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

New plants incoming…

It is incredibly possible that I used this challenge of creating more content as an excuse to order more plants. And by possible I mean… Friday night while I was working on my newsletter I was thinking a lot about the plants I have killed most over the course of my plant journey and how I should try again.

So I went about the task of looking for a Spider plant, a String of Pearls, and an African Mask Plant that I could have delivered to my home. There’s a lot of things that REALLY SUCK about a global pandemic but I have to say I appreciate the ability to readily get things like food, liquor, toilet paper, and plants delivered to my door.

I did what most people would do if they wanted plants delivered to their door and googled “best plant delivery portland oregon” to see what my options were. I have a couple of go-to places but one of them is a florist, not a plant shop and I have to call and have a whole phone conversation and pick plants that way. I really wanted to just look at a site and pick some plants that I could pay for and would magically appear on my doorstep. The first selections were misleading because they were all sponsored posts, not actually recommended by anyone. Most of them didn’t even deliver plants. But then I got down to it.

Not all of my most killed plants were available from the same store. Sad right? So sad. I had to order from two different local shops. And I wanted to make sure I was making the delivery trip worth their while and the delivery charge worth my while so I threw in a few extras from each of the two shops. Which means….


But it also means I will have two plant delivery shop reviews coming up this week and some new plant care content. I already have a tip from a friend on FB on how to care for my String of Pearls that blew my mind.

But for today let me share with you a list of locally owned plant shops here in Portland, Oregon that will deliver to your door that I have ordered from.

Delivery from Sellwood Flower co.
  • Ecovibe – Plants, pots, home goods, and gifts. They deliver locally in Portland and ship some items wherever
  • Sellwood Flower Company – They’re primarily a florist, but they also have a lovely selection of plants, chocolate, champagne, and whatnot. They have some sweet plant packages available on the site but when I want plants I usually call the shop to see what they have an place an order that way.
  • Hammer and Vine – They’re open exclusively for pickup and local delivery. (Delivery coming on Wednesday, because I’m going to need some extra joy and calm that day.)
  • Solabee – They also seem to be florist first, but I would say they’ve got enough going in the plant department to be plant shop second. I’ve never been to their shop in person and I ordered from them for the first time Friday. I can’t wait to see what I get. (Delivery coming later today.)

These are, by no means, the only plant shops that deliver here in Portland. But they’re the ones I have ordered from in the past or am waiting for deliveries from, so I want to share some love. If you’re in Portland and you have a plant shop (or have a favorite plant shop you’d like to recommend) that delivers, let me know in the comments. I’d love to check them out.

Delivery from Ecovibe!