformis Growing Problems

String of Lemons Plant (Senecio citriformis) growing problems include leaf drop, leggy growth, leaf spots, rotting, wilting, plant death, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to solve them.

Sudden leaf drop

There are two possible causes of sudden leaf drop in String of Lemons Plant. One possible cause of sudden leaf drop is watering with very cold water.

Being a tropical plant where temperatures are warm, watering it with too cold water will shock the plant.

Water the String of Tears Plant with water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking this tropical plant.

The second possible cause of sudden leaf drop in String of Lemons Plant is underwatering.

Water the plant liberally during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings to keep it moderately moist.

Cut down on watering during the cold period to maintain the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

Leggy growth (elongated stems)

Leggy growth (elongated stems) in String of Lemons plant during the cold season is due to too much water (overwatering) or soggy soil.

Water the String of Tears Plant less during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

If leggy growth (elongated stems) in happens during the growing season, then the cause is too little light as it grows best in bright light with some direct sunlight of at least 4-6 hours.

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

Move the String of Tears Plant to a brighter spot and ensure it receives bright light with some direct sunlight of at least 4-6 hours or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

In addition, turn the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth.

Brown dry spots

Brown dry spots in String of Lemons Plant are due to underwatering resulting in too little moisture in the soil.

Water the String of Tears Plant liberally during the growing season while allowing the soil to dry out between waterings to keep it moderately moist.

Decrease watering during the cold period to maintain the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Rotting base and stem collapse

Rotting plant base and stems collapse in String of Lemons Plant is an indication of basal stem rot disease which is brought about by overwet conditions.

Use the upper healthy stems to propagate new plants and discard the infected parts to reduce spread to the rest of the plant.

Thereafter, water the plant moderately during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Significantly reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist as growth is minimal at this time.

Wilted and discolored leaves

Wilted and discolored leaves in String of Lemons Plant are caused by overwatering during the cold period. Significantly decrease watering during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist as growth is reduced at this time.

Brown, soft leaf spots

Brown, soft leaf spots in String of Lemons Plant are an indication of leaf spot disease. Avoid wetting the leaves and improve air circulation to prevent disease infestations. Read more on how to treat leaf spot disease in houseplants.

Diseases

Apart from leaf spot disease, String of Lemons Plant is also prone to Powdery Mildew. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the disease.

Pests

The common pests in String of Lemons Plant are Spider Mites, Scale Insects and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.

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