Demystifying the String of Pearls Flower Bud

String of Pearls was one of the first plants I bought when I became interested in keeping plants as pets. Whats not to love about those cute round green peas? They make you happy just looking at them. Like something out of Dr Suess. However String of Pearls was also one of the first and few Ive managed to kill. Not so happy after that.

One was dead, and the other was worn down to a sad, single strand that was bald and bare at the base. I almost gave up. But seeing pictures of long, lush strings of plump pearls made me want to change almost everything and try again.

And wow. Success! Easy peasy (now I know what to do – and not to do). I give String of Pearls a care rating of 1 out of 5. Yes. Really. That easy. Heres what I learned so yours dont end up with the same fate as my first.

Speaking of, below is one of my many String of Pearls today. Dont give up if yours are down to one sad strand like mine was. My Variegated String of Pearls, the girl below, was in the same place not long ago. Now look at her! What a big change! One of her all-green pea buddies is even flowering right now (which smell delicious).

The string of pearls plant (Senecio rowleyanus) is a trailing succulent known for its pea-sized, spherical foliage. But did you know it also blooms? While the string of pearls flower isn’t particularly showy, it has a delightful fragrance that makes it worth paying attention to.

When Do String of Pearls Bloom?

String of pearls plants bloom in late spring to early summer. The blooming period may last 6-8 weeks. Flowers appear on short stalks arising from the stem between leaves.

Outdoors, string of pearls need cooler nighttime temperatures in winter to set flower buds. Providing a winter dormancy period with reduced water and temperatures down to 50°F helps trigger blooming in spring.

Indoors, getting string of pearls to bloom can be tricky due to the lack of a pronounced cool period. Very bright light, preferably some direct sun, seems to encourage flowering. Keep the soil on the drier side in winter. Situate the plant near a window that gets cold at night to mimic outdoor conditions.

What Do String of Pearls Flower Buds Look Like?

String of pearls flower buds are quite small, less than 1⁄4 inch long initially. They are a pale green or cream color and oval to teardrop shaped.

As the buds mature, they elongate into a narrower, more cylindrical shape while retaining their light color Right before opening, the buds blush with just a tinge of pink

String of Pearls Flowers

Mature string of pearls flowers are about 1⁄2 inch across. They have a daisy-like form with a central disc surrounded by radiating petals.

The disc florets are creamy white while the outer petals are a translucent white. Each flower has multiple long, crimson stamens tipped with yellow anthers protruding from the center like a little fountain

While the individual blooms aren’t particularly showy, a heavily blooming string of pearls can make quite an impact with dozens of flowers open simultaneously. The flowers appear all along the stems, not just at the tips.

String of Pearls Flower Scent

The real appeal of string of pearls flowers is their aroma. The blooms give off a sweet, spicy fragrance reminiscent of cinnamon, cloves, and carnations.

On warm days, you may notice the scent before you spot the flowers. It is strongest in morning and evening when the small blossoms open and close daily.

Caring for a Blooming String of Pearls

String of pearls care remains mostly the same when the plant is in bloom. Here are a few tips

  • Continue providing bright, indirect light daily. Some direct sun is ideal.

  • Allow the soil to dry out between waterings but don’t let it get completely dry.

  • Mist the leaves and flowers occasionally to boost humidity.

  • Pinch off spent blooms to encourage new flowers.

  • Apply a dilute bloom-boosting fertilizer while flowering. Otherwise use a balanced houseplant fertilizer at half strength.

  • Keep it away from cold drafts that could damage open blooms.

Proper care will prolong the blooming period and produce the healthiest flowers. Don’t be alarmed if the plant drops some buds initially as it adapts to indoor growing conditions. With the right environment, your string of pearls may surprise you with its charming blossoms and sweet scent one day.

Troubleshooting String of Pearls Flowers

If your string of pearls won’t bloom or drops buds easily, here are some potential causes:

  • Insufficient light – Needs very bright light, some direct sun

  • Overwatering – Allow soil to dry out between waterings

  • Lack of a cool period – Try reducing temperature and water in winter

  • Too much fertilizer – Use a balanced houseplant food at 1/2 dose

  • Cold drafts – Protect from windows/doors that get chilly

  • Old age – May bloom less as the plant ages over many years

Cascading Display of Flowers

One of the beauties of a blooming string of pearls is the flowers dangling along the trailing stems. To highlight this charming display:

  • Grow it in a hanging basket so the stems and flowers can cascade down.

  • Plant it at the top of a tall plant stand or shelf so the vines and blooms can drape over the edges.

  • Weave the stems over the lip of a wall pot or tall container to let them trail.

Take advantage of the natural weeping habit of string of pearls to show off those pendant bells of blossoms. Site it where the flowers can be appreciated at eye level and allow the stems to gracefully arch downward.

Enjoying String of Pearls Flowers

The petite flowers of string of pearls may be easily overlooked but offer an alluring reward to those who pause to appreciate them. In addition to their cinnamon-spice fragrance, a blooming string of pearls makes a stellar conversation piece.

Charm your guests with a peek at this flowering wonder that thrives as an easy-care houseplant. String of pearls provides year-round beauty with its spherical foliage and then surprises with delicate bells of bloom that release a delightful scent. Give this little succulent star the conditions it needs to flourish and enjoy its flowering display.

Food (don’t starve your succulents!)

Don’t let your String of Pearls go without food. Since they are succulents, they don’t need much, but don’t give them nothing either. Meanie. If the conditions are right, they can grow very quickly. But they still need the same important nutrients that all plants do to keep growing so they become big and lush. In fact undersized, small or deformed Pearls is a sign of a nutrient deficiency.

Pearls can do well outside if the conditions are right, but if you want to keep them in a pot, use a fertilizer made for indoor plants to keep them from getting fertilizer burn. Also, feed String of Pearls plants little and often. The weakly weekly method is perfect for these guys. A plant can’t flower without food, but mine only started flowering after I fed it. Flowering takes a lot from a plant. For my String of Pearls and all my lighter feeders I halve the usual dose the bottle says.

I have a lot of plant foods in my cupboard because I sell plant fertilizer. I’ve tried them all (yes, my plants are my guinea pigs), but my three favorites are Plant Runner (I change the dose to 1ml per 2 liters for my light feeders), Dyna Gro Foliage Pro (I use 1ml per 3 liters for that one), and GT Foliage Focus. There are many, many more fertilisers available but Id happily recommend any of those 3 in particular.

What soil’s best for String of Pearls?

Lets start at the bottom. Soil is super important for these vining peas. Okay, they arent peas, theyre succulents. But a happy String of Pearls should be plump and almost completely round, like a pea. More on what the shape of your pearls means at the end in the section on how to solve String of Pearls problems.

We’re used to seeing them climb up walls at home, but in the deserts of East Africa, where they live naturally, they cover the ground. If your SOP is really happy, you’ll also get tiny flowers that look like dandelion heads and smell like a mix of vanilla and cinnamon. Delicious. The flowers can last a good month or so too. One of mine is flowering right now (in the middle of winter).

string of pearls flower bud

Being a desert-dwelling, ground-cover plant, youve probably clicked now why a free-draining, light soil is so important. String of Pearls definitely dont like wet feet. Get some succulent mix or fine soil-free aroid mix. I like Bio Leaf Soil-free Fine Blend. You can also make your own mix.

Root rot is common in those pretty pearls, so make sure they have light, well-drained soil and a pot with good drainage—ideally, several drainage holes so water doesn’t pool at the bottom. Another way these guys keep things dry is with terracotta. At my house, it keeps the mix too dry, but it depends on the conditions. All of mine are doing well in clear plastic nursery pots, but terracotta is great for plants that get too much water or soil-based substrates. Since pearls also have shallow roots, a shallow wide pot with a finer grade of substrate works great for them and looks great.

String of Pearls Care Guide // Garden Answer


Why is my string of pearls flowering?

My indoor pearls tend to flower over winter for this reason as their spot by the window gets cool at night but lots of sun so warm by day. A dry, cold winter can also set your pearls up well for flowering come spring and summer.

Can you get seeds from string of pearl flowers?

String of pearls is in the plant family Asteraceae. You may be familiar with its more common cousin, the dandelion. Like a dandelion, string of pearls forms seeds attached to wispy sails that help the seeds travel on the wind.

What does an overwatered string of pearls look like?

Below are the signs of an overwatered String of Pearls: Translucent leaves. Soft or mushy stems and beads. Yellow leaves.

What is a string of pearls plant?

String of pearls (Curio rowleyanus), sometimes called string of beads, is a beautiful trailing succulent plant that has a very unique growth habits. It’s a shallow rooted plant native to Africa that produces long stems with fleshy, pea-shaped round leaves.

How long does a string of pearls flower?

The String of Pearls flowers during summer and is a perennial plant. The plant’s flower lasts for around a month. When you let the plant unbothered in winter, cut back on watering, and place them at around 55°F, it promotes blooming in the spring. And a little stress makes the plant produce elegant flowers.

Do string of pearls flower?

And a little stress makes the plant produce elegant flowers. However, you cannot bring a young String of Pearls and expect it to bloom for you. Succulents need to be at least four to six years old to flower. Further, flowering is easier outdoors than indoors. How to Make the String of Pearls Plant Flower?

How to propagate string of pearls?

When propagating String of Pearls, it is essential to choose a healthy stem. Look for a stem that is at least two inches long and has several leaves. The stem should be firm and not mushy or discolored. Using a clean and sharp pair of scissors, cut the stem from the parent plant. After cutting the stem, allow it to dry for a day or two.

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