When we think of the best indoor plant for beginners, very rarely does the String of Turtles (Peperomia prostrata) come up on the list. It’s a shame really, how such an interesting and unique-looking plant gets overlooked when it’s actually one of the most easy-to-maintain plants out there. I had visited a friend’s indoor jungle when I saw her pots and pots of thriving String of Turtles. The foliage was lush and awe-inspiring, I couldn’t leave without asking for a cutting (or two)!
If you’re just joining the plant-loving community, or you’re ready to venture out of the usual indoor plant collections, we’ve got you covered! Make this the ultimate care guide for your new houseplant – the fanciful and quirky, String of Turtles.
With small round leaves with white veins, the Peperomia prostrata looks like the shell of tiny turtles! That’s where it gets its name. The foliage has a texture that gives it a glossy, film-like covering. That could be due in part that this peperomia is also a type of succulent. The String of turtle plant originates from South Africa, often attributed to Brazil. If you help it grow healthy, you will enjoy cascading plants on your shelf or hanging planter.
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One of the reasons why I’m confident it would be an easy house plant for anyone is because this “semi-succulent” originates from a climate that can easily be replicated in almost any house. It has a slow growth rate, won’t fuss when given minimal care, and reaches maturity after three to five years. It’s the perfect and charming plant for terrariums and container gardens too.
- Botanical Name: Peperomia Prostrata
- Plant Type: Succulent or semi-succulent
- Growing Zone: Zones 9-11
- Mature Size: 12 Inches
- Classification: Colorful Foliage
- Foliage Color: Green
- Sun Exposure Requirements: Bright indirect light
- Soil Condition: Loamy, moist. Dry out before watering.
- Soil pH: Neutral to Acidic
Caring For The String of Turtles Plant
If you already enjoy and own other string of plants like the string of pearls or string of hearts, caring for the string of turtles won’t be so foreign for you anymore. What I’ve learned with succulents in general, is to be mindful of the type and quality of pot I plant them in.
When you choose a pot or container for your string of turtles plant, always go for one that has drain holes. Water-logged soil is the fastest way to failure and root rot. Make sure your pot is just the right size, nothing too large, choose one that is just larger than the root balls. The Peperomia Prostrata are happier when they are pot bound. A small, little pot is really the best option because the root system for string of turtles is very shallow and it’s also a helpful visual reminder for you to avoid over watering.
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The Peperomia Prostrata String of Turtles is a sun-loving succulent but warned, leaving this green vining plant under full sunlight can cause the leaves to burn.
For the plant to grow in the best possible way, place it under bright indirect light exposure. A north-facing or south-facing window are the most ideal locations for your pot of string of turtles. These spots get the best light conditions, with enough shade and the right amount of sunlight exposure.
The most common problem the String of Turtles faces is being overwatered. Many first time plant owners forget to check the individual watering needs of each plant and tend to bulk all plants together. They end up frequently watering those that don’t need that much hydration, or dry out very thirsty plants. For the Peperomia prostrata, only water when the soil is dry, or else, you’ll end up with string of turtles plant leaf that’s yellow or droopy.
The most common time frame for that is two to three weeks of watering in between. There are other factors, which can read below, that will tell you what you need to take into consideration.
To determine the dryness of your soil, simply insert your finger or a tensiometer into the soil. Sink it a few inches deep, if you feel that the soil below the top is moist, you may not water yet.
A favored method of watering for succulents is the bottom watering method. It’s an effective way to hydrate your plants well and avoiding root rot. Place the pot in a container that’s filled with about 1/3 water. Sumberged your pot and let it sit there for 10 minutes. And then, lift the little pot out and let your plant drain all the excess.
If you already own succulents, you might assume that the semi-succulent Peperomia prostrata will also thrive in this special pre-mix. I’ll have to stop you there because these premises are specifically formulated for cacti and succulents. The ideal soil for the string of turtles is a mix that is mainly organic. Go for a well-draining and aerated potting mix. A rich peat moss with half perlite is a good mix to start. Peat is acidic which is a perfect soil pH for the string of turtles.
To maintain a bright and shiny leaf for the string of turtles, feed with a fertilizer mix during the growing season. This would be twice a month during the spring, and then once a month during the summer season. You have two options for feeding, you can use pellets that are time-release fertilizers, or diluted liquid fertilizers.
With most trailing plants, pruning is done to avoid the leggy and unkempt stems. Doing this also helps you check for dead or dying leaves. Avoid pruning off more than a third of your string of turtles all at once so you don’t lose the bushy aesthetic of your plant. Cutting off too much also stops new growth, and we don’t want that. With all pruning activities in your garden, always keep using sterilized scissors. The best thing when you prune? You get more string of turtles stems for propagation!
There is an easy method to propagate your string of turtles. It’s a method that I’ve personally been using to grow plants. Using the stem cuttings you’ve collected, remove a few of the leaves and place them in a glass. Keep the string of turtles in clean water. Wait for about 3-6 weeks until you notice roots growing out of leaf nodes. They are ready for planting!
Another method that fellow plant lovers have tried is to take the stem cuttings and lay them atop a layer of soil. A bit of watering will do to avoid root rot. After a few weeks, a brand new plant will emerge.
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FAQs for Peperomia Prostrata String of Turtles
How do you take care of a turtle string?
The String of Turtles will survive with minimal watering. Use fast draining soil that retains moisture but not water to avoid the roots from rotting. Put in a spot with bright indirect light.
Is string of turtles rare?
The Peperomia Prostrata is native to Brazil and is considered ultra-rare. It is a trailing houseplant that is best enjoyed in a hanging pot or shelf. It will need years to fully mature, but it is a durable plant with leaves that look like the shells of turtles.
How much light do string of turtles need?
Too much sunlight will cause the leaves of string of turtles to burn. The ideal lighting condition for this plant is in bright indirect light exposure.
Are turtle strings hard to care for?
No! In fact, the string of turtles can easily adapt to different growing conditions. It rarely suffers from pest infestation or leaf diseases. On our book, it’s an easy plant to grow.