How To Care For String of Turtles | Growing Peperomia Prostrata

The String of TurtlesPeperomia prostrata is a slow-growing perennial semi-succulent plant the genus Peperomia and the family Piperaceae.

basket of String of TurtlesPin
Hanging basket of Peperomia Prostrata String of Turtles | via Jerzy Opiola Wikimedia

Native to the rainforests of Brazil, ‘prostrata’ has several names:

  • ‘Magic marmer’ – a select variety of Prostrata
  • String of Turtles Plant
  • Turtle plant

This Peperomia variety is durable and uncommon. They generally prefer cool-to-warm, humid weather.

They have beautiful ornamental leaves, making them attractive hanging baskets, and are easy to care for under average room conditions.

Since they originate from South American rainforests, they thrive in loamy, wet conditions.

Peperomia Prostrata String Of Turtles Care And Plant Needs

Size and Growth

Prostrata is a miniature peperomia plant with tiny, fleshy, succulent leaves, only one-fourth of an inch wide that resemble turtle shells.

It has a small-spadix like structure, with creeping or trailing leaves and white veins.

The height of the plant is approximately 1″ inch to 4″ inches, and its width is approximately 4″ inches.

When potted, this vining plant may form a thick mat and cascade over the sides of the container.

Foliage and Flowering

Peperomia prostate has tiny dark green and blue variegated fleshy button leaves, which look like they are swollen with water.

They have a beautiful pattern of white veins, which range in color from maroon, to dark blue to purple, on young new growth, and turn silvery-white as the leaves age.

The string of turtles flower is insignificant. If the plant does flower, it produces tiny cream flowers on long flower spikes. These flowers have no scent.

Light and Temperature

Peperomia prostrata grows well in bright indirect light.

If the leaves are dark green, do not expose plants to too much direct sunlight as it can harm them.

These plants grow well as indoor plants under fluorescent lights.

South and eastern facing windows are best suited for Peperomia prostrate.

This plant species loves humid weather and grow well in homes with normal humidity and if the air is not too dry.

However, for warmer weathers, mist the leaves or place the plant in a gravel tray with water.

Peperomia prostrata thrives in temperatures of 65° to 75° degrees Fahrenheit. Plants may start to wilt in temperatures lower than 50° degrees Fahrenheit.

Watering and Feeding

This little plant likes a moist soil but does not like overwatering.

Allow the top layer of the soil to completely dry before watering again.

Do not overwater and make the soil waterlogged. Overwatered peperomia prostrata becomes wilted or grows scab-like protuberances from their leaves.

The plant can lose a few bottom leaves, but if the plant drops a large number of leaves, it could be due to temperature or fertilizer issues.

The fertilize the plant with diluted fertilizers every other week during the growing season. Or apply a time-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Feeding is not required from fall to late winter seasons.

Soil & Transplanting

Peperomia prostrate require a loose, rich, well-aerated and well-drained potting mix.

A good way to mix up the soil is to use 2 parts peat and one part sand or perlite and to change it or the top layer once a year.

Since this plant is quite small, repotting to large containers is usually not required. They have a shallow root system.

When planting prostrata, be careful not to overpot as it could make the soil waterlogged.

Shallow soils do not retain excess water.

Repot the plant in spring while changing the topsoil.

However, only go up one pot size as these plants remain quite small.

Grooming and Maintenance

Pruning peperomia prostrata with special care.

To stop vine growth, prune out just the top of some of the stems.

Focus on removing the damaged or dead foliage and stems that are quite large.

Too much pruning can make the plant lose its lush, bushy appearance and make it look spindly.

It can also permanently damage plant growth.

Propagating String Of Turtles

Peperomia prostrata string of turtles can be easily propagated from leaf and stem cuttings.

  • Cut about 2″ to 3″ inches of a stem with leaves attached to the petiole.
  • Plant the cuttings into small pots filled with a moist and well-draining soil mix
  • Place the pot in a location with bright light and maintain temperatures of about 68° degrees Fahrenheit.
  • A rooting hormone will help the Peperomia prostrata root quicker and begin growing out.
  • Be careful not to overwater the plant.

More on: String of Turtles Propagation

Peperomia Prostrata Pest or Disease Problems

Like most peperomia species, prostrate is vulnerable to common pests like spider mites and mealybugs, which can appear as fuzzy white stuff at the bottom of the leaves. Overwatering can lead to root rot.

Control mealybugs with insecticidal soap or isopropyl alcohol spray diluted at a 1:10 ratio with water.

Learn more about controlling succulent pests here.

They also have a few maladies:

Wilted, Discolored Foliage

This may be caused by overwatering.

  • Drain the water out from the pot (always use a pot with drainage holes)
  • Do not soak the leaves which can make them rot

Dull, Damaged Leaves

The plant may look dull and lifeless and lose its variegation when laced under very strong sunlight.

The loss of variegation may never be reversed.

The spread can be minimized by moving the plant away from the harsh sunlight.

NOTE: String of Turtles has no toxicity to pets, but it is always best to keep plants away from pets or children.

Best Uses For String Of Turtles

String of Turtles small size and ornamental foliage make it perfect plant for:

  • Terrarium plants
  • Hanging baskets
  • Dish gardens
  • Office desks
  • Container gardens
  • Houseplants

Is The String of Turtles Plant Invasive?

Prostrate is a spreading, vining plant that can cascade over the edge of a hanging baskets. But, it does not invade neighboring plant space or shade them out.

In essence, this is a very well-behaved and beautiful looking plant.

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