Curio Rowleyanus, aka String of Pearls


Curio (was Senecio) Rowleyanus is known under the name of String of pearls, String of Beads, Rosary Vine. It is a succulent plant, native to very dry areas of Southwest Africa. If we understand how it leaves in the wild, we can make it grow beautifully in our homes.

My little one lives in a two inch pot, on an east facing windowsill, receiving sun early/mid morning and is growing wonderfully well. I’m going to repot it soon into a terracotta pot with succulent mix and perlite.

Soil is the key point for success: this palnt needs to dry out quickly between waterings. If it needs water the beads would feel a little soft, then it’s time to water. Recommendations are to water very rarely in winter, and more frequently in the growing season.

I don’t usually follow any schedule for watering my plants, because every house, every pot and every soil mix have their own peculiarities that influence the quantity of water that a plant require. Observe your plant.

The most fascinating characteristic of this succulent is, of course, the pea-shaped leaves. But let’s see why they do have this spheric shape. It is a very wise adaptation of this plant to survive to arid climates. The leaves allow the storage of water but they could also be a problem: they provide a very small area for the absorption of light. Again, nature surprises us with a very smart solution: every leaf has an “epidermal window“, a narrow translucent band across the sphere that allows light to enter.

String of Pearls flowers in the Summer, with small white flowers that form a cluster. The have red stamens which add more character to the plant. The flowers last for about one month and smell of cinnamom

Propagating string of pearls is quite easy: you just need to take a few cuttings and put them in a glass of water. They will root in a few weeks and them you can transfer them into good draining soil.

You can also choose to simply lay the trailing stems back onto the pot and wait until they root, then cut them and move them into a different pot to make more plants.

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