The Peperomia Prostrata (String of Turtles) is a succulent plant that is native to the rainforests of South America.
Its common name comes from how it grows in long strings from its mother plant, which can also be propagated by cutting or tearing off one string and planting it in moist soil.
Here you’ll find everything you need to know about caring for your String of Turtle plants, including proper watering, sunlight requirements, soil type needs, and more.
How To Care for String of Turtles (Peperomia Prostrata)
String of Turtles care starts with the first and most important step: Light.
A String of Turtles needs plenty of light to grow and thrive. They are semi-tropical plants, so they need as much indirect light as possible without burning up or getting too cold in the winter months.
The String of Turtles (Peperomia Prostrata) succulent plant needs indirect sunlight. One or two hours of direct morning sun is enough.
The Peperomia Prostrata prefer warm environments with bright indirect light year-round. But are more sensitive to low light conditions than other succulents due to their trailing stems – which means they should always spend time outside if possible.
String of Turtles are happiest with morning sun and afternoon shade but can be adjusted to other hours based on the season.
If you want a String of Turtles plant indoors, keep it in front of an east-facing window for eight hours a day or relocate it outside during the summer months.
If there is not enough natural sunlight available at the desired time (during winter months), try adding a grow light around 12 inches away from the plants three times per week.
This may help maintain healthy growth until outdoor conditions improve again later in the year when more direct sunlight becomes possible.
String of Turtles will need to be watered about once a week or when the soil is dry.
Peperomia Prostrata plants are drought-tolerant plants. They can go several weeks without water if necessary and still be okay as long as you keep them in their original potting mix (and not planted into a garden).
Water your String of Turtles succulent plant by pouring water over its leaves rather than saturating the soil because this peperomia plant does not like wet feet.
They can be watered with a spray bottle and the plant tray, or you may choose to water from the top of the soil. It’s important not to overwater String of Turtles. They have shallow root systems sensitive to overwatering.
An excellent way to tell if a succulent is getting enough water or not is to check for signs of wilting.
Some String of Turtles will have a little bit more droop than others due to their specific soil and pot size.
Still, if they are continually wilty, then it may be time to water them more frequently.
The String of Turtles is a succulent plant. The soil should have good drainage and be well-draining so that the roots are never soggy.
The ideal soil should be a mixture of two parts potting mix, one part sand, and one part perlite.
If you want to add more drainage or if the peat moss in your potting mix is too wet, consider adding some coarse horticultural charcoal as well.
The potting soil should be kept damp but not wet. If the potting mix never feels moist to a fingertip or constantly drenched in water and stays that way for several days without drying out, you need more drainage.
If your peat moss still seems too wet even when dried out with the help of some coarse horticultural charcoal, add a handful of perlite to lighten up the mixture.
Temperature and Humidity
The String of Turtles succulent plant does not tolerate cold temperatures well, so it can be grown year-round in warm climates.
It prefers a temperature range between 61 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 30 Celsius) with an optimal temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius).
The humidity level should stay at about 40% or higher for optimum growth. It is best to place your Peperomia Prostrata near a window.
They will get plenty of sunlight during the day but not be exposed to any drafts from windows or doors that may cause them harm.
This succulent can be grown indoors or outdoors with little to no issues.
In nature, this peperomia has little access to nutrients because its environment makes them inaccessible.
Therefore, it’s best not to fertilize your String of Turtles too much. To prevent them from becoming leggy with long internodes between leaves (this happens when there isn’t enough magnesium).
If you choose to give them some fertilizer, use one high in nitrogen rather than phosphorus. The latter is more likely to cause problems for these spindly plants.
To fertilize your String of Turtles:
- Use a diluted liquid fertilizer and feed about every two weeks during the growing season (March through September).
- Dilute it at half strength for first-time fertilizing or if you are not sure how much to use.
- Gradually increase application rates until the plant reaches maturity, were then feeding once a month might suffice.
Use a balanced slow-release granular fertilizer such as 20:20:20 on a mature String of Turtles in containers with drainage holes drilled near the bottom.
This allows excess water to drain out rather than sit beneath them and rot their roots. You can also sprinkle some ashes around the base of the potted String of Turtles to help provide nutrients.
This succulent plant prefers well-draining soil.
It may be best to use a pot with drainage holes in the bottom, or you can pour water slowly over the top and let it drain through from there.
Ensure the root ball does not sit in any standing water for long periods, so they don’t rot.
The String of Turtle’s leaves will droop when they are underwater for too long, but do not worry if this happens as their roots should still be dry on top – try to keep them out of prolonged contact with moisture.
To help prevent excess watering due to rainfall or faucet spray, place pebbles at the base of your pots until only about half of the pot shows above ground.
This will act as a drainage system and prevent water from seeping into your soil when it rains!
Peperomia Prostrata plants require a new pot every year or two. After that point, the roots will become too crowded to provide adequate nutrition for the leaves and be stunted in their growth.
When you want to repot your stringy turtle, take it out from its old pot and remove any rotted foliage before replanting it into fresh soil. It is better to wait until spring when temperatures are milder than during the winter months.
Peperomia Prostrata prefers warmer conditions such as those found indoors during this time of year rather than outdoors.
There may be fluctuations between hot days and cold nights, which can cause root rot if they stay wet too long.
The String of Turtles plant is a low-maintenance succulent that doesn’t require much pruning. A String of Turtles can be left to grow on its own or cut back after it flowers.
When the String of Turtles plant has flowered, trim off any rosettes that are browning or dying and let new shoots grow up from those points in between existing Peperomia Prostrata plants.
It would help if you pruned when you notice a decline in vigor due to an excess of energy being used for flowering, which results in slow growth on the lower rosette’s leaves.
Pruning does not need to happen every year with this succulent. Still, it is usually best done annually as a preventative measure.
It will also help promote additional branching on your String of Turtles plants at their top nodes (tips).
Pests and Diseases
The String of Turtles is generally a very easy plant to grow with few diseases or pests that can damage it.
The most common pest and disease the string of turtles will come across is aphids, which can be easily controlled using insecticidal soap in your garden.
A common disease that the Peperomia Prostrata succulent plant is prone to coming across is Powdery Mildew.
This fungus can be easily identified with its powdery white coating on the leaves and stems of your string of turtles.
In this case, you should remove infected leaves from the plant as soon as possible, followed by spraying diluted milk onto all other foliage to keep it healthy.
String of Turtles care starts with identifying any potential signs for infection or pest infestation.
These can lead to an unhealthy plant that will require more resources to maintain its health than one that has been cared for correctly from the beginning.
How To Propagate String of Turtles (Peperomia Prostrata)
Propagating String of Turtles (Peperomia Prostrata) is a relatively painless process.
It will allow you to increase your succulent plants without buying more and potting them up individually.
The first step in the propagation process for Peperomia Prostrata, or String of Turtles as they are often called, is by creating cuttings from an existing plant.
Leaf and Stem Cutting
There are two types of Peperomia Prostrata cuttings you can create: leaf cutting and stem cutting. The process for both is relatively similar, so that I will cover them in tandem.
To propagate a String of Turtles succulent plant by way of stem or leaf cuttings.
First, take your sharpest knife and sterilize it using alcohol or boiling water. This will prevent any mold from forming on the roots following planting.
Next, find an area with enough sunlight with at least ten inches between larger plants. This will provide ample space for new growth to grow before being shaded out by more mature plants if they happen to be nearby.
With enough sun exposure mapped out, slice off a portion of the String Of Turtles plant that will be at least one inch long.
The upper side of the cutting should have leaves and stem, while the underside is either just root or only a tiny bit of string to help with stability when planting it in soil.
Next, carefully remove any dirt from around the area you want to cut to not introduce bacteria into your newly created Peperomia Prostrata leaf/stem cuttings.
After removing all dirt particles:
- Use sterilized scissors or a knife (depending on which method was used) to slice off stringy roots.
- Ensure there are no other plants nearby for these new cuttings if they’re going to grow away from their parent specimen.
- Place them onto moist paper towel-lined pans until they are ready to be potted.
Now, we’ll go over repotting String of Turtles for propagating purposes. To do that, fill your container with soil and place the Peperomia Prostrata cutting in it.
It has to be at a depth where their roots will not contact the soil surface but can still receive water from above.
Next, cover them up by adding more potting mix until they’re about three-quarters covered or completely buried, depending on how large your plant is.
This encourages new root growth and helps prevent wilted leaves caused by lack of light exposure.
Finally, water the soil until it’s completely moist and place them in an area where they’ll get plenty of sunlight.
Seeds can also propagate String of Turtles plants.
String of Turtles seeds in the wild generally has a low germination rate, especially if they’re older than two years old.
Cuttings can also be used to propagate this succulent plant. To successfully grow string turtles from seed:
- Sow the seeds in a sterile potting mixture.
- Mix equal parts peat moss, sand, and perlite or vermiculite until it is moistened slightly with water.
- Fill a pot with this soil mix to within an inch of the top rim; plant each seed about one inch apart from other seeds. Cover loosely with more soil so that they are not disturbed when watered later on
- Place pots in a warm area away from direct sunlight but still get plenty of light.
- Keep the soil moist but never sopping wet.
- Water sparingly to avoid overwatering and wait for seeds to germinate. The best way is by not watering until you see new growth coming up from the soil surface or roots emerging on top of it. This can take as long as one month. If seedlings have not emerged after two months, they’re probably dead already.
Propagating a Peperomia Prostrata plant from seed is easy, but the seedlings take a long time to grow.
Toxicity is not an issue for String of Turtles (Peperomia Prostrata) plants. The plant is safe to handle and touch without gloves or worry about getting the sap on your skin.
Peperomia Prostrata is not a poisonous plant. They do not contain chemicals that can harm humans in their sap.
String of Turtles (Peperomia Prostrata) succulent leaves have been used as a remedy for skin irritation, among other things such as stomach problems but only in external use, so make sure you don’t eat it!
String of Turtles are a great plant to start with and can be very rewarding.
They are small and low maintenance, which makes them perfect for novice gardeners.
String of Turtles can be propagated easily by dividing the plant or taking cuttings from a healthy mother String of Turtles plant.
This succulent is happy growing in bright light with moderate water levels.
They look great, don’t require much work, and generally stay happy for years.