Peperomia prostrata is a semi-succulent plant. The string of turtles is a slow-growing perennial plant. It belongs to the Piperaceae family and is native to the Brazilian rainforests.
It is a viny, flowering succulent plant with miniature-looking leaves in the shape of a turtle. It is commonly known as the “string of turtles”. Their leaves are variegated, with multiple color patterns adorning their surface. They make great vivarium plants due to their self-sustaining features.
Peperomia prostrata is an epiphyte in its natural habitat because it attaches itself to trees and other surfaces. When growing them in containers, you can choose to use a trellis to train them to trail upwards or in hanging baskets to allow them to trail downwards.
|Scientific name||Peperomia prostrata.|
|Common name||String of turtles, trailing peperomia.|
|Size||12 inches high, 4 inches wide.|
|Lighting||Bright indirect sunlight.|
|Soil||Moist but also well-drained loamy soil.|
|Temperature||65-75 degrees Fahrenheit (21-25 degrees Celsius).|
“String of Turtles” Care
Even when classified as a semi-succulent plant, the “string of turtles” plant will prefer to grow in a warm and humid environment. The string of turtle plants is native to the tropical rainforest in Brazil, also making them tropical plants. And like all tropical plants, they also love moisture, humidity, and warm environments to grow well.
When caring for this unique plant, you will need to consider its tropical and succulent properties.
Succulent plants in general are capable of withstanding prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. But this particular plant is different. Exposure to direct sunlight can damage the succulent leaves of the Peperomia prostrata plant.
But as a tropical plant, the “string of turtles” plant prefers growing under bright indirect sunlight. And also, growing them in areas with limited sunlight can cause them to stop sprouting new growth.
When looking for an indoor location for your new plants, consider placing them close to the north or east-facing windows. These areas are great for getting both direct and indirect sunlight, which is perfect for plants.
You should also ensure the top of the plant is not shielded away from sunlight. As trailing plants, denying the top of the plant sunlight will cause them to stop producing new growth.
Like succulent plants, the string of turtles requires fast-draining soil that is also capable of retaining moisture. A good potting mix rich in peat, coco coir, and other organic matter should be used.
And as a tropical plant, using a premixed potting mix designed for growing most succulent plants is a bad idea. These mixes are designed to hold very little moisture, which is why they are not suitable for tropical plants.
Like most succulent plants, the turtle plant is prone to overwatering and root rot. Waterlogged soils should be avoided at all costs because they harm your plants more than they help. Ensure your soil is fast-draining and, at the same time, capable of retaining moisture.
The frequency of watering would be determined by the nature of your growing medium. Therefore, water the plant only when the top 2 inches of soil are completely dry.
To prevent overwatering, ensure your growing containers have drainage holes at the bottom. When watering, drench the entire plant in water until it starts pouring out through the drainage holes.
You can feed your turtle plant once or twice per month during the growing season. This will help the plants maintain the color and patterns of their leaves throughout the growing season.
Feed your plant using a well-balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half its strength. You can carry out fertilization when watering the plant. Also, stop feeding the plant during the fall and winter seasons.
Temperature And Humidity
As a tropical plant, the string of turtle plants would prefer a warm and humid environment for healthy growth. You should avoid growing them in areas where they would be exposed to freezing temperatures.
You should consider growing your “string of turtles” plant in areas with a temperature range of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
As for humidity, maintain an average humidity level of 60%. And during the drier months, consider growing your turtle plant close to a humidifier.
One advantage of pruning viny plants is that it helps prevent your plant from developing tagged and leggy vines.
Pruning of your “string of turtles” plant can be done using a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears. Cut off all dead, infected, and leggy vines to give your plant a nice, healthy look. Also, pruning can be used to control the size of your trailing plants and also encourage new growth.
Propagating the “string of turtles” plant is done conveniently using the stem or leaf cutting method. This method of propagating the turtle plant can be carried out at any time of the year with minimal effort.
Start by taking a stem cutting right below a node from a mature plant using a sharp pair of disinfected scissors. Ensure the cutting is at least 3 inches long and has a few leaves on it.
Remove all the leaves at the bottom of the cutting close to the node, while leaving a few at the top.
Then prepare your growing medium. Use a potting mix that’s moist and also well-draining. Plant the cutting into the soil, ensuring the base node is completely covered. You can choose to dip the plant in growth hormone before planting, but that’s completely optional.
Place the plant in a well-lit location. Water the plant regularly while ensuring the soil is always kept moist but not soggy.
After a few weeks, gently try to pull the plant out of its pot. If you experience any bit of resistance, then your plant has already established its roots.
Common Health Problems/Pests and Diseases
Whiteflies, mealybugs, and spider mites are common houseplant pests that can attack your plant. You can handle this by using insecticidal soaps to gently spray your plants’ leaves. Also, you can use neem oil mixed with water to wash the tops of the leaves, as this is where most of these pests reside.
One of the most common health problems affecting the “string of turtles” plant is root rot. This is mostly caused by either overwatering or as a result of a fungal infection.
No. The “string of turtles” plant is not toxic if ingested by pets such as cats and dogs.
Yes. A “String of turtles” plant can be grown in water. Following the listed steps above, you can substitute the potting mix with a glass of water. Just ensure you change the water regularly to ensure freshness. Once you see that it has developed solid roots, you can replant it in the soil.
It is considered a semi-succulent plant as it stores moisture in its roots. They tend to exhibit both tropical and succulent characteristics, necessitating special care.
Not really. “String of turtles” is considered a slow-growing plant that takes time to reach maturity. They grow faster when provided with the necessary growing conditions.
They won’t survive in areas with high temperatures. Their leaves would start to whither and stop pushing out new growth.