While the String of Turtles plants differs from most succulents, it is by no means a difficult plant to care for!
In fact, caring for this delightful little indoor plant is very easy and extremely rewarding. This unique looking plant does well in lower light environments and is able to go a few weeks between watering.
If this sounds like the kind of plant for you, you’re in for a treat! Read on for this ultimate care guide to the String of Turtles succulent!
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Their botanical name is the Peperomia prostrata, but we know them best by their common name, the String of Turtles. You’ll also sometimes hear them called Magic Marmer.
Native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, the string of turtles is a very unique variety of vining semi-succulent.
As their name implies, the string of turtles belongs to the genus Peperomia. Pereromia plants are identifiable by their fleshy, succulent leaves. These plants are actually categorized as a semi-succulent so they need a bit more water than your average succulent.
The String of Turtles gets its name from its appearance. The stringy, skinny vines of this plant are adorned with little round leaves that have a close resemblance to a turtle shell.
They are relatively small plants and will only reach 12 inches in length at their full maturity. In addition, the string of turtles is a slow-growing plant, taking 3 to 5 years in order to reach maturity.
The string of turtles are a pet-friendly plant as well! String of turtles are non-toxic to both cats and dogs, so you can feel comfortable having this plant in the same home as your furry friends.
String of Turtles Care
Sun & Light
String of turtles prefer a bright indirect light to grow in. Please avoid placing your plant in a location with direct sunlight, as too much light can cause severe damage to your plant’s foliage.
On the flip side, too little light can cause stunted growth. This plant thrives in about an hour or two of direct sun in the morning when the sun isn’t too harsh.
If you don’t have a spot where this plant can get enough sun you could always use a grow light! Again, be sure to not give it too much light, just enough to keep it healthy.
The string of turtle plant is a tropical plant this is native to the Brazilian rainforest, so they prefer a soil that is lightly moist. These plants are prone to overwatering, so it is important to maintain a certain level of soil moisture to keep your plants comfortable.
You can help avoid overwatering by waiting until the soil is entirely dry before watering your plant again. Too much water is not good for this vining plant!
Despite being considered a semi-succulent, the string of turtles should not be planted in a soil that is marketed for succulents. Instead, string of turtles enjoys a soil rich in organic matter, namely peat moss.
For this reason, most seed-starting soils are perfect to use for the string of turtles. In addition, it is important to make sure this soil is slightly acidic and well-draining.
Including a regular fertilization routine to your plant’s care helps preserve the vibrant color and encourage vigorous growth in your plant.
During the growing season (spring and summer), treat your string of turtles to a diluted houseplant fertilizer. This should be done every two weeks. During the fall and winter months, completely cease fertilizing your plant.
Temperature & Humidity
The string of turtles differs from many other succulents in that they actually prefer average temperatures. Warm temperatures are fine for this plant since they’re tropical plants.
The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 68° and 75° F. However, they do not like super cold temps, so it is best to avoid placing them near a drafty window or air conditioning vent.
This plant also enjoys a more humid environment. They are tolerable of most household humidity levels, though in seasons where the weather might be drier, it is beneficial to introduce some type of humidity to its environment.
However, you don’t want a high humidity level as damp air isn’t the best for turtle strings. This can be achieved by placing an electric humidifier nearby or a pebble tray.
Pruning your Peperomia prostrata is necessary to help maintain bushy plant growth. Without pruning, your plant can become sparse and leggy in appearance. Prune your plant occasionally by removing any dead or damaged foliage; this will help encourage new growth.
You can also cut your plant down if you prefer your string of turtles to be a little shorter. Healthy plant cuttings can even be used to propagate new string of turtle plants.
Choosing a Pot & Repotting
The most important quality in a string of turtles’ pot should be drainage. Including ample drainage is essential to making sure your plant can properly expel excess water.
Without drainage holes in your pot, your plant’s roots can become waterlogged, which leads to fungal diseases such as root rot. You can also increase drainage by selecting porous pot materials such as unglazed ceramic or terra cotta.
The string of turtles prefers to be slightly root-bound, therefore they do not require frequent repotting and can do well in a small pot. It is recommended to repot when your plant become very root-bound (when roots begin growing out from openings in the plant pot).
They have a shallow root system so you won’t need to repot them very often! You’re most likely going to need to give them fresh soil rather than give them a larger pot.
When you do have to repot your plant, make sure to size up your pot size very gradually, only selecting a new pot that is a couple inches larger than the previous.
How to Propagate String of Turtles
Like many plants of its kind, the string of turtles can be propagated via stem cuttings. String of turtles also has delicate leaves so be careful when handling it. Follow these steps to make your plant multiply.
What You’ll Need:
- A mature, healthy string of turtles plant
- A pair of sharp, sterile scissors
- A pot filled with the appropriate soil for this plant
- (Optional) Rooting hormone powder
- Take a cutting from a mature string of turtles just below the mode. The stem cutting should be at least 3 inches in length.
- Trim the bottom few leaves from the lower part of the stem, exposing the nodes.
- (Optional Step) Dip the cut-end of the stem into rooting hormone powder. Rooting hormone powder can help speed the propagation process, but it is not a necessity.
- Bury the cut-end of the stem into a pot of lightly moist soil. Make sure the remaining leaves are above the surface of the soil.
- Place the pot in a location that receives bright, indirect light.
- It takes roughly 3 to 4 weeks for root growth to occur. You can check if your plant has rooting by giving it a gentle tug. If you’re met with any resistance, then that means your plant has established roots.
Luckily for owners of this plant, the string of turtles is not prone to any major pest infestation. Some examples of possible pests include whiteflies, mealybugs, and spider mites.
While a pest problem is both surprising and inconvenient, all three of these pests can swiftly be taken care of by treating your plant using an insecticidal soap or neem oil.
The most prominent disease that could affect your string of turtles are related to overwatering your plant. Overwatering your string of turtles can cause waterlogged soil, which leads to a fungal disease known as root rot.
Soil that has been saturated in soil can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, which subsequently breaks down the roots of your plant.
Root rot can be extremely deadly to your plant if left undetected and untreated. Signs of root rot include dying, discolored foliage. If you suspect your plant might be a victim of root rot, gently remove your plant from the pot and inspect its roots.
Prune away any roots that are mushy and brown, these are all signs of rot. Repot your plant using fresh soil in a sterilized plant container.
Root rot can be prevented by properly watering your plant and maintaining good drainage. Always remember to wait until your plant’s soil is entirely dry before rehydrating your plant’s soil, and house your plant in a container with drainage holes. Taking these simple steps will prevent the risk of root rot.
Where to Buy
Common Peperomia prostrata Problems
It sounds like your plant is being exposed to direct bright light. It’s a good idea to move your plant to a spot where they’re getting less direct light.
Please keep in mind to provide indirect light for your string of turtles, as direct sun rays causes damage to your plant.
A lack of proper light can cause stagnant growth. String of turtles benefit greatly from bright, indirect light and will not grow in low light.
In addition, make sure that all areas of your plant are receiving light. It is a common occurrence that vining plants don’t receive adequate light on the top of the plant, which can lead to stunted growth.
This common problem can be one of two reasons. One, your plant is too cold. Make sure to maintain a temperature range between 68° and 75° F to keep your plant comfortable and avoid placing your plant near cold areas of the home.
The second reason could be due to moisture imbalance. If you soil is too dry or too wet, this can cause leaves to wilt and die off.
The string of turtles is a peculiar plant, indeed- but this does not mean that it is difficult to care for! With a little love and care, you’ll be able to enjoy your string of turtles for many years. Just make sure to follow these easy steps and you’ll have a happy and healthy plant.
Want some more trailing plants?
Check out how to propagate a string of pearls, how to propagate a string of hearts or string of fishhooks care tips!