The Enchanting Mother of Pearl Plant

Mother of Pearl Plant

Updated May 2023

Looking for a unique and captivating addition to your home? The Mother of Pearl plant, scientifically known as Senecio Rowleyanus, is a stunning cascading succulent that will instantly add a touch of quirkiness to any space. This fast-growing beauty is incredibly versatile and can be grown both indoors and outdoors. If you’re seeking a beautiful succulent to cultivate, the Mother of Pearl plant is an excellent choice. In this article, we will explore the essential care tips to ensure your plant thrives and flourishes.

Indoors or Outdoors: Choosing the Perfect Spot

Should you grow the Mother of Pearl plant indoors or outdoors? The answer ultimately depends on your location and climate. This delicate hanging succulent thrives in warm and dry environments, making it an ideal choice for indoor cultivation. However, if you reside in zones 9 and warmer, it can also thrive outdoors. In regions where temperatures drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, it is recommended to grow the Mother of Pearl plant in a container for easy indoor protection.

If you choose to grow it outdoors, find a partially shaded spot where it can enjoy some bright, indirect morning sunlight while being protected from the scorching afternoon sun.

Toxicity: A Matter of Caution

While the Mother of Pearl plant is a sight to behold, it’s important to note that it contains a sap that is toxic to both humans and pets. Accidental consumption of any part of the plant can cause various health issues, including skin irritation, inflammation, gastrointestinal symptoms, and more. It is crucial to keep your Mother of Pearl plant in a location that is out of reach for children and pets. Additionally, it is advisable to wear gloves when handling this stunning succulent.

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General Care: Nurturing Your Mother of Pearl Plant

1. Light

The Mother of Pearl plant thrives when exposed to bright, indirect sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours a day. If grown indoors, place it near an east-facing window to ensure it receives ample natural light. If you reside in a hot area, keep the plant 5 to 10 inches away from a south or west-facing window to prevent sunburn. During darker and cooler months, consider moving the plant closer to the window or to a brighter spot to provide sufficient light.

2. Watering

String of Pearls are sensitive to overwatering, so it’s essential to water them sparingly. Wait until the soil is dry to a depth of half an inch (1.2 cm) before watering. Typically, watering once every two weeks is sufficient. During winter, reduce watering to once a month, as the plant enters a dormant phase.

If you choose to grow the Mother of Pearl plant outdoors, adjust the watering frequency based on the temperature and rainfall in your area.

3. Temperature

Maintaining the right temperature is crucial for the well-being of your Mother of Pearl plant. Keep it at an average indoor temperature of 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 27°C). During winter, provide a cooler environment at around 55°F to 60°F (13°C to 16°C). Avoid placing the plant in drafty areas or near air conditioners and open windows, as the cold air can cause leaf drop. If you live in a frost-prone region, bring the plant indoors during winter to protect it from low temperatures.

4. Humidity

The Mother of Pearl plant is native to dry areas and does not require high humidity. It can thrive in standard household humidity settings, which typically range from 40% relative humidity.

5. Soil & Pot

For optimal growth, the Mother of Pearl plant requires well-draining soil. Choosing a terracotta or unglazed ceramic pot with excellent drainage is recommended. Avoid using deep pots, as the plant has shallow roots. Ensure that the crowns of the pearls are at the same level as the top of the pot or slightly lower to maintain proper aeration and prevent root rot. Sandy soil or a mix of three parts good potting soil and one part sharp sand is ideal for this succulent.

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6. Fertilizer

The Mother of Pearl plant does not require excessive fertilization. During the active growth period in spring and mid-summer, fertilize the plant once every two to four weeks. Avoid fertilizing during fall and winter. Use a diluted fertilizer to prevent overwhelming the plant.

Mother of Pearl Plant Care

Blooming: A Fragrant Delight

The Mother of Pearl plant produces delicate white flowers with a delightful cinnamon scent. To encourage blooming in spring, reduce watering and maintain a consistent temperature of around 60°F (15°C) during winter. The cool and dry conditions during this period often promote blooming, which typically lasts for approximately one month.

Propagation: Growing New Beauties

Propagating the Mother of Pearl plant is simple due to its shallow roots and the ease with which it develops new roots. The most straightforward method is using cuttings. Take a healthy 3 to 4-inch-long cutting and place it on the soil, lightly pressing it down. Roots will gradually grow from the cutting. Alternatively, strip some leaves from the stem and bury it in the soil, ensuring that the growth nodes are covered. Mist the soil lightly to keep it moist until the new plant establishes itself and begins to grow.

Repotting: Giving Room to Thrive

Because the Mother of Pearl plant has a delicate nature and shallow root system, repotting is not necessary every year. Only consider repotting when it outgrows its current pot or when its growth becomes stunted or rootbound. When repotting, handle the plant gently and ensure that the soil is dry. It’s best to repot at the beginning of the plant’s growing season in spring.

To repot, gently bring or fold the trailing stems to the center top of the plant. If your Mother of Pearl plant is in a hanging basket, remove the clips and hooks before repotting. Carefully flip the pot over, tapping the bottom to loosen the soil. Alternatively, cut the pot open to remove the plant without damaging the beads. Prepare a well-draining soil mix, such as a cactus or succulent soil with added perlite or coarse sand. Place the plant in the new pot, fill in any gaps with soil, and ensure the crowns of the pearls are at the appropriate level. After repotting, place the plant in a bright location away from direct sunlight.

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Pruning: Maintaining Health and Vigor

Occasional pruning is essential for the Mother of Pearl plant, especially when it becomes leggy or stretched due to insufficient sunlight. Prune any dead stems, pearls, or parts that have lost their aesthetic appeal using clean, sharp scissors. These trimmed pieces can be propagated to grow into new plants.

Common Problems: Troubleshooting Tips

While the Mother of Pearl plant is a delight to cultivate, it can encounter some common problems. Addressing these issues promptly will ensure the continued health and happiness of your succulent.

  • Shriveling of leaves and stems: Indicates inadequate water or sunlight. Adjust your watering schedule and ensure the plant receives sufficient light.
  • Root rot: Using heavy soil mix or excessive fertilization can lead to root rot. Ensure your soil is well-draining and avoid over-fertilizing.
  • Falling leaves: This can be a result of exposure to cold or drafty locations. Keep the plant in average room temperatures, and inspect for any pest infestations.

For more information on common problems and how to fix them, click here.

FAQs: Answering Your Questions

  1. Is it hard to keep the Mother of Pearl plant alive?
  2. Why does my Mother of Pearl plant keep dying?

To find answers to these frequently asked questions and learn more about caring for the Mother of Pearl plant, watch the informative video below:

String of Pearls Care Tips

If you found this article interesting, share it with your succulent-loving friends! And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to receive a free plant when your friends make an order. Visit Ames Farm Center for more information on succulent care and browse our wide range of succulent varieties.