Keeping beautiful exotic plants at home shouldn’t be a chore. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best tips and tricks to help with your String of Turtles plant care! Take all the confusion out of the equation and keep reading!
This miniature Peperomia has trailing vines and leaves that look like adorable little turtle shells, hence its name “string of turtles”. Great for hanging up in a pot to show off its trailing vines adorned with tiny intricately patterned leaves, the string of turtles is an eye-catching addition to any home. Its small size is perfect for even the smallest spaces and can grow up to 50 cm long in the right conditions. Needless to say, it’s become an extremely popular houseplant in modern homes and is a staple in creating an incredible indoor jungle!
This little succulent is native to Brazil in the rainforest so here in the UK, we have to give it a little TLC to recreate its natural habitat. Read on for all the tips you need to learn how to care for your string of turtles!
Basic String of Turtles Plant Care
Being from the tropical rainforests of South America, the string of turtles needs these conditions to thrive. Below are the specifics of what to provide to ensure you have the healthiest String of Turtles around!
The string of turtles loves bright indirect light so don’t toast it in direct sun! To encourage growth, remember that the plant needs sunlight on the top too, not just on the vines. If you hang it up, make sure the whole plant is getting enough light.
The string of turtles loves humidity. Think rainforest levels of moisture! Between 60% and 90% is the perfect level and can be achieved by regular misting. Keep it in a humid room, such as the kitchen or bathroom, or consider using a humidifier. If you want to go all out, you can even purchase a simple hygrometer online to help you know the humidity levels of the air near your String of Turtles (50% is the ideal).
It’s easy to overwater these little babies since they love humid, moist conditions. Water when the top two inches of the soil is dry and give your plant a good soaking. Drain off excess water to avoid issues such as root rot and your plant should be right as rain!
If you prefer to bottom water your string of turtles, sit your plant in a sink or a pot of water. The water level should reach the first quarter of the pot. Let your plant soak in the water for ten minutes or until the surface is slightly damp, remove and then let the excess water drain off before placing it back in its decorative pot.
The string of turtles likes consistency - mild to warm conditions of around 22 °C, so try not to let the temperature fluctuate too much as this can stress the plant. These humid-loving babies don’t like draughts, so keep them away from doors and windows. During the cooler months, try to avoid putting your plant next to radiators as this can dry it out too much. If you remember to mist regularly, then it’s absolutely fine!
Some string of turtles owners keeps their plants on heat mats next to a humidifier over Winter to ensure the heat and humidity remain balanced. If you’re feeling that level of commitment, your plant will love you for it!
Peat-rich soil is the best soil to use for the string of turtles as it contains mainly organic matter that is slightly acidic. You may want to consider getting a pH test kit since the string of turtles thrives in neutral to acidic soil and thrives in a pH of 5. Specific seed-starting soil mix can be a good choice for the string of turtles and always make sure it has good drainage to prevent root rot.
Fertilise your string of turtles once every two weeks during the growing season, which is between early spring and late summer. General house plant fertiliser is perfect and will promote lots of shiny healthy foliage with clear, vibrant patterns. Stop fertilising in the autumn, when the plant becomes semi-dormant.
Common Issues With String of Turtles
Root rot can happen when you overwater or leave your plant sitting in water. Wilted leaves and mouldy soil are symptoms of root rot. If you see this, take the string of turtles out of its pot and check the roots. If they are brown, have a bad odour or are disintegrating when you touch them, trim these away. Rinse off the healthy roots if there are any and repot into the fresh new soil. Ensure it has ample drainage and allow the top two inches of soil to dry out in between waterings. Sometimes getting rid of root rot can be tricky - consider propagating healthy parts of your string of turtles - see below in the FAQs section.
Lack of leaves on the top of the plant
Your plant may not be getting enough light in this area! The string of turtles are excellent hanging plants, but this can mean they don’t get enough light on the soil’s surface. Ensure your string of turtles gets lots of bright indirect light that reaches all parts, including the top of the soil.
It may be possible that there’s water sitting on the leaves - try to water the soil without soaking the leaves, or use the bottom water technique to avoid this.
Leggy plant with fewer leaves
Leggy and lanky plants with sporadic leaves are typically due to insufficient light. It’s simply your plant trying to reach for more light! Move your plant to a place where it will get plenty of bright indirect light and trim off affected vines to promote bushier growth. You can also give your string of turtles a little watered-down houseplant fertiliser to encourage more leaf growth on vines.
The most common pest associated with the string of turtles is mealy bugs. You can eradicate these by using an insecticide soap - spray this all over the plant and repeat the treatment even after they have all gone. Gnats can also be a common pest for the string of turtles as they love the moisture in the soil. Water the soil with water-down hydrogen peroxide to kill gnat eggs.
Summarising String of Turtles Plant Care
Thinking about how to care for String of Turtles shouldn’t give you a headache! If you follow these simple tips you’ll have a gorgeous glossy plant that you can show off to all your friends. Just make sure you keep humidity levels high, water once a week during the growing season and give it lots of indirect light that can reach the top of the plant and you should be good to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Prune My String of Turtles?
Pruning your string of turtles should be done quite regularly to prevent legginess and make them look tidy and well-kept. Use sharp clean scissors to remove any dead or damaged growth. If you are clipping off some healthy parts of the plant, you could even consider propagating more plants!
Can I Propagate My String of Turtles?
You absolutely can propagate your string of turtles! There are a few methods for this but the best way is to take a cutting just below a node and remove the bottom leaves near where the cut was made. Place the cutting in a new pot with a moist potting mix and place it in an area with bright indirect light. In a few weeks, new roots should grow and that’s it! As simple as that!