There’s no more appropriate houseplant than the String of Turtles to bring that vibrant jungle vibe indoors.
Ordained with fascinating characteristics, these tiny plants are perfect additions to your terrarium, indoor, outdoor containers, or hanging baskets.
Furthermore, String of Turtles is gaining massive popularity for being extremely low maintenance, only requiring weekly watering to thrive.
If you’re thinking this plant sounds like a perfect fit for your home, keep reading.
In today’s post, we’re going to discuss 11 tips for successfully growing these beautiful houseplants!
Let’s get to it:
Introduction to String of Turtles Plant
String of Turtles (Peperomia prostrata) is a delicate trailing vining plant with round, semi-succulent, variegated leaves native to Brazilian rainforests.
The leaves look like the shell of a miniature turtle strung together along the vine. It’s this appearance that gives the plants their common name – the String of Turtles plant.
The String of Turtles plant is small in size, reaching only 4 inches when fully mature. Hence, you can grow the String of Turtles both in pots or hanging baskets. This is especially important for urban apartment dwellers with limited space.
These plants will also teach you some patience because they are slow-growing plants, taking around three to five years to fully grow to maturity.
However, you’ll definitely enjoy the process. Besides, they begin to look great at the onset which means you don’t have to wait until they’re mature to marvel at their beauty.
Peperomia prostrata Plant profile
Common name: String of Turtles or Trailing Peperomia
Scientific/Botanical name: Peperomia prostrata
USDA Hardiness zones: 10 to 12
Mature Height: 10 – 14 inch-long
Mature Spread: 3 - 4 inch-wide
Growing habit: Trailing and vining succulent/cascading and spreading
Native Area: South America (Brazil)
Blooming Time: Mostly spring when the plant forms narrow red-brown flower spikes
Toxicity: Not poisonous to pets
How to Propagate the String of Turtles Plant?
If you want to increase your Trailing Peperomia plant collection, then you need to understand how to properly propagate them.
Luckily, it’s not a complicated process as you might think. On the contrary, propagating String of Turtles plants via cuttings or leaves is a straightforward way.
Here are the easy steps you need to follow:
First, cut String of Turtles plant into several pieces.
The string of turtle comes in a string-like form that is easy to break down into smaller parts until you get the number of plants you want to propagate.
You can also create new plants by layering its vines on top of other pots or containers with soil.
Don’t forget to place the string of turtle plants so that their leaves are above the soil line.
In a few weeks, small seedlings will appear from the vines as they grow roots and begin to sprout up.
Once your plants are well-rooted, you can move them into separate containers.
You can use the new plantlets to start a fresh plant collection which you can share with friends and family should they exceed the available space.
Propagating your own plants is a great way to renew old and rugged-looking P. prostrata plants.
Growing the String of Turtles in Pots and Hanging Baskets
Potting Mix and Pot Selection
Your success in growing these tiny plants will be determined by your choice of potting soil/mix.
Hence, you should choose a great potting mix that guarantees not only root growth but also water retention. For instance, a mixture containing perlite and organic matter.
In addition, String of Turtles plants grows best in a potting mix that is slightly acidic with good drainage properties.
Try to avoid readily available premixes used to grow other succulents. These premixes are too coarse for the trailing peperomia plants.
Besides, when you’re choosing the planting pots, don’t forget to go big. During the active growing season, they grow relatively quickly so look for large pots or containers to give them sufficient space to grow.
We recommend this hanging planter pot as an example.
String of turtle plants do best when grown in bright, indirect sunlight. This plant adapts well to living in a spot with medium or low indoor light levels. If the leaves start to grow long and spindly then you know that your String of Turtles is not getting enough light.
If you're growing this plant indoors, make sure you turn the pot frequently to ensure even exposure for all sides of the leaves.
Temperature and Humidity
Unlike other ordinary succulents which prefer warmer temperatures, these plants prefer cool temperatures.
On one hand, high temperature will negatively affect their growth rate while on the other hand, cold temperature slows down their growth.
Therefore, String of Turtles will thrive best in normal home temperatures.
And, as a general rule, keep the temperature between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Besides temperature, this plant does need moderate humidity so misting the leaves periodically with water will help increase humidity around the plant.
You can also use a plant humidifier to increase the level of humidity during drier months of the year.
Easy String of Turtles Care Tips
When you keep your String of Turtles in good shape, it tends to grow fuller covering the entire pot or hanging basket.
For this reason, they're able to conserve moisture for longer periods. Besides their dense foliage cover, they’re able to store water in their semi-succulent leaves.
This explains why these plants are often overwatered. Follow the steps below to understand when and how much water your plants need.
First, make sure that the potting mix is very porous and well-drained.
Water your plant when its soil becomes dry to touch. Give them a good soaking until water drains through the holes in the pots which means that the soil has been thoroughly wetted.
This process can take a while, so a bit of patience will go a long way.
If you want to find out if the soil is dry or wet, touch a finger against the top 1-2 inches of potting mix. If it feels dry, then it’s time to water your plants.
Should you bottom water string of turtles?
The short answer, Yes!
Since their leaves loth the presence of water on the surface, bottom watering is the ideal way to ensure that they remain dry.
When bottom watering your string of turtles, just put the potted plant into a container and add about one inch of water, when the soil is saturated remove the plant pot from the container.
Another way of watering is to just put a little water into the bottom saucer under the plant, adding just a little every few days. This allows the dirt to soak the water up so that the plant can drink up.
Peperomia prostrata, like most other succulent plants, do not need too much fertilizer to thrive.
However, a bit of fertilizer here and there will help them maintain bright shiny vigor and ensure that the leaves' color and turtle-like patterns are held throughout the growing season.
Feed your String of Turtles once every three months during the growing season which is typically Spring through Fall.
Pruning your Peperomia prostrata
When the plants are young, they’re very slow-growing with short leaves.
As a result, you may want to prune them once in a while so that they grow fuller and wider. Just be careful not to remove too much of its growth as it can take a long time before the plant returns to looking good again.
Do all pruning with sanitized scissors or very sharp snips to prevent any infection.
Support and Training
If you keep your string of turtle plants in hanging baskets, be sure to attach them securely so they won’t fall.
You may also need to attach them around the rim of the pot with a soft string or twine which you can easily tie and untie anytime.
To make sure that they’re firmly attached, use a slipknot and loop it about 8 inches from the end of the plant stem.
Then bring the end of the string all the way around and loop it through itself.
Be sure to repeat this process until you’ve created a ring-like knot that provides enough support for the plant stem.
Pests and diseases management
If you don’t want your String of Turtles to suffer from common plant pests and diseases, you should regularly monitor them for any signs.
One of the most common diseases is stem rot which starts as a black discoloration on the inside center part of the leaves.
This problem can be prevented by improving ventilation, reducing watering to reduce humidity around the plant, removing any fallen infected leaves, and making sure that your plants are not overwatered.
If you’ll notice any signs of black fungus-like spots on the soil or base potting mix, then it’s time for you to take out all infected plants right away.
If necessary, replace the soil with fresh potting mix and make sure the plants are thoroughly moistened before placing them back in position.
Monitoring frequently will help you identify these bugs early enough and take the necessary precaution measures including spinosad-based insecticides.
Common Problems Growing String of Turtles
The most common problems that most string of turtle plants face are root rot, stem rot, legginess, and browning as a result of sunburn.
Plants Becoming Leggy and Weak
The most common reason these trailing succulents may develop an unkempt, ragged, and leggy appearance is lack or improper pruning.
Regularly prune to prevent this problem.
Besides, occasional pruning will allow you to remove dead and damaged stems and leaves and tame unwanted growth. It also encourages new, more vigorous growth to flourish.
Root rot occurs when the roots of your String of Turtles become waterlogged for too long, allowing them to sit too long in the soggy soil.
As a result, all they can do is produce weak new stems that are very vulnerable to drying up.
To solve this problem, you need to drain the water and re-pot your String of Turtles with fresh soil.
String of Turtles Stems Rotting
Stem rot occurs when the stems of your string of turtle plants are exposed to excessively wet conditions for a long period.
The stems become very susceptible to fungal infections at this point, leaving the plant to eventually defoliate and die.
To solve this problem, you need to place the infected plants in very dry soil conditions to prevent further infection.
String of Turtles Leaves Turning Brown
One of the most common problems with old turtles is sunburn.
Sunburn on the leaves results in browning and eventually defoliation.
To solve this problem, make sure that your string of turtle plants are well-ventilated and don’t place them too close to the window where the sun is very hot and bright.
There you have it!
You've just read through eleven tips for growing and caring for String of Turtles plant.
Peperomia prostrata is a popular hanging houseplant that’s native to Brazil.
It has a thick, prostrate stem that trails down from a central point and is covered in narrow pointed green leaves.
Because of their slow growth rate, these plants are very low maintenance plants so they don’t require you to do much.
Caring for these plants is very easy which just boils down to making sure that they get adequate light and water, as well as proper pruning.
We hope that the tips provided in this article will help you better care for your trailing peperomia plants
Next time you find yourself wanting to buy these plants, you'll know exactly what's involved in caring for them.
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Happy gardening and remember to enjoy the process!