Are you looking for a unique miniature plant happy enough with low-maintenance? Let us introduce the String of turtles botanically known as Peperomia prostrata. These turtle-like leaves are small, dark-green and round succulents growing on long thin vining stems. Moreover, they have prominent veins that are light-green, purple, or brown when juvenile and get silvery-white on maturity.
This slow-growing miniature attains its maximum length of about 2 feet in the long duration of 3 to 5 years. Perfect for indoor plantation, it makes nice hanging baskets and table pots. Moreover, it grows equally well outdoors in a moderate climate. Mark my words, this peep would surely be a nice part of your interior and plant collection. Want to know more? We are sharing a summarized guide about the care and propagation of the Brazilian native, the String of turtles Plant.
String of turtles Classification
Species: P. prostrata.
- String of turtles succulent.
- Peperomia turtle.
- Magic Marmer.
- Peperomia prostrata turtles.
String of turtles Plant Features
This is a tropical annual and perennial by nature.
- The plant body mainly comprises of its reddish dangling stems. The lazy-grower can get about 2 feet in a few years. While the width depends upon the growing space available or the width of the pot.
- Mature leaves are about an inch or 2 in size. These alternate growers look similar to tiny turtles climbing upon the thin stems.
- Tiny, non-showy, and pale to white flowers grow in the warm season on long stalk-like inflorescences. However, you will rarely see a String of turtles Flower, especially in the indoor plantation.
If you are lucky enough to see some, please don’t forget to share some clicks with us.
Although they are mildly toxic, still you need to be careful. It is never healthy to allow the unattended contact of kids and pets with your houseplants. In case of emergency, please don’t avoid taking emergency medical assistance.
Variegated String of turtles
This variegated form is quite rare. You may notice tiny patches of white variegation on the leaves. Howbeit, the main features including size, growth rate, and toxicity are quite similar to the original plant.
The only difference is that the variegated one needs brighter indirect light. Besides, all the other requirements and growth tactics are the same as the original String of turtles plant.
String of turtles Care
‘How to grow the Turtle-leaf Plant’? If you are thinking about the care of this climber, this one is an easy peep. Keep reading to get the details.
The plant comes from the rainforests of South-America, looking forward to staying in moist soil conditions. However, wet and waterlogged soils are what it can not tolerate at all. A longer duration of soggy soil can cause different issues like fungus and root rot.
Water the soil sparingly for about two minutes and let it get dry before you water again. The beginners can check the soil by touching it. Never re-water the soil having moisture in it.
As an estimate, you can water about once or twice a week in summer. On the other hand, the plant will need longer breaks on colder days. Wait for about two to three weeks to let the soil get dry before you water again. To be precise, the bottom-up watering strategy is ideal to avoid plant diseases.
The medium indirect sun is ideal for this vine. Longer exposure to direct sun can scorch out the delicate turtles. So, make sure the plant is not staying in direct sun. Howbeit, it would not mind an hour or two of milder exposure. But the hours should be suitable like the early morning or the late afternoon.
Leggy vines with prominent distances between the leaves are a sign of inadequate sun. Change the place to brighter light for maintaining the health of your plant baby.
Your comfortable room temperature keeps this peep comfortable as well. Being specific, a temperature range between 16 to 24 °C is best suitable for your Peperomia. Be careful about their poor tolerance of cold and frost. Additionally, never let them stand outside in the cold after the temperature falls below 10 °C. Thus, bringing them indoors before in fall is an important part of the String of turtles plant care.
The plant needs well-draining soil providing plenty of aeration to the roots. You can add peat-moss or perlite in your growing mixture/soil to enhance its draining ability. Slightly acidic to neutral soil ranging between PH 5 to 7 is ideal.
The dwellers of tropical rainforests love to be in higher humidity. The love for the moisture is slightly higher in your String of turtles than the other Peperomias. So, it would love mild misting every once in a while especially on dry days. However, just make sure the plant stands at a well-aerated place. Also, the leaves should not stay wet for long hours to avoid leaf-rot.
You can also use a water-gravel tray. Using a room-humidifier or grouping the plants are other nice options to maintain humidity.
Use a general houseplant fertilizer once a month in spring and summer. It is always better to use mild concentration. Also, using half of the stated dose is a proven practice. Moreover, don’t forget to water the soil especially before using a ready-to-pour fertilizer. This is necessary to avoid root burn.
Just like over-watering, over-fertilizing too can kill the plant. The leaves of an over-fertilized plant will get yellow and fall eventually. The majority of the plants decrease their growth and nutritional requirements in the colder season. So, stop adding the fertilizers after the fall till it gets pleasant in the upcoming spring.
Is your turtle vine getting bushy? Just cut some of the stems of their growing ends. This will give a nicer shape to your plant. Besides, cut the unhealthy and damaged leaves to reduce the burden on the plant body.
This vine is a naturally well-groomed peep. The stems cascade down naturally in different directions. However, regular pruning helps to enhance the shape and get rid of the unhealthy foliage. Just avoid cutting a larger number of leaves. The reason being, a vigorous pruning can shock the plant and destroy its health.
Another method to control the over-growing stems is to pinch them. This will stop them to get a shaggy look. Using a sterilized knife is better to avoid the risks of infection.
Pot and Repotting Requirements
The small rooting system of this lilliputian prefers shallow pots. So, a small pot with drainage holes at the base is ideal for this vine. Moreover, these slow growers don’t need frequent repotting unless the pot looks prominently small for the plant.
You can repot once in a year or two. Howbeit, changing the upper soil every year is a nice practice. March and spring is the ideal time to repot or to refresh the soil.
If you are pruning the roots while repotting, use the same or just one size bigger pot. Excess space around the roots can welcome chances for water-clogging or pest attacks.
String of turtles Propagation
Just like other members of the genus, the String of turtles succulent too is an easy-to-propagate plant. Popular methods are as under;
- Stem tip-cuttings.
For best results, try propagating on some fine mid-summer morning. The ideal time stays until the middle of the summer.
Propagation by Stem-cuttings:
- Take a sterilized knife and cut a few stem-cuttings from the upper ends. Each cutting should be around 5 to 7 inches long. Remove the leaves from the upper side sparing the lower ones.
- Wait for about 2 to 3 days and let the cuttings callous out.
- Now, put a suitable growing mixture or soil in the pot and moisten it. Plant the cuttings about 3 inches deeper and firmly press the soil.
- Let the planted cuttings stay in indirect sun. Moreover, keep the soil moist and spray water right after the upper soil gets about 80% dry.
- After about 30 to 50 days, you will finally see baby leaves popping out from the cuttings.
- You can also use a jar of water instead of soil. Changing the water every week is recommended to avoid contamination. After the development of the rooting system in three months, you can plant the baby plantlets into the soil. They can even stay in the water and you will love your String of turtles Plant in water.
Propagation by Leaf-cuttings:
It would be great to say that these plants love to grow. Even the leaves snipped off into pieces can grow to form new Prostrata plants.
- Take a few healthy leaves and cut them into pieces with the help of a sterilized knife.
- After letting them form the callous for a few days, just place them on the moist growing mixture.
- Keep the soil moist and water mildly when the soil has about 30% moisture left. You can even cover the pot with a plastic cover to maintain the humidity.
- Wait for a month and you will see baby roots growing downward while the baby shoot protruding upward.
String of turtles Plant Problems
Generally, your String of turtles vine is a resilient plant. However, it is always better to give a close and thorough check to the plant every week or at least twice a month. This will help to see and control any issue in its early stages.
The common possible problems are stated below.
As discussed above, over-watering can kill the plant by causing root rot. If you see the leaves turning yellow, you need to check the soil and your watering routine. Soggy soil and mushy roots will confirm the beginning of this issue.
Stop watering until the soil dries around the plant. Take out the plant to check for the roots. Cut the damaged roots and plant the remaining plant in fresh soil. Avoid watering for the next 2 weeks to get the roots completely settle in the new dry soil.
If you unluckily find fuzzy white stuff on the foliage, your plant is under the attack of mealy bugs. The stem or lower sides of leaves are the most vulnerable parts. Over-watering and over-fertilizing are the main culprits.
You need to combat these nasty pests before they spread and eat up the plant. Besides, they can affect any neighbouring plants as well.
Move this plant away from the healthy plants as soon as possible. You can get a suitable pesticide spray from the market. Also, a solution of isopropyl alcohol and water in the ratio 1:10 is helpful for a thorough spray.
Lack of moisture is the main reason for this attack. The small spiders make white webs, suck the sap, and make the plant look white and dusty. Undersides and joints of leaves are the places these mites use for hiding and making their homes. If left untreated, these fast-spreaders can even kill the plant.
Wiping off the webs and washing the foliage with insecticidal soap is the main solution. Moreover, maintaining appropriate moisture and spraying Neem Oil keeps the mites at a bay.
These are common pests for domestic plants. The infected plant will show tiny white bugs flying around when you move the leaves. The undersides of the foliage are the ideal place for these nasty creatures to hide their eggs. So, always check the undersides of leaves to inspect the plant.
The flies suck the sap of the leaves, making them get yellow and fall off eventually. Use organic insecticidal soap or spray to suppress the eggs and the nymphs. Besides, spraying Neem Oil will keep the plant safe from future attacks.
For the initial stage of pet attacks, washing the plant under strong water pressure helps a lot. While taking expert help and using commercially prepared sprays is better, especially for the advanced stages. Moreover, never forget to immediately separate the affected plant to save the healthy ones. Moreover, the water used for cleaning the plant should drain out properly without reaching the healthy soil.
The string of turtles is a Brazilian native perennial with leaves looking like small turtles. These small succulent leaves grow on long delicate stems, have green bases with prominent veins. These veins are brown or purple in the juvenile leaves and get silvery-white on maturity.
The miniature can hardly grow around 2 to 3 feet. This makes it look beautiful in hanging baskets, table pots, and terrariums. This low-maintenance plant needs indirect light and watering right after the soil gets dry. While enjoying this unique beauty, don’t ignore the mild toxicity. Make sure you never leave kids and pets unattended to mingle with your String of turtles Plant.