Last Updated on March 16, 2021 by Sophie
The String of Tears is also known as String of Lemons or String of Watermelons and is known scientifically as the Curio herreaeus. Formerly, the vining succulent was known as Senecio herreaeus, while other nicknames for the String of Tears include Gooseberry Senecio thanks to its teardrop-shaped leaves. Here’s a complete String of Tears care guide, including propagation tips, what soil to use, and how to water this juicy succulent plant.
Please note that the String of Tears should not be confused with the String of Pearls. Though the plants are incredibly similar in appearance (with one having round, pearl like leaves, whereas the other has more oval-shaped leaves), they are not the same plant, despite the prevalence of conflating the names that you’ll often seen on the internet. The plant is also closely related to the String of Bananas plant, though is not exactly the same.
The plant originates from Namibia in South Africa and is part of the Asteraceae family. In Latin, the word ‘Senecio’ means ‘Old Man’ and is referring to the fact that the flowers are kind of hairy when the plant blooms (which is not very common in a home indoor environment).
If the plant does bloom, you’ll see trumpet shaped flowers that smell of cinnamon. String of Tears is yet another example of a vining succulent, though is significantly harder to care for than something such as the String of Turtles.
String of Tears Care Guide
Watering your String of Watermelons
One of the biggest requirements that the String of Tears has a very specific watering schedule. After all, if the plant receives too much water, then the String of Tears may suffer from root rot, from which there is often no chance of recovery.
If the plant is underwatered, and the pearls will shrivel and the plant will likely not survive. Getting the right balance for watering your Curio herreaeus can be tricky, but once you do, the plant is gorgeous and oh-so-worth-it.
The number one sign of overwatering the string of tears is that the plant leaves start to turn to mush or turn a shade of yellow/ brown and look sickly. Another, often earlier sign, is that the raindrop shaped leaves will become too ‘full’ looking, with the window section of the leaf bulging, and the leaves will readily drop off the plant.
Like the rest of my succulent plants, I find that the best method for watering this Curio plant is the soak and leave. What this means is that I will leave the plant to dry out entirely between waterings before watering it once more. This significantly reduces the chance of root or leaf rot.
Best soil conditions for the Gooseberry Senecio
As a succulent plant with juicy leaves, which retain plenty of water between waterings, much like with many other succulent plants, a well draining substrate for the is an absolute must. I personally prefer a mix of organic soil with sand and grit.
If you’re not sure on the exact quantities (though there’s no exact formula and different mixtures work for different home environments), then it’s worth noting that most garden centres selling indoor houseplants will sell a soil mix which is particularly created for succulents and cacti. If you want to save money, then you can buy a more organic mix and add grit and sand in yourself.
When it comes to repotting the Curio herreaeus, you’ll find that you don’t need to change up pot sizes on a very regular basis. This is because, much like other similar vining succulents, the root system is very shallow and so you’ll want to plant your trailing vine in a shallow container.
If in doubt, it is preferable to have a smaller pot as opposed to a larger one (which should be well-draining either way- with drainage holes to the base of the pot) in order to prevent the soil becoming waterlogged, and thus allowing the possibility of your plant developing root rot (from which, again, there is very little chance of recovery).
Best light conditions for the Senecio herreaeus
Though some succulent plants (specifically Sansevieria plants) can grow and even thrive in lower light conditions, the String of Tears is not a plant which wants to be in too little sunlight. For the best possible chance of survival, you’ll want to place your succulent on a bright and sunny windowsill. With this being said, in the summer months, you’ll want to avoid a brightly lit south facing window as this can lead the plant to getting sunburnt.
How to propagate the String of Tears
As with many other succulent plants, there are actually a number of ways in which you can easily propagate your String of Tears plant. While some are easier than others, it’s also worth noting that some methods are much faster than others.
Like with any indoor house plant, the best time to propagate your String of Gooseberries is during the spring or early summer (i.e. the growing season) when the roots will root the fastest and the mother plant has the quickest chance of recovery post cuttings. This way, you’ll also be giving your new plants the best possible chance of survival.
The easiest way to propagate your Curio herreaeus is to simply take a cutting around three to four inches long. Lay this atop of some damp soil (though the substrate should not be too moist). Keep the cuttings moist during this period by spritzing the soil every few days. Within a few weeks, the cutting should start to take root and form a brand new plant.
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