How about taking on gardening as a new hobby? It’ll keep you occupied when stuck at home or you’ll have a new way to redecorate your home after a divorce. Even better, this soothing activity has a variety of benefits for your mental and physical health.
The Benefits of Gardening
An analysis of the effects of gardening on human health found that the activity had a variety of positive health outcomes. These include reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms, improved quality of life, lower levels of stress and mood disturbance, and more. The researchers even saw a decrease in the body-mass index of participants, which means that gardening can be a great physical activity for people who want to lose weight.
These positive effects make sense because gardening pushes you to go outside and get a dose of vitamin D from the sun. Carrying pots, pulling out weeds and other gardening activities also help you work up a sweat and burn calories.
Having plants inside your home purifies the air by absorbing and removing toxins. Plus, being in a green space filled with plants, trees and grass is known to reduce stress, mood disorders and feelings of depression.
Now that you know the benefits of gardening, it’s time to get started. If you don’t have much experience with this activity yet or you want something that’s low-maintenance, go with succulents.
Why Choose Succulents
Succulents are types of plants that store water in their stems, leaves, or both. This makes them significantly resistant against droughts, compared to other plants that need regular watering. This is why you mostly see succulents like cacti in the desert. They’re the only ones that can deal with the dry soil and weather. Their resilience makes them easy to take care of. You don’t have to worry about underwatering them, as long as they get enough sun.
Succulents come in a variety of types, shapes and colors. There are the ever-popular aloe veras, crown of thorns, jade plants, and snake plants. If you want something that looks more unique, string of pearls is a great choice.
What is String of Pearls
String of pearls, also known as “Senecio rowleyanus,” originated in the dry areas of South Africa. It is known for its distinctive look, with slender stems and leaves that look like plump, green bubbles. They can also grow small white flowers with purple and orange stamens. They make for good house plants or outdoor ornamentals. This is because apart from being low-maintenance, they also look beautiful.
To showcase their beauty, they’re often placed in hanging baskets so that you can show off their long stems and cute, rounded leaves. These baskets also keep the plant away from cats and dogs. They’re unfortunately toxic for your fur babies.
Where to Get String of Pearls
What’s great about string of pearls is that despite their quirky looks, they’re quite easy to find. Your local gardening and plant store likely stocks them.
If not, a variety of Amazon stores sell fully-grown string of pearls by the pot. Just make sure that the seller stocks theirs in a greenhouse or garden to ensure that the plant you’re getting is fresh and healthy.
How to Propagate String of Pearls
If you want to grow your own string of pearls, it’s definitely possible. You can propagate it using their seed or leaf. However, getting them to grow is quite difficult, even if you put them in the best soil and temperature. If you’re lucky, it may grow roots and sprout branches.
Your best bet to grow the string of pearls plant is to propagate them from cuttings.
If you know someone with this plant, ask them for cuttings for when they prune their string of pearls. Cut off the dead part of the stem and plant the cut part into the soil. It’ll take several months for it to grow. Just keep it in bright sunlight and keep the soil slightly moist with a few sprays of water. The cutting may end up rotting if you overwater it. After a month or so, try feeding it with diluted plant food to help it grow further.
How to Keep String of Pearls Alive
Once you have a fully-grown string of pearls plant, it should be relatively easy to take care of. However, it may be difficult to revive once it starts to rot. As such, you should keep a close eye on it.
Here are a few guidelines for taking care of this beautiful plant.
Exposure to Light
String of pearls thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. If you’re storing them indoors, put them in front of the window. If you’re displaying them outdoors, however, you may need to find a shaded area to hang them on. They could end up burning in direct sunlight.
The string of pearls plant, like all other succulents, like being in warm temperatures. They’re drought-proof, too. Keep these in temperatures around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep them away from drafty areas like an open window or in front of an air conditioner. They’re not tolerant to frost., The cold air can cause their leaves to break off.
A Good Base
You also need to consider the type of soil and plot you’re going to put the plant in. Apart from having a good soil pH level, your soil for succulents should also have great drainage. Loam soil is a good jack of all trades base, as it’s great at retaining nutrients and draining excess water. As for the pot, unglazed ceramic and terracotta are great for draining water. They allow air and water to pass through them easily. Make sure to store it in a high area so its stems and leaves can sprawl down.
The worst thing you can do to a succulent is to drown it in water, as it can rot and die out quickly. This is why it’s ideal for them to be in a soil and pot with good drainage. Water it once every other week. Check if the soil is at least half an inch dry, too, before adding water. You can stick to just watering them once a month during the cold season.
How to Save Your String of Pearls
Everybody makes mistakes when taking care of their plants. Even if you think you’ve got it figured out, your string of pearls may still end up sickly.
A common reason would be your pot is too big, causing the stems to stay on the moist soil for a long time. When this happens, the plant may end up rotting. You could also dry it out too much by putting it in direct sunlight.
Whichever the reason it may be, a surefire way to revive your string of pearls is to propagate it again with cuttings that are still alive. It may take months for your plant to grow back again, but seeing it come alive again is definitely worth the wait.
Gardening is one of the healthiest, relaxing and even challenging (in a good way) pastimes to get into. Succulents like string of pearls are great starter plants because they’re relatively low-maintenance. However, the Senecio rowleyanus is also great if you want to challenge yourself, as it needs a specific set of conditions and patience to thrive.
Consider these suggestions to help you grow your string of pearls correctly and keep them perfectly healthy.