Mar 17 , 2019
One of my favourite plants, owing to those gorgeous turtle print leaves, is the Peperomia prostrata or String of Turtles. I wish I could capture it in a photo (I’ve tried and failed) - the leaves remind me of marbles, as the print is often under a semi clear gel-like layer.
These trailing plants tend to stay on the small side, making them a great desktop plant. Their leaves are very delicate and can fall off quite easily - I have learned this the hard way when relocating the pot, so they are best left in a spot where they won't easily be bumped. With a shallow root system, they can go years without being repotted, and are best potted in a small pot with ample drainage where they'll happily live even slightly pot-bound.
Care for these cuties is very similar to other string/chain of plants (e.g. string of pearls, chain of hearts etc), so the below care tips can be applied to similar plants:
Light: Medium indirect light including light that hits the top of the soil, as new growth often starts at the top. Take this into consideration for where you place the plant - the top shelf, whilst great for a trailing plant effect, may be better used for a different plant, depending on the direction of light that the spot receives. Try one shelf down, or on a window sill.
Water: Sparingly! They don’t like too much water; those turtles can turn into mushy peas very easily. Give it the equivalent of 1/6 or 1/5th of the pot’s volume in water, and only when the soil is dry. For my plant, this means water once every two to three weeks. I water from the top as the pot is proportionately tall compared to its short roots, but bottom watering works for these plants too, especially if you have a short pot. To do this, place the pot in a vessel and fill with water until it’s halfway up the side of the pot. Leave it for ten minutes and then remove the pot and allow to drain.
Flowers: Like other Peperomias, these guys grow flowers year round which look like little spikes. Cut them off or leave them on depending on your aesthetic preference (I chop them off monthly).
Growing style: Growth is fairly slow, particularly when they’re babies. To encourage a bushier plant, take a string and place it on top of the soil, ensuring the nodes (where the leaf grows from the stem) are in contact with soil. A bobby pin can help hold it in place. The nodes will eventually grow roots, and then new vines. Be patient with these plants. They tend to stay quite small.
Propagation: Propagate via stem cutting. Snip off a piece and place the cut end in water, sphagnum moss or soil
Pests: So far mine has been very pest resistant, but I've heard that mealybugs don't mind getting cozy amongst their leaves. To treat mealies, spray the leaves with isopropyl alcohol diluted in water (1:10 ratio of alcohol to water)