Sordid Tales of the String of Pearls

When I first started this plant blog nearly three years ago I had no idea what I wanted to do with it. Three year ago me and now me still have that in common. But I know now that I don’t want to do what I did then. One of my early posts here was about Sting of Pearls. Well kind of. There’s a lot of babble about my favorite purse, polka dots, and Jackie Kennedy in that post. I’m not really sure, looking back, what I was going for with all that. But I digress.

I’d been caring for this particular plant for a bout a month and I really thought I had everything figured out. I gave some care tips in between moments of pontification about bourbon and Kate Spade and polka dots. And those care tips are not… inaccurate. If you read about how to care for a Sting of Pearls most places on the internet you will probably read something very similar to what I said.

Care tips to remember?

  • They love light. Yay light. But it shouldn’t be beating down on them.
  • Don’t over water. Those little pearls? They soak it up and store it for later.
  • Those strings? They’re like stems and they’re delicate so be careful with them, but…

And then I went on to explain how easy they are to propagate. Which is actually true.

But what I didn’t spend enough time on is how incredibly fickle this plant is and how easy it is to kill. I’ve said it before, I’m awful with succulents. TRULY terrible with them. But somehow I’m even worse at this particular variety. And so of course I’ve decided to try again. In my late Friday night plant ordering spree I decided to order one each of the plants from my most killed list and document how they’re doing.

New String of Pearls, I shall call you Lucy…

Enter the new Sting of Pearls and what I have not yet verified as the best advice ever, but what came in as a comment on Facebook in a thread in which the plant murder of succulents in general and String of Pearls in specific was being discussed. Emily F. says you have to water these little divas FROM THE BOTTOM UP. Yep. You read that right. So this new lil devil will be cared for using ONLY the bottom up watering method.

 Never put water on the top soil. Let them sit in a little bowl of water and it will soak it up from the bottom. But wait until it’s totally dried out before you water it. Like no moisture at all. If it’s say a 6 inch pot that would be around once a month

Emily F plant genius

Will it make a difference? Well I sure hope so.

But wait… there’s more. This String of Pearls and a few other plants we’ll discuss later were delivered by Hammer + Vine yesterday afternoon. They were the second of the orders I made late Friday evening last week. And totally the last plants I’m allowing myself to buy this month. Though I should note that I have a special planter and succulent on order from a cute creepy Etsy shop that has still yet to arrive so look for that good news soon. But that was actually the first plant I bought this year so, it doesn’t count?

Back to the String of Pearls and this plant delivery. Before the order arrived I received an email:

 I packed your order myself, the pearls and spider plant have been freshly watered. String of pearls are more prone to rotting than other succulents, at the shop we always hang them right in the window or keep them directly under our grow lights.

Janelle from Hammer + Vine

Now what is this? I had always thought they shouldn’t have the direct light shining right at them. Because, you know, I read it on the internet. But according to Janelle who I am suddenly willing to trust with my plant’s life and perhaps my own direct light is exactly what these fickle high-maintenance little suckers need to keep them from rotting and dying.

So armed with new information from two women who seem to know what they’re talking about I feel like I’m read to start this String of Pearls adventure again with some hope of keeping it alive for the long haul this time.

I mean given my track record here it’s not terribly likely, but anything is possible. Right?

Featured image by Kara Eads on Unsplash

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