Botanical name: Senecio rowleyanus
Synonmy: Curio rowleyanus
Common names: String of Beads Plant, String of Pearls Plant
Senecio rowleyanus commonly called String of Beads Plant or String of Pearls Plant is a unique plant which bears pendant thread-like stems on which spherical green leaves grow and it resembles a neck-lace of beads or pearls.
The odd shaped leaves in Curio rowleyanus 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 String of Pearls Plant to go for a considerably long period without being watered.
Each leaf bears a translucent window that runs the length of the leaf which allows light to reach into interior of the leaf where photosynthesis takes place.
In its natural habitat, String of Pearls Plant grows as a trailer, with stems trailing on the ground, rooting where they touch and forming dense mats.
This growth habit makes the String of Beads Plant perfect for a hanging basket, a pedestal or a top a table or shelf where the stems can beautifully cascade downwards.
String of Beads Plant was named after the British Botanist, Gordon Douglas Rowley who specialized in Cactaceae and succulents.
Senecio rowleyanus also called Curio rowleyanus is a creeping, perennial, succulent vine native to the drier parts of Southwest Africa where it grows in the shaded conditions under other plants and rocks.
Beautiful String of Beads Plants are readily available at Etsy. Buy String of Beads (Pearls) Plants (Senecio rowleyanus) online from Etsy.
String of Beads Plant (Senecio rowleyanus) thrives in bright light with some direct sunlight, moderate warmth and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.
Curio rowleyanus requires pruning to keep the plant neat, to reduce pest and disease infestations and rejuvenate growth. Repotting is only needed when the plant has become root-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
String of Beads Plant grows best in bright light with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.
String of Pearls Plant can also grow under a grow light where the natural light is not sufficient.
Water String of Beads Plant liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.
Decrease 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 rotting and eventual death of the plant.
Average warmth between 20-270C during the growing season is ideal for String of Beads Plant. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for this plant.
Keep String of Pearls Plant away from draughts as it does not like sudden changes in the temperature.
String of Beads 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.
Feed String of Beads Plant monthly during the growing season with a Cactus and Succulents Fertilizer. This plant is not a heavy feeder so be careful when feeding.
Withhold feeding 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.
Senecio rowleyanus has a small root system so frequent repotting is not necessary. Repot it 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 and one that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Use a shallow pot and be careful not to bury the stems of the String of Pearls Plant to prevent rotting.
The best soil for String of Pearls 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 for String of Beads Plant online from Etsy.
Pruning String of Beads Plant involves removal of any dead Beads 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.
String of Beads Plant (Senecio rowleyanus) propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings.
Take 3-5 in. stem cuttings from a healthy String of Beads Plant and allow the cuttings to dry (callus) for about 7 days.
Lay the stems 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 and maintain the soil moist until the stems are rooted.
Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new Curio rowleyanus after which you can begin routine care.
String of Beads Plant (Senecio rowleyanus) problems indoors include leaf drop, leggy growth, leaf spots, rotting, plant death, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
Leggy growth (elongated stems) in String of Beads plant during the cold season is due to too much water (overwatering) or soggy soil.
Water the String of Pearls 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 the String of Beads Plant 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 Senecio rowleyanus to grow weak, elongated stems in an attempt to reach the light source.
Move the String of Pearls 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 light is inadequate.
Also, turn the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.
There are two possible causes on sudden leaf drop in String of Beads Plant. One possible cause of sudden leaf drop is watering with very cold water.
Being a tropical plant where temperatures are warm, watering with too cold water will shock the plant.
Water the String of Pearls Plant with water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking this tropical plant.
The second possible cause of sudden leaf drop in Senecio rowleyanus is underwatering.
Water the plant liberally and allow the soil to dry out but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.
Rotting plant base and stems collapse in String of Beads 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 String of Pearls Plant liberally 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.
Brown dry spots in String of Beads Plant are due to underwatering resulting in too little moisture in the soil.
Water the Senecio rowleyanus moderately during the hot season while while allowing the top 2-3 in. of the soil to dry out between waterings.
Significantly decrease watering during the cold period to maintain the soil barely moist as growth is reduced at this time.
Wilted and discolored leaves in String of Beads Plant are caused by overwatering during the cold period. Reduce watering during the cold season and maintain the soil barely moist.
Brown, soft leaf spots in String of Beads 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.
Apart from leaf spot disease, String of Beads Plant is also affected by Powdery Mildew. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the diseases.
The common pests in String of Beads 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.
The foliage of String of Beads Plant (Senecio rowleyanus) 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 Pearls Plant from the reach of children and pets to avoid mishaps.