The Complete Guide to Propagating String of Pearls

When I saw my first String of Pearls plant or Senecio rowleyanus, it was love at first sight. I knew I wanted one of my very own. Mine was getting long so it was time for propagating String of Pearls. Here’s what you need and the steps to take.

A String of Pearls plant tends to form long trails instead of spreading out when growing. Mine grew pretty quickly outside in the warm, temperate weather, so I knew it was time to make more. The trails got to be 5′ long!.

String of Pearls, also known by its scientific name Senecio rowleyanus, is one of the most popular succulent houseplants. This trailing succulent is recognizable by its round, pearl-shaped leaves that grow along vining stems. Not only does String of Pearls have an interesting look, it is also one of the easiest succulents to propagate.

Propagating succulents, like String of Pearls, is a great way to get new plants without spending any money. With a few stem cuttings from a mother plant, you can create identical new String of Pearls plants. Propagation is also helpful for getting fuller, bushier hanging baskets as the trailing vines continue to grow. This article will walk through everything you need to know about propagating String of Pearls succulents.

How to Propagate String of Pearls

Propagating String of Pearls is a simple process that involves taking stem cuttings and rooting them in either soil or water, Here are the basic steps

Gather the Cuttings

The first step is to take 3-4 inch cuttings from a healthy established String of Pearls plant. Look for stems that are firm and plump, avoiding any that are shriveled. Use clean scissors or garden snips to cut the stems. Be sure to make a clean cut rather than ripping or pulling off the stems.

Take multiple cuttings to increase the chances some will root. 3-5 cuttings are ideal but you can take up to 15 cuttings from a large, bushy plant. Remove any leaves that will fall below the water or soil line before moving on.

Put the Cuttings in Water

Next, place the cuttings in a small glass or jar filled about halfway with room temperature water. Change the water every 2-3 days to prevent rotting. Keep the cuttings in a warm area with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight.

After 1-2 weeks, you will notice white roots forming on the cuttings. Once the roots are 1-2 inches long, the cuttings are ready to be potted up.

Transplant the Cuttings

Prepare a small pot with well-draining cactus/succulent soil. Gently pull the cuttings from the water and plant them in the pot. Press the cuttings lightly into the soil, leaving about 1 inch of stem above the surface.

Water the planted cuttings well and let the excess water drain out. Place the pot in a warm area with plenty of light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the new plants. Keep the soil slightly moist but not soaked.

Monitor and Care for New Growth

Over the next few weeks, you will see new String of Pearls growth emerging. Water whenever the soil is fully dry 1 inch below the surface. Fertilize monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength.

Once the plants are established, you can transplant them into hanging baskets or arrangements. Gradually acclimate them to direct sunlight. Enjoy watching your propagated String of Pearls grow long, trailing stems.

Alternative Propagation Methods

While water propagation is the easiest way to get String of Pearls cuttings to root, there are a couple other methods that can be successful too:

Soil Propagation

Instead of starting the cuttings in water, you can stick them directly into moist potting mix. Use a well-draining cactus/succulent soil and plant the cuttings as described above. Keep the soil evenly moist until rooted. Transition to watering only when dry.

Soil propagation can be slightly faster than water, but you lose visibility of the root growth. It also tends to have a lower success rate overall.

Air Layering

Air layering involves coaxing roots to form on part of the stem while it is still attached to the mother plant. To air layer String of Pearls, choose a section of stem and remove the leaves. Wrap this bare section with sphagnum moss and seal it with plastic wrap.

After 1-2 months, you will see white roots in the moss. Cut below the rooted area and plant as a new plant. Air layering takes longer but can propagate stems that won’t root well from cuttings.

Troubleshooting Propagation Problems

Propagating succulents is usually straightforward but occasionally issues pop up. Here are some common propagation problems and their solutions:

  • Cuttings rotting – If the stem cuttings turn mushy and black, they are rotting from too much moisture. Allow cuttings to dry 1-2 days before placing in water or soil. Change water every 2-3 days.

  • Cuttings not rooting – Increase sunlight exposure and warmth to encourage root growth. Swap out old water and trim 1⁄2 inch off ends to refresh. If no roots after 6 weeks, the cutting won’t make it. Start over with new cuttings.

  • Leaves falling off – This is normal as the cuttings expend energy to form roots. As long as the main stem looks healthy, it will recover after it’s rooted. No need to worry about leaf loss.

  • New growth is small/pale – Gradually harden off and increase sunlight for stronger growth. Apply balanced fertilizer monthly. Repot into larger container if roots fill small starter pot.

Following the proper propagation techniques will help avoid most issues. Don’t hesitate to take more cuttings if your first batch fails. Persistence pays off with propagation!

Tips for Propagating String of Pearls

Propagating succulents is fun and rewarding when you get new plants for free. Follow these tips for the best success propagating String of Pearls:

  • Take multiple cuttings to increase chances some will root. Aim for 3-5 minimum.

  • Select the healthiest, firmest stems as those have the most energy to form roots.

  • Change water every 2-3 days for water propagation. Stagnant water causes rot.

  • Keep cuttings warm (65-80°F) and in bright indirect light until rooted.

  • Transplant into soil only after seeing 1-2 inches of white roots. Don’t rush it!

  • Acclimate rooted cuttings to direct sun gradually to avoid scorching.

  • Remove any flowers or buds that form on propagating plants to direct energy to roots and growth.

In just a few weeks, you’ll have brand new String of Pearls plants ready for hanging in trendy glass terrariums. Propagating succulents is super addicting once you get started!

Propagating a String of Pearls Plant FAQs

If this is your first time propagating succulents, you probably have several questions about the process. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about propagating String of Pearls:

How long does it take String of Pearls cuttings to root?

Expect it to take 1-2 weeks for visible root growth in water propagation. Cuttings planted directly into soil may root in 3-4 weeks. Be patient, some cuttings are slower than others.

Can you propagate String of Pearls in soil?

Yes, you can propagate directly in potting mix but it has a lower success rate than water propagation. Keep the soil evenly moist until rooted.

How can you tell when String of Pearls cuttings are ready to plant?

Look for at least 1-2 inches of new white roots growing from the stem. Plant into soil once the roots reach this length.

Should you use rooting hormone on String of Pearls?

Rooting hormone is not necessary but can speed up the process. Dip the cut end in hormone powder before placing in water or soil.

How do you care for newly propagated String of Pearls?

Keep new plants in bright indirect light. Water when soil dries out 1 inch deep. Fertilize monthly. Gradually acclimate to direct outdoor sunlight.

When can propagated String of Pearls be repotted?

Once the plants are established with new growth after 2-3 months, move them into a hanging basket or larger container.

How long do String of Pearls plants live?

With proper care, String of Pearls can live for many years. Stem cuttings allow you to create new generations of plants for an unlimited lifespan.

Propagating succulents is easy, fun, and downright addicting! Follow this guide for thriving new String of Pearls plants that will fill your home with gorgeous trailing vines. Getting these quick-growing beauties to root is simple and rewarding.

Steps to Propagating a String of Pearls

1. Take cuttings, just below a leaf node, from your String of Pearls plant. With thin stemmed cuttings like this, I typically let them heal for 1 to 3 days before I plant. Tucson is hot so I only let the cuttings heal over for 1 day. However, you can plant them right away if necessary.

2. Fill your growth pot with the succulent & cactus mixture. 3. Use the chopstick to make holes in the soil. Each cutting needs its hole. I often make 1 big hole & put 2 cuttings in it.

4. Strip off the top leaves (the pearls) before planting in the soil. When planting makes sure you get at least 3 or 4 leaf nodes into the dirt.

5. Secure the cuttings with your floral pins. When it comes time to transplant the cuttings into a new pot, don’t forget to save the pins. They are reusable and oh, so handy.

6. Let your new plantings settle in for a couple of days. Then, give them a good watering.

propagating String of pearls

Cuttings from String of Pearls

If you think this is too big, remember that you can always grow more succulents like String of Hearts or String of Bananas in the same basin.

How to Propagate Senecio String of Pearls!

Leave a Comment