Plant Journal: String of Turtles
Updated: Aug 25
For my birthday this year, I got myself two interesting plants. One of them is the String of Hearts and the other one is the String of Turtles.
This plant journal is all about my String of Turtles.
Peperomia prostrata or string of turtles are small, trailing/cascading plants considered as a semi-succulent. It has button-shaped leaves with reticulated darker green patterns which resembles a 'turtle shell'. Hence the name string of turtles. It has green 'spikes' or inflorescence as its flowers (not really interesting, to be honest). These spikes doesn't resemble a flower nor does it add color. It turns brown and then wilts off.
As a semi-succulent, it does not tolerate soggy soil or waterlogging.
On this blog, I would share some growing tips, propagation and problems I have encountered with them and how I dealt with the problem and also, growth updates.
Well-drained soil. When my plant arrived, I repotted using a potting mix exclusively for succulents, mixed with vermiculite for extra drainage and aeration. This is very important for string of turtles because I overwatered mine and it was devastating. Overwatering, I think and same as any succulent (in this case, 'succulent-ish'), is the most common problem of this peperomia. This will be discussed in detail on the Problems section. Also, make sure your pot has drainage holes.
Watering. This works hand in hand with the first tip. This plant wants to be watered less frequent and I learned it the hard way. I have only watered it twice in 17 days and it is soaked not overhead (same as all my succies), so I guess it can last longer than that without water. I will try and base my watering on the amount of sun and how fluff the leaves are. Since I wrote this blog in July, I have watered my plants 3/month and it is actually thriving. Summers in Ireland are most of the time cloudy with temperatures less than 23C. I based the frequency of my watering on the amount of sun and temperature.
Light. After repotting my plant, I placed it on my window sill which can be a bit too bright and hot in the morning specially in summer. I noticed that the flower spikes were drying out and wilting so I moved it in. I will update this blog with pictures. I moved the SOT back to the windowsill because I now have an electric fan for my succulents to help prevent root rot and improve ventilation. Also, it have been gloomy recently since fall is coming in soon.
I know some people are saying to feed plants, I haven't fertilized my succies, I just put them where there's light and I get nice colors from them. I would do the same with my string of turtles and see how the patterns and colors go. Eventually, maybe if I start to lose the colors and patterns, I might consider feeding them with fertilizers. Otherwise, I won't use it. I will update the Problems section of this blog of any problems I have encountered with this plant and if ever i used plant food to fix them.
I have been using succulent fertilisers recently and I think it helped my plants a lit specially my SOT. I mean just look at the recent picture I took today.
Picture taken 25/08/2020
This section is still empty because I haven't propagated my plant but it will be updated once I have. Stay Tuned.
P.S. The pictures below are my cutting prospects but I am waiting for them to recover first from the overwatering.
This shoots have grown but I am letting it grow first.
Overwatering. Probably the most common problem caused by the owner and I am guilty of doing this to my succulents. It is hard when you are growing vegetables and tropical plants along with succulents because you feel like you haven't watered your succies because the other plants are watered 3x weekly. But yeah, I need to restrain my self and assess the soil and leaves first before watering.
As mentioned in the previous sections, I will show you how my plant looked the first time I got it compared to the picture two weeks after staying in the hot window sill and getting too much water.
The picture above was taken after repotting the plant when it arrived. As you can see, there are still a lot of flower spikes and the patterns on the shoots are very pronounced even if there are some mature, bigger leaves that are losing theirs. According to some resources, mature leaves would lose their patterns, eventually.
This was taken after 2 weeks of staying in the window sill and had water twice. The flower spikes wilted and some of the small stems rot. You can also notice some of the mature leaves turning translucent and squishy which, based on my experience, means they have been overwatered. I am happy tho that the baby shoots are still there.
I will try and water this plant every 3 weeks and move it in, away from intense heat.
2. Pests and Disease. I haven't encountered this and according to resources it is not common but once I did, this section will be updated.
I would update this blog in 3 months and see how that watering schedule affected the plant. Also, hopefully I could put more on the Propagation section (fingers crossed).
If you have comments, suggestions, recommendations or if you want to share your plant stories, please feel free to message me or write down below. I would love to hear from you.