String of Turtles, or also known as peperomia prostrata and Jade Necklace, is a small trailing succulent plant that is native to the rainforests of Brazil. It has tiny little leaves which resemble the shape and pattern of a turtle shell - swollen in the centre and with green and brown marbled colours. It is reasonably small and grows slower than other indoor plants which makes it great in small spaces where you don’t have much room for large plants or pots. The delicate stems and leaves will grow out and trail over the side of the pot and can even be used in hanging baskets. It is comparatively a bit harder to care for due to its desire for warmth and humidity that mimics its natural habitat. However, if given the right conditions String of Turtles is an amazingly beautiful little plant which will look great in any collection.
String of Turtles has slightly more difficult care than many other houseplants but given the right position (light, temperature, humidity) it becomes easy and low maintenance and can thrive in most homes. It is also easy to propagate and has one of the most spectacular leaves.
1. Light -
Just like in the rainforest, String of Turtles likes bright filtered or indirect light. Enough light ensures the plant and leaves will grow healthy and colourful. Also make sure that the top as well as the stems hanging down receive enough light for best and even growth. Without enough light String of Turtles will become spindly and the leaves smaller with little colour or variegation. On the other hand, too much light or direct light can burn the leaves.
2. Temperature -
String of Turtles can grow in a variety of temperatures but prefers warmer rather than cooler and definitely doesn’t like the cold. Keep them away from draughts or windows if the temperature drops at night. Warm humid areas such as bathrooms or kitchens are great spots. Although String of Turtles grows faster in the warmth it will grow fine a standard room temperatures, albeit a little slower.
3. Humidity -
Coming from the rainforest, String of Turtles does like a little bit of extra humidity which can be achieved by misting or leaving in a naturally humid area such as the bathroom or around other plants.
4. Water -
Because String of Turtles is a succulent, it can store water in its fleshy leaves to use when it runs out. It does like to be slightly moist but not water as it rots easily. Water the plant thoroughly but not too frequently and more often in Summer. It can handle underwatering than overwatering better - the easiest way to avoid overwatering is with a soil moisture metre. Not enough water and the plant will shrivel up and lose leaves. A plant self watering system can help keep your plants watered while your away.
5. Soil -
A well draining rich soil is quite important to avoid complications with rotting. Potting mix with extra perlite or cactus/succulent mixed in works well to add adequate drainage.
6. Repotting -
String of Turtles is a small plant which doesn’t grow rapidly so it can grow in a small pot without getting too much bigger or needing to be changed into bigger plant pots. String of Turtles is also quite delicate so moving it often can damage the leaves and stems.
7. Fertiliser -
A common houseplant liquid fertiliser works well for String if Turtles keeping in mind the soil already has slow release fertiliser inside it. This plant doesn’t have a high requirement for extra nutrients - fertilise two or three times in the growing season to aid in new growth and healthy leaves and roots.
8. Maintenance -
String of Turtles is a low maintenance plant that, once you’ve found the right spot and conditions for, you can just leave to grow happily. It might require the occasional prune which can be done when the stems become to long or if you want to grow a certain shape. It takes 3 or more years to mature, but String of Turtles will also produce flowers given the right conditions.
String of Turtles is a relatively easy plant to propagate. Its ability to propagate quickly and ease comes from how it has adapted to living in the rainforest. There are three methods for propagation which are both extremely easy and usually have very high success rates.
9. Cuttings in soil -
Simply place String of Turtles cuttings in a pot full of soil. Keep moist and humid and roots will start to grow shortly. Sometimes it can take a while to get started but will grow quickly once it has. Once the roots are established you can transplant them into larger pots or separate them out into multiple pots.
10. Cuttings in water -
This is the easiest way to propagate String of Turtles: simply place cuttings in a jar of clean water and leave in a warm bright area. Keep the water topped up and change for fresh water each week. Roots will grow quickly and can be transferred to soil once they are big enough. This is sometimes a preferred method for some as you can see the root progress.