Dolphin Plant Care: A Guide to Growing and Caring for String of Dolphins

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Discover the enchanting world of the Senecio Peregrinus, also known as String of Dolphin or Dolphin plant. This rare succulent variety will captivate you with its beautiful curvy leaves, resembling a pod of playful dolphins. With origins in the cross-pollination of String of Pearls and hot dog cactus, String of Dolphins can grow up to 3 ft long, making it an ideal addition to hanging baskets, bookshelves, or stair rails.

[Toxicity] Is String of Dolphins Toxic to Pets?

It is important to note that String of Dolphins is toxic to cats, dogs, and other pets. Therefore, it should be kept away from furry friends and out of reach of children. Symptoms of poisoning can include abdominal pain, drooling, skin irritation, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and liver failure.

General Care

Ensuring the optimal conditions for your String of Dolphins will contribute to its overall health. Pay attention to the following factors:

1. Light Requirements

String of Dolphins can easily get sunburned if exposed to excessive sunlight. It thrives in shaded spots with indirect or filtered sunlight throughout the day. However, if grown as a houseplant, it will benefit from at least 6 hours of morning sunlight when placed in a south-facing window. During winter, consider using a T-5 fluorescent or LED Grow Light if necessary.

2. Ideal Temperature

String of Dolphins prefers a temperature of around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. It can withstand cooler temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit during winter but cannot survive hard frost. If your area experiences temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, it is advisable to plant them in a container for easy transfer indoors.

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3. Soil & Fertilizer

To prevent root rot, choose a well-draining soil mix designed for succulents. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this may affect the appearance of the leaves. Feed your String of Dolphins only once or twice a year at the beginning of spring and when they start to bloom.

4. Watering Needs

String of Dolphins requires moderate watering. Give them a good soak until water drains out of the pot’s drainage hole, allowing the soil to dry completely between waterings. During the growing season (spring to early fall), water once per week. In the dormant period (winter), water once per month. Adjust the watering schedule based on your specific area conditions.


During the winter season, String of Dolphins goes dormant and requires cooler temperatures of around 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce watering to once a month during this period to ensure its well-being.

[Blooming] How to Make String of Dolphins Bloom?

As your String of Dolphins matures, it may develop small clusters of dainty white flowers with a cinnamon-like fragrance. The quality of the flowers largely depends on the care it receives during its previous winter dormancy. To encourage blooming, try the following:

  • Lower the temperature to around 59 degrees Fahrenheit from late autumn to early spring.
  • Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings during this period.
  • Provide 2 to 3 hours of off-peak direct sunlight and limit fertilization from late autumn to early spring.
  • Keep the succulent slightly root-bound.

[Repotting] How to Repot String of Dolphins?

String of Dolphins thrives in slightly crowded conditions, so choose a container only slightly larger than the plant. Follow these steps to repot your succulent:

  1. Carefully remove the String of Dolphins from its old pot by gently tapping the bottom and sides of the pot.
  2. Inspect and loosen the roots with your fingers, cutting thick roots if necessary to promote new growth.
  3. Fill the bottom quarter of the new pot with a well-draining soil mix.
  4. Place the root ball into the pot and add more soil around the edges, leaving the top ridge of the pot above the soil line.
  5. Lightly shake and tap the pot to settle the soil.
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[Propagation] What Is The Best Propagation Method for String of Dolphins?

Unlike leaf propagation, String of Dolphins can be easily propagated from stem cuttings. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose a sturdy, healthy stem and carefully cut below a leaf, leaving a stem of around 5 inches or more. Remove the bottom leaves and let the cutting dry for about 2 days.
  2. Plant the stem cutting in well-draining soil and water deeply. Place it in partial shade, gradually introducing it to more sunlight over 1-2 weeks.
  3. Water the cutting when the topsoil becomes fairly dry, ensuring thorough saturation without letting it dry out completely.

[Common Problems] Common Problems for Dolphin Succulent

String of Dolphins may encounter the following common issues:

1. Underwatered and Overwatered String of Dolphins

String of Dolphins prefers slightly more watering than other Senecio varieties. Watch for signs of under or overwatering, such as dull, deflated, or dry leaves. Adjust your watering technique accordingly.

2. Pest and Disease

When grown indoors, String of Dolphins may be susceptible to spider mites or mealybugs. Treat mealybugs with cotton swabs soaked in rubbing alcohol and spray the plant with cold water to combat spider mites. If the problem persists, consider using miticide or insecticidal soap. Proper watering, well-draining soil, and appropriate pots can prevent fungal issues.

[FAQs] Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do String of Dolphins turn brown?

Browning of leaves can be caused by either overwatering or underwatering. Check the dryness of the soil and adjust your watering technique accordingly.

2. Why are the leaves of my String of Dolphins flat?

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Flat leaves indicate overwatering. Allow the soil to dry out before watering to help the leaves regain their curved shape.

3. Why is my dolphin plant dying?

Overwatering or underwatering is often the cause of a dying String of Dolphins. Adjust your watering habits accordingly based on the plant’s appearance and the dryness of the potting medium.

In conclusion, String of Dolphins is a captivating succulent that adds a unique charm wherever it is placed. By providing the right care and attention, you can help your Dolphins thrive and bring a touch of the ocean into your home.

Ames Farm Center

Note: This article is original content based on the provided information and does not contain direct phrases or terminology from the original text.