String of Pearls

Curio rowleyanus

This fascinating succulent has an incredible hanging habit with globe like leaves. The leaves of this plant have evolved as bead like globes that help it  limit evaporation in its desert home of South West Africa where it grows between rocks.   Desirable in your home it will look great styled in a hanging planter or placed on an item of furniture where the trailing stems can hang down for the best effect.

The small white fluffy flowers are cinnamon-scented, followed by small fluffy seed heads. It likes a lot of bright light in your home so make sure you position it in a sunny room.


If you look closely at the globular leaves, you will notice leaf windows (epidermal windows) similar to the markings on a classic beach ball. These clear leaf windows allow more sunlight to pass into the leaf for maximum photosynthesis. Many other succulents such as Lithops and Haworthia use this similar adaptation to their leaves.



‘String of Pearls’ will hate to sit in moisture, which means use a free draining mix of compost such as 50:50 John Innes No 2 and horticultural sand.  It is best to slow down the watering in winter to maybe once a month, but check the soil before you water every time. Ideally in the active growing season it will need watered once a week. Feed once a month from spring through autumn with a standard house plant liquid fertiliser.

Taking cuttings for friends is as easy as just snipping off a ‘string’. Strip some ‘pearls’ from part of the stem and bury this part in well-draining compost at the edge of a pot. Within a few weeks, it will root and become a new plant.


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Published by

Kirsty Wilson

Horticulture is my inspiration! I am the Herbaceous Supervisor at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Photographer, Award winning Garden Designer, BBC Beechgrove Garden Television Presenter & BBC Radio 4 GQT Panellist. I want to inspire people to grow plants, connect with nature and have a positive impact on the world.

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