String of pearls – a succulent beauty

String of pearls

Senecio rowleyanus, or string of pearls, is a plant that many people adore, and no wonder. It is a great decorative plant. This overhanging plant is beautiful and displays succulent juicy leaves in the shape of small beads. Although it is a relatively easy to grow, you may run into problems from time to time and your plant can lose its shape and wilt and if that happens you need to work hard just to keep it alive. Why is that?


String of pearls usually grows in dry or semi-dry regions of southern and western Africa, where the scorching sun burns anything it can. It is cruel. Shoots in dense tufts creep along the ground and desperately try to take root anywhere they can. It should be no surprise that this plant like shady places, and if there is a shady place it will go for it, for example under rocks, or it will hide in the shade of taller plants. Leaves of string of pearls are particularly interesting but the plant also produces white flowers. These are inconspicuous, small, with brown sticks and the aroma resembles asters. The smell is somewhat like cinnamon and vanilla. Sounds nice, right? If you want to see flowers you must let the plant rest in winter.

String of pearls
Photo: Leonora Enking,


Senecio rowleyanus is a succulent plant best known for its unique, fleshy, small and almost spherical leaves where the plant stores water. The spherical shape minimizes the surface area and reduces the amount of evaporated water. Smaller surface also reduces the surface area through which the plant can absorbs light so, each leave has a narrow slit to allow more sunlight in.

Most common growing mistakes

  • Too absorbent, impermeable substrate, which causes root rot and eventual death of the plant.
  • Too frequent and too heavy watering.
  • Lack of light – especially in winter.
  • Too much direct sunlight. For example, placing the plant behind hot window glass – especially in summer.
  • Too low air humidity (although the plant lives in a very dry environment, you should provide sufficient air humidity to achieve better results).
  • Growing the plant in the same pot you bought it in.
  • Frequent location changing.

Growing spring of pearls

Although string of pearls tends to creep, it looks best in a hanging container as its shoots cascade down and create a beautiful “veil-like structure”. It also looks good on light wall shelves where its shoots can hang down, for example in the company of other succulents. Senecio rowleyanus looks attractive and exotic. To achieve a wide green veil put several plants in one hanging oblong container and let it grow.

Preview photo: MeganEHansen,

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *