If you’re looking for an easy succulent to grow indoors, opt for the string of beads (Senecio rowleyanus) plant. In addition to its carefree growth habit, this interesting houseplant can provide a unique focal point in the home. Sprawling over the edges of containers or hanging baskets, the string of beads plant resembles a beaded necklace with its fleshy green, pea-like foliage.
As with most succulent plants, the string of beads requires little care or maintenance. It’s drought tolerant, surviving long periods without water. In fact, the plant’s water-storing abilities allow it to be watered thoroughly one day and then left alone to dry out before having to water it again-perfect for the busy gardener. String of pearls, as it is also known, grows well in bright light, including sunlight. Give the plant well-draining soil, preferably the type most suitable for growing cacti and succulent plants. You should provide this plant with average indoor temperatures (around 72 degrees F) throughout its active growth. During its dormancy, however, you’ll need to provide cooler conditions, generally somewhere between 50 to 55 degrees F.
Another plus to growing this succulent evergreen is its easy propagation. When pruning becomes necessary to maintain its size or appearance, you can simply place a cutting or two in a pot of soil where they will easily take root. The string of beads houseplant makes an excellent conversation piece. Your family, friends, and neighbors will love it. For those lucky enough, mature string of beads will put out faint little white blooms that smell somewhat like cinnamon. What’s even better is the fact that you can share them with others.
This is exactly how I came across the unusual plant. One of my friends had a string of beads plant in her home. It was quite odd looking to say the least. In fact, I was so intrigued by its pea-like foliage that I had to ask her about it. She was more than happy to start me a piece. Unfortunately, after I moved about a year or two later, my little plant didn’t survive the ‘shock’ while trying to acclimate to its new surroundings. I don’t think my apartment provided enough light for my string of beads, as my previous residence afforded plenty. Nonetheless, while I had it, the plant gave me lots of pleasure. If I come across another one, I will surely grab it up!
Note: Since this succulent plant is considered to be somewhat toxic, it is recommended that care be taken when growing string of beads in homes with pets or small children.
Resources: personal experience
The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: essential know-how for keeping (not killing) more than 160 indoor plants by Barbara Pleasant