A string of Turtles is a very scarce wandering succulent plant with delicate stems and tender foliage commonly propagated as a decorative indoor garden plant. The name ‘String of Turtles’ comes from its ever-crawling nature that tends to fill up available spaces with its lovely foliage, which appears like turtle backs in different patterns.
Peperomia prostrata is an indigenous plant of the tropical Brazilian rainforests and is well adapted to warm, sunny climates. It is exceptionally easy to propagate, and newbie gardeners will enjoy having new pots of Peperomia prostrata in their home garden.
Propagating String of Turtles
Stem cuttings most commonly propagate them because they’ve shown a very acceptable success rate, and the process can be handled even by newbie propagators.
Preparing String of Turtles from Stem Cuttings
- First, select the healthiest-looking stems with mature leaves and growing buds.
- Using a pair of clean garden scissors or kitchen knives, make a smooth cut of the stems right below the nodes where they attach to the mother plant; Each stem cutting should be a minimum of 4-6 inches long.
- Pluck off the leaves at the lower edge of the stems, close to where the cut was made. This creates new nodes on the stem, which serve as budding points for the growth of new shoots and after propagation.
It’s advisable to only root String of Turtles stem cuttings in a potting soil mix for better chances of success. Rooting the cuttings in water would most likely result in the rotting of the cuttings before they begin to grow new roots.
Rooting your String of Turtles Cuttings
Prepare your rooting pots by filling them with the already blended potting soil mix. They always enjoy rooting in small clay, Plastic or ceramic pots, so there’s no need to sweat on the choice of potting material.
- Create shallow holes on the surface of the pots not more than an inch deep; then plant the cuttings by inserting them into the holes. If you wish to use rooting hormones for better results, dip the cut part of the cuttings into the water and then in the rooting powder before planting.
- Now, strengthen the planted cuttings in their position by filling up the available spaces in the pot with more potting mix. You may need to water immediately if the soil mix appears dry. In cases where the Potting Mix feels moist, please wait until after a day or two before thoroughly watering it.
- Place the newly planted pots behind a well-illuminated window so they receive daily indirect sunshine. The first watering must be deep and thorough, so ensure excess water drains off the pot completely.
- After watering, you can place the pot on a flat surface to ensure all excess water drains off completely. All factors in check, your cuttings will begin to root within 3 to 6 weeks after planting, and you’ll see new leaves poking out soon.
Best Soil Potting Mix for Propagating String of Turtles
The string of Turtles loves a soil environment that is neutral or mildly acidic but highly porous, with good drainage. I prefer to use my special homemade lightweight Peperomia soil mix, which has always yielded excellent results.
Most commercial Potting mixes for succulents and cactus plants are usually alkaline in hydrogen content and, so, unfit for propagating a healthy String of Turtles plant. A proper soil mix would be based on organic compounds blended with peat moss and perlite for better acidity and aeration.
Sunshine Requirements of String of Turtles
Unlike many other succulent plants that always flourish in warm temperate environments, String of Turtles prefer the opposite; a low-temperature, moderately humid atmosphere is their forte. It’s best to grow them at a constant temperature range of around 68°F to 75°F (20°C to 24°C).
They’re a fragile variety requiring less direct sunshine to maintain their bright green foliage. It’s best to place them behind a northward or south-facing window for maximum indirect sunshine and protective shelter for their delicate plants.
A great practice is to take the pots outside in their growing seasons for an hour or two of direct exposure to sunlight. I always notice how active they get when the sunshine is just at the right levels. Of course, there’s a risk of sunburn on them, so always pay keen attention to the leaves.
Since they’re actively invasive in their growing season, I like to propagate them as hanging decorative plants on top of high drawers and shelves. You can also place them alongside taller garden plants so they can vine on them.
Watering String of Turtles
These agile beauties easily rot in their stems and roots when left to stay in damp environments for extended periods. Maintaining a strict watering policy that allows them to dry out intermittently is important. You can improve the draining power of your pots by punching holes at the sides and bottom.
Watering cycles should be once a week or two, depending on the prevailing atmospheric humidity. Since they’re very active in their growing season (usually from early April to late July), you should only water them whenever the surface of the Potting Mix looks dry and crumbly.
Watering during winter should be more passive, at most once in two or three weeks. They usually enter their resting phase during winter and have a lesser need for watering. You can water them by spraying, misting, or bottom watering; they’re not so picky as long as there’s room for the excess water to drain.
It’s easy to tell and watered String of Turtles plant from one not getting sufficient water. When over-watered, the stems become weak and bloated, and the leaves appear soggy and falling, with possible discolorations. An underwatered pot, however, looks pale, with tinier, fewer leaves that appear discolored, all symptoms of reduced growth and development.
Pruning your String of Turtle Plants
Pruning is essential to keep the propagated pot attractive and prevent them from invading the whole room. They become leggy and bushy when not trimmed regularly, so you should include that in your gardening schedule.
One great advantage of pruning is that it takes off dead leaves and broken stems, initiating fresh foliage and bud growths.
It would help if you considered propagating String of Turtles pots in your home garden because they are rare among commercial vendors. These garden crawlers are so easy because of their inability to keep their secrets.
Their rarity makes them always especially desirable, and since they’re classified as low-management garden plants, you won’t have to undergo much stress with them before they attain maturity. Although they’re known to suffer initial delays in their early growth stages, they eventually attain heights of up to 12 inches tall in less than five years.