String of Turtles might be the cutest plant in existence. I mean, look at those little turtle shells! It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you have this plant to stare at – it always puts a smile on my face when I stop and look at it’s small, round foliage. Above is what my plant looked like when I got it. it was in a wee 2″ pot and have we ever been on a journey.
From the little tiny pot, I transferred it into this wall hanging pot. And then because of a family emergency, I went away and it missed a watering. As it was freshly transplanted, the roots hadn’t gone deep and several strands dried and broke off. Because it was such a small plant, upon my arrival back home I set out to propagate those pieces. It worked! I eventually planted those pieces back into the main plant and now I have a nice, full pot. I do not recommend taking this route however as String of Turtles have delicate and fine roots which break easily. If you can leave your plant alone, in the nursery pot it came in, all the better.
String of turtles plant propagates best in humid conditions. It is native to Brazil and so it does appreciate moisture. I kept my cuttings under glass and they rooted well but it did take a long time before I felt I could transplant them. Now, my plant lives in an IKEA Greenhouse but it is not required if you don’t have one. If you do find your plant struggling, maybe try keeping it in your bathroom where it will benefit from shower humidity in the air.
You can see my plant in it’s greenhouse home (center) above. It has grown IMMENSLY since I moved it in there. The leaves are little right now, but 75 % of the plant growth shown here is new so, I hope I have some plumper turtles as they grow. It is also flowering those weird rat-tail like peperomia flowers. See more photos of the current day plant below.
General String of Turtles Care Tips
Light: Generally, peperomia plants love a lot of light and can even handle some direct sun if the heat isn’t too scorching. Right now, my String of Turtles plant is under artificial light but it also loved the windowsill of my south facing window.
Water: String of Turtles is a semi succulent plant with quite a delicate root system and so it is much better to go easy on the water than to have a heavy hand. Still, don’t let it sit dry for too long. Peperomias can signal when they are thirsty and by touching the leaves often, you will begin to note when they feel less plump. This is when it’s good to provide a nice, drink. I usually water mine approximately every 10 -14 days. It is advisable to let it dry out completely between watering.
Soil: I treat this plant much like a succulent in that it really needs a well draining soil mix. A sandy cactus soil will work well or amend a general potting mix by adding in some perlite for good drainage – about 3 parts soil to 1 part perlite will do well to help the roots breathe and prevent rot.
Humidity: String of Turtles does okay in standard household humidity but prefers elevated levels, especially during propagation. My plant was happy on our bathroom windowsill and it is even happier still in the greenhouse cabinet which has humidity levels of approx 60-75%
Fertilizer: This plant isn’t a huge feeder so an organic balanced fertilizer, diluted to half strength will be enough. Fertilize once a month when you see the plant actively growing.
Pruning and propagation: This plant will not require pruning unless you wish to remove damaged or dying growth. The best way to propagate, in my opinion, is to lay a strand of plant on top of a small terracotta pot filled with damp cactus soil. Keep it humid with a glass cloche or plastic baggie and leave it be. String of Turtles also propagates super well in a sphagnum moss box, however, removing the plant and transferring to soil is very difficult due to the tiny nature of the roots. You can see one such piece below. It’s so happy it’s flowering and growing like crazy. But I can’t get it off the moss.
Pests: I have not had any pest problems on this plant however, if you get one, it would likely be a mealy bug.
Toxicity: Peperomias are non-toxic but as with any plant, don’t let pets or children chew on them. One never knows when there might be a reaction.
String of Turtles is quite sought after and rightly so. It’s so cute! You might not find it at a big box store, but it’s out there and it’s not super expensive, just ask around and you should be able to get your hands on it. I highly recommend this variety of Peperomia and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.