The String of Turtles, also scientifically known as the Peperomia Prostrata, is one kind of a trailing semi-succulent plant you cant regret growing, especially on a hanging basket. While there’s a large pool of varieties in the Piperaceae family to adopt, this particular one has so many remarkable attributes that are strongly desired by most gardening enthusiasts looking to glam up their indoor spaces using tough and healthy houseplants. So read on to find out all the handy cues you need so you can make your String of Turtles grow excellently fine without any disheartening snags.
More About The String of Turtles
As is the case with most other peperomia varieties, the String of Turtles is native to the tropical parts of Brazil. And it’s no wonder why this houseplant generally prefers warm and humid conditions. But that’s not to say it cant withstand cool temperatures as well. In fact, it’s one of the rare perennials that survive impressively well during winter when the temperatures are extremely cold.
Some of the gardening stores label this semi-succulent as the Jade Necklace since it looks stunning in a hanging basket. Another common name you’ll probably come across is ‘Magic Marmer’, which is a rare breed of the Prostrata. The growing medium preferably needs to be placed in a position that allows the plant to trail downwards. Not only is this plant easy to grow but it also survives quite well under normal room conditions.
So how big does the String of Turtles grow on average? I bet you’re utterly curious to find out. One clear-cut thing to note is this plant falls under the petite category. It doesn’t sprout much. Well, this houseplant can roughly reach between 1″ to 4″ inches in height. It will also spread up to 4″ inches if it’s growing under the right conditions which we’ll carefully look at in a moment. But if you choose not to trim the veins, your String of Turtles can trail beyond 4″ inches.
The string of Turtles Care Tips
Soil & Repotting
Being a plant from the tropical regions, the String of Turtles prefers permeable soil that’s capable of draining any excess water promptly. It should be well-aerated and be rich enough to provide your plant with the essential nutrients during its growing seasons. So practically, it’d be far more useful to use loamy soil.
The other remedy which I often find so high yielding is mixing organic soil with sand to make the texture a bit more porous. You can also add about 40 grams of grit per liter of compost to make the soil drain water much faster, together with some bits of perlite during spring.
You also want to pick a small growing pot that fits your plant well without leaving so much space on the edges. Owing to its miniature attribute, this plant could go years without having to re-pot it. But if you need to change the topsoil, the best time to do that would be during the first weeks of spring since that’s exactly when the growth hormones are zestful and functional.
While this plant does well in moist soil, overwatering it could entirely damage the rooting system. If the leaves begin to turn yellow, that indicates the soil stays soggy for too long. And ultimately, the roots begin to decay, or even worse, fungal infections kick in.
To avoid all this nerve-wracking trouble, make sure the first few inches of the topsoil are totally dry before watering your plant again. Overwatering your String of Turtle will also cause it to grow unevenly like an unruly shrub and that ends up ruining its incredibly natural appeal.
But sometimes, the leaves will begin shedding after using too much fertilizer on your plant or when the temperatures are acutely low. So the foliage doesn’t only deteriorate due to overwatering. On the other hand, your plant will inversely start shrinking if you don’t appropriately water it. The best part about most succulents is that the soak and the dry method usually work just fine and you won’t need to worry much about overwatering your plant.
If you want the vines to get firmer and longer, you’ll definitely need to use a fertilizer that’s suitable for perennial plants. The best time to fertilize your plant is during the growing seasons.
Use a slow-releasing fertilizer once every two weeks during spring. You want to slow down the interval to just once a month when summer rolls in. It’s worth noting that maintaining a steady fertilizing pattern for your String of Turtles would help retain its lustrous and gleaming foliage throughout the seasons.
Dilute the fertilizer with water to make it highly soluble. This accelerates the nutrient intake process. You also need to note that too much fertilizer can scorch the leaves, so you want to use it with some level of moderation. When it’s winter, you don’t need to fertilize your houseplant or water it frequently.
Foliage & Flowering
As you’d expect from a tropical succulent, the String of Turtles features dark-green variegated leaves that hold enough sap for the rainy day. So you’ll need to space out the watering sessions since this plant can store some water to help it kick through the dry periods. The String of Turtles has leaves with a rare pattern of white veins, which turn from dark-blue to silver and purple as the plant grows older.
You’ll hardly spot any flowers on this plant during the growing seasons, even more so, if you’re planning to place the medium indoors. Even when the String of Turtles produces flowers, they’re usually scanty and have no scent, so don’t hold too much expectation.
Light & Temperature
You Peperomia Prostrata will fatten, become greener, and trail a couple of inches downwards if you place the medium in a position where the plant gets bright but indirect natural light. If the leaves are already dark-green, you need to move the plant from direct sun rays. Too much light can ruin its color code and make the leaves to wither off. If possible, grow your String of Turtles under fluorescent grow lights.
It’s much more beneficial to place the container close to a window that’s facing west or east so your plant can get the optimal light conditions. Again, this plant yields faster under a warm and humid environment. It also blooms consistently when growing under temperatures between 18-23°C.
The leaves of this plant might begin to wither off anytime the temperatures fall below 10°C, so you’ll probably have so much homework to do during winter when it comes to calibrating the surrounding conditions that fittingly suit your plant’s wellbeing. In plain words, that’s to suggest your String of Turtles isn’t by any chance frost-proof.
Grooming & Maintenace
Since the leaves of this plant are so delicate, you want to handle it with utmost care while carrying out the pruning routine. You can prune the tips of the stems if you don’t want the vines to elongate any further. Since most Prostratas grow in a hanging basket, they tend to get dusty. For this reason, you need to wipe them using a wet cloth and be careful not to break the vines since they’re usually too fragile.
How to Propagate Your String of Turtles
One of the easiest ways to propagate your String of Turtles is by leaf cuttings. You just need to follow these simple steps and everything will be all set:
- Cut off a stem that’s holding a few healthy leaves.
- The leaves need to be firmly attached to the petioles and make sure the vein is at least 5″ inches long.
- Use a rooting hormone to help the cutting develop roots a bit sooner.
- Prepare a well-draining potting mix and use a small pot to plant the cuttings.
- Wait until 1 week lapses before watering your newly potted plant so it can have a grace period for mutating to the new growing conditions.
- Moist the topsoil evenly any keep the room temperatures slightly above 20°C all through the early sprouting stages.
- So long as you don’t overwater your baby plant, you should begin to see tangible results a few weeks later.
- Always check your plant for any rotting leaves and pluck them off straight away.
Common Pests & Diseases
Having to deal with pests and diseases while nurturing your houseplants is somewhat inevitable. And same as other Peperomia varieties, the String of Hearts is most often prone to mealybugs which leave whitish warts on the plant and soil after sucking the juice from the leaves.
Mealybugs largely attack your plant anytime your overwater it or use too much fertilizer. To get rid of them dilute isopropyl alcohol with water and spray the solution on the leaves. Spider mites equally cause damage that would overwhelmingly be impossible to repair. You’ll almost certainly spot them hiding beneath the leaves or on petioles attaching them to the stem. They cause the leaves to look dusty and show up mostly during winter when the room conditions are dry.
Your plant’s foliage will also become pale due to overwatering. Root rot is yet another nightmare you’ll struggle with if the soil repeatedly remains soggy for longer hours. The variegated pattern on the leaves might also get disfigured if the plant is under the full sun rays.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the String of Turtles toxic?
This variety is neither poisonous nor invasive. Even though it’s not grown for human or pet consumption, your String of Turtles holds zero toxicity levels. But since this fact isn’t thoroughly substantiated, it’d be best to keep the container out of reach of kids and pets.
How close should the watering intervals be?
It’s ideal to water your String of Turtles once or twice a week, depending on how fast it gets thirsty. And it’s needless to say that you need to wait till the topsoil is completely dry before watering your plant next. This would solidly prevent the roots from rotting or foliage losing its radiant color code.
Can I grow my String of Turtles hydroponically?
Unfortunately, the String of Turtles can’t grow in water. It’ll be prone to so many diseases and begin to decay. The roots won’t have a firm support base if they’re soaked in water.
How can I calibrate the humidity during winter?
You can purchase a digital humidifier for houseplants to keep the humidity levels in check or use a spray bottle to mist your String of Turtles. Don’t keep the soil too moist during this season.
Can my String of Hearts grow under low-light conditions?
It’s fairly easy and possible to grow this Peperomia variety using low light conditions. But that would only result in less appealing foliage. It has variegated leaves that turn yellow if they aren’t getting the right amount of light. You,however, need to note that too much sunlight will scorch the leaves and stems indefinitely.
The Strings of Turtles is more of a miniature plant, making it suitable for areas such as office desks or walls—so long as it gets medium-bright light for a few hours during the daytime. Just remember to handle it with caution when trimming it and keep the soil evenly moist, especially during spring. Just incase we left anything untapped, please hit us up right in the comment section below.