String of pearls plant

(Question)

I’m really hoping on getting some information on String of Pearls plants.
What kind of light do they need? I’ve heard indirect sunlight s best – but how dark of a room can they handle? Also, are there any tricks as to how to know when to water? Finally – where in Toronto can this plant be purchased?

(Answer)

String-of-beads or string-of-pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) is a very interesting plant native to S.W. Africa. It’s easily recognizable with leaves resembling small peas dotted along slender stems.  These odd shaped leaves are for water storage purposes, vital in the arid conditions of their native habitat. In North America string-of-pearls is grown as an indoor plant and is ideal for growing in a hanging basket thus showing off its trailing strands.

This plant is considered a low maintenance plant. Like most succulents is requires infrequent watering (say once a month). It enjoys bright light, so it needs to be near a window, and will tolerate a few hours of direct sunlight. Generally speaking succulents do not thrive at all in dark conditions and should be kept free from draughts.  During the spring and through to the Fall keep the plant warm (21-27C). In the winter 13-16C is good.

Watering correctly is the key to having your string-of-pearls last a long time. Water thoroughly and then allow soil to dry out slightly before watering again. String-of-pearls will not tolerate soggy soil. Good soil drainage can be achieved by using a cactus mix or soil with a good amount of sand in it. Cut back on the water in winter and water just enough to prevent the soil from drying out. If you are lucky this may stimulate the growth of flowers in spring. The white trumpet shaped flowers appear in clusters and are quite attractive.

String-of-pearls is a vigorous grower. The trailing stems can grow 3 feet long. Pinch off about 4ins and poke back in the soil to make bushier or plant up in pots to create new plants.

Word of caution: keep away from pets as this plant may make them sick if ingested.

To purchase succulents visit a reputable garden centre or nursery in the GTA.  The Toronto Cactus and Succulent Club can probably help you with this. They also have plant sales throughout the year.  Go to   https://www.torontocactus.org/