Growing String of Tears: How To Care For Senecio Herreianus Plants

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The String of Tears (Senecio herreianus or Curio herreianus) is an interesting succulent plant hailing from Namibia in South Africa.

This member of the Asteraceae family is a tender perennial succulent desired for its creeping stems and attractive, tear-shaped foliage.

string of tears (Senecio herreanus) closeupPin
String of tears aka Senecio herreanus | alona – Adob

This plant is a close relative of Senecio rowleyanus (String of Pearls Plant) and Senecio Radicans (String of Bananas Plant).

The plant’s genus name, Senecio (sen-NEESH-shee-oh), is Latin and means “old man.”

This is a reference to the hairy aspects of the blooms.

The specific epithet, herreianus (her-ray-ee-AY-nus), honors the botanist Hans Herre, who was an expert on the topic of South African succulents.

String of Tears Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Senecio Herreianus
    Common Name(s): String of Beads, String of Pearls
    Synonyms: Senecio Rowleyanus
    Family & Origin: Asteraceae family, native to South Africa
    Growability: Easy to grow
    Grow Zone: USDA zones 9-11
    Size: Grows up to 3 feet long
    Flowering: Small white or pink flowers in summer
    Light: Bright, indirect light
    Humidity: Tolerates low humidity
    Temperature: Prefers temperatures between 60-85°F
    Soil: Well-draining succulent soil mix or cactus mix
    Water: Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch
    Fertilizer: Fertilize once a month during growing season with a balanced fertilizer
    Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to mealybugs and spider mites
    Propagation: Propagate through stem cuttings
    Plant Uses: Great for hanging baskets or as a trailing plant on a shelf or windowsill. Can also be used in succulent arrangements.

Common names for this plant include:

  • String of Watermelons
  • String of Raindrops
  • Gooseberry Plant
  • String of Beads
  • String of Tears

String of Tears: Senecio Herreianus Care Guide

Size & Growth

  • The String of Tears is typically a low-growing, trailing plant.
  • Stems may attain a length of one foot in ideal circumstances.
  • The String of Tears has trailing stems ranging in shade from green to purple.
  • The stems are fairly stiff and can grow to be more than a foot long hanging over the pot.
  • They have a trailing or creeping growth habit, depending on their planting.
  • The leaf shape is of a teardrop or raindrop.
  • They are equipped with clear leaf windows allowing more light to get in.
  • When you peek in the window, you will see the interior of the leaf has very fine purple stripes.
  • When the plant is grown in bright sunlight, the purple hues of the stems and leaves will become darker.

Flowering & Fragrance

Senecio herreianus String of Tears produces cinnamon-scented, trumpet-shaped white flowers during the spring and summer.

Tear Plant Light & Temperature Needs

The String of Teardrops does best in partial shade or indirect bright light rather than in full direct sunlight.

As a houseplant, it does well in an east-facing or west-facing sunny window. You can also place it on a ledge or near an open window to receive plenty of sunlight and have good air circulation.

If you’re growing the plant outdoors, you should bring it in before the cold months of winter.

Alternately, if you’re growing it as a groundcover, take cuttings to keep indoor plants as houseplants and return them to the outdoors when winter is over.

This plant is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9b-11b.

Watering & Feeding

  • All plants of this type are adapted to live in fairly arid environments.
  • They are able to store water in their stems and leaves for long periods of time.
  • Water as you would any trailing succulent or cacti sedum.
  • Wait until the soil is almost entirely dry, and then water very deeply.
  • Allow water to run through the soil and out of the drainage hole of the container.
  • Fertilize these succulents once a year during the summer.
  • Use a weak solution of a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
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Soil & Transplanting

The String of Beads likes dry, loamy, sandy, or gravelly soil with a neutral or acidic soil pH level of 5.5 to 7.

sharply draining succulent soil mix or cactus mix is a good choice.

As with any succulent or cactus, always use containers with ample drainage holes.

String Of Tears Plant Grooming & Maintenance

When kept as a trailing houseplant, String of Tears should be pruned regularly to maintain a full shape.

Poke the stem cuttings back into the same potting to fill in any empty spots.

The plant in this video is a hybrid cross, but care instructions are applicable to all Senecio.

Senecio Herreianus String Of Tears Propagation

The String of Tears Senecio Plant is very easy to propagate.

In their native setting, the stems simply trail along the ground and set down roots as they go.

In the wild, the teardrop plant forms dense mats.

Take cuttings anytime you like throughout the year.

Propagate by poking the end of the cutting into loose soil or simply setting the cutting on top of loose soil.

Press it down gently to make sure you have good soil contact, and it will soon begin setting down roots.

String Of Tears Succulent Pest or Disease Problems

For the most part, this hardy succulent is pest and problem-free when properly cared for.

Overwatering can cause root rot and stem rot and will also make the plant susceptible to succulent mealybug attacks.

If your plant develops any of these problems, approach it by decreasing watering and using an insecticide in the case of mealybugs.

Alternately, take healthy cuttings, ditch the diseased plant, and start over again.

If you do this, be sure to use new or thoroughly cleaned containers and fresh potting soil and perlite mix.

Rinse the cuttings thoroughly to get rid of any mealybugs and allow them to air dry before setting them on the soil surface to grow.

Is The Senecio Plant Considered Toxic Or Poisonous?

Although there doesn’t seem to be specific information regarding toxicity in Senecio herreianus String of Tears, it’s worth noting several of its cousins are somewhat poisonous and shouldn’t be eaten.

For example, Senecio rowleyanus is considered mildly toxic to humans and can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting if consumed.

In light of this, it just makes sense to keep String of Tears out of the reach of children and pets.

Is Senecio Herreianus Considered Invasive?

Although Senecio herreianus String of Beads is not listed as invasive, care should be taken when planting it outdoors in areas where it is winter hardy.

It does have a profuse growth rate, spreads easily, and could quickly adapt to become invasive.

Take steps to keep it in your garden.

Suggested String of Tears Uses

Like the String of Pearls this attractive ornamental succulent is an excellent choice for use in hanging basket.

The trailing stems, and interesting leaves cascade merrily over the edges of containers. Why not enjoy growing hanging baskets of both String of Pearls and String on Tears?

String of Tears could make a nice ground cover in conducive climates and would be an interesting addition to a rock garden or trailing over a rock wall.

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