Introduction: Tips for Growing a String of Pearls Plant Outdoors
I've grown String Of Pearls both indoors & out. These hanging succulents are fascinating, unusual & not hard to grow. Here are tips for growing a String Of Pearls plant outdoors which I've learned from experience, in 2 different climates.
I’ve grown String Of Pearls outdoors (year round not just seasonally) for many years now in 2 very different climates – Santa Barbara, CA and Tucson, AZ. The differences lay mainly in the light, watering and temperature which I’ll point out below. Growing it indoors is a bit tougher for me but regardless, String Of Pearls makes a fascinating houseplant if you have enough light.
Although in their native habitat they grow on the ground, for us, String Of Pearls is a hanging plant. Mine here in Tucson is now about 30″ long and still growing. I planted it in a large pot with a String Of Hearts plant and a few String Of Bananas cuttings about a year and 3 months ago. You can see how much it’s grown. 1 of my String Of Pearls plants was over 4′ long in Santa Barbara. The other plants I routinely used for cuttings so they never got more than 2′ long.
I’ve found them to grow at a slow to moderate rate. My other plants grow much faster.
Exposure A String Of Pearls plant growing outdoors likes bright light but to be protected from direct, hot sun. In Santa Barbara mine grew in morning sun which was sometimes shrouded by the fog. Here in the desert, any direct sun is a no go. Mine grows on my covered patio in a spot where the light is nice & bright but the plant is protected.
Watering In Tucson, I water my String Of Pearls plant every 7-10 days when it’s cooler & twice a week during the hot summer months. As I said, the patio is covered so it doesn’t get rained on. In my Santa Barbara garden, they got watered less. It’s hard to say how often you need to water yours because I don’t know your growing conditions.
I find String Of Pearls plants need watering a bit more often than most succulents because their stems are so thin. They’re subject to root rot so don’t get overzealous with the watering but on the other hand, don’t let them go bone dry for days.
Temperature I’ve heard that they can take temps as low as 30F. I never covered mine in Santa Barbara. This winter, we had a 1-night dip to 28 & a few others hovered right at or slightly below freezing. I covered my String Of Pearls plant along with the other “fleshies”. As I said in the video, the pearls look plumper & happier now (it’s late winter) than in late June when the temps are well over 100F. Can you blame them?!
Fertilizer I feed mine the usual: a 1″ layer of worm compost topped with a 1″ layer of compost in the early spring.
Worm compost is my favorite amendment, which I use sparingly because it’s rich. I’m currently using Worm Gold Plus. I use Tank’s local compost. Give Dr. Earth’s a try if you can’t find anywhere you live. Both enrich the soil naturally & slowly so the roots are healthy & the plants grow stronger.
If you have any liquid kelp or fish emulsion, those work fine too. Easy does it with any fertilizer as succulents don’t need much.
Soil Like all succulents, String Of Pearls need a mix which drains well. When I repot my String Of Pearls, I use a local succulent & cactus mix which is good & chunky allowing the water to easily drain out.
If you’re using a store bought succulent & cactus mix like this one, you might consider adding some pumice or perlite to further up the ante on the aeration & lightness factor.
I also mix in a handful or so of organic compost & sprinkle the top with a layer of worm compost when I plant.
Repotting/Transplanting You have to be careful when repotting because those pearls fall off easily. I’ve done a post & video for you to make it easier.
I always make sure the plant & root ball is no more than 1″ below the top of the pot. I’ve found that if it sinks in too low, the chance for rot is greater.