The String of Tears, also known as Ceropegia woodii, is an eye-catching trailing succulent with hanging vines and tear-shaped green leaves. Native to South Africa and Swaziland, this plant thrives in hot, dry areas where it stores water in its plump foliage. The leaves also aid photosynthesis through sunlight exposure.
As a houseplant, the String of Tears makes an excellent choice with its lush, trailing nature. This care guide provides essential tips for growing this succulent indoors. Receiving proper lighting, temperature, water, potting soil and other care allows the plant to flourish.
For light, locate the plant near a bright window without direct sun. Maintain temperatures above 60 degrees. Water only when topsoil feels dry, about once every 1-2 weeks. Use well-draining potting mix. Provide moderate humidity and fertilize during spring/summer growth with diluted fertilizer. Prune off brown tips or vines as needed.
Following these simple guidelines will create ideal growing conditions for a healthy, cascading String of Tears indoors for many years
Optimal Lighting Conditions
The String of Tears prefers bright light without direct sunlight. Place it near an east or west window receiving 4-6 hours of sunlight each day.
Not enough light causes slowed growth, fewer new leaves, and leaf drop-off as the plant stretches for sun.
Too little light makes the String of Tears leggy and sparse-looking. If these symptoms appear, check the planting spot and move it elsewhere if needed to provide the suitable amount of bright, indirect light. The succulent enjoys illumination but direct hot sun will scorch the foliage.
Ideal Temperatures for String of Tears
The String of Tears thrives in average home temperatures of 65-80°F. During its active growth in spring and summer, temperatures toward the cooler end of that range are best. In fall and winter, temperatures closer to 80°F suit it better.
Avoid drafts from doors, vents or windows, as they can harm the leaves. If conditions are cooler, use a pebble tray to boost humidity.
For a pebble tray, place pebbles in a tray and fill it with water, positioning the plant’s pot above the water line. This allows evaporation to increase the humidity. Replenish water levels as needed. At 40-50% humidity, the String of Tears stays healthy.
Monitor temperatures and humidity levels, making adjustments for different seasons. With suitable conditions indoors, this plant will flourish all year round.
Watering Practices for String of Tears
Wait until the top 1 inch of soil dries fully before watering the String of Tears again. Stick a finger in the soil to check the moisture level.
When watering, soak the soil thoroughly until water drips through the drainage holes. Allow excess water to drain away before returning the pot to its spot.
Overwatering will cause leaves to fall off and turn yellow. Wait for the entire potting medium to dry out between waterings. The foliage displays thirst through limpness.
Proper watering involves letting the topsoil dry before thoroughly dousing the pot. Always let excess liquid drain away before watering once more. Overwatering damages succulents easily, so follow this routine to keep your String of Tears healthy and vibrant.
Choosing the Right Soil for String of Tears
For optimal growth, use a cactus or succulent potting mix containing ingredients like peat moss, perlite, pumice and sand. These porous mixes allow for quick drainage.
You can also amend regular potting soil by mixing in 50% perlite to introduce air pockets preventing sogginess.
Every 2-3 years in early spring, replant the String of Tears in fresh soil. Remove it gently from the old pot and loosen any tangled roots before repotting up 2 inches in a new container. Fill halfway with soil and pack down around the sides for stability.
Avoid feeding for a month after repotting to let delicate roots recover. Then resume normal fertilizing. Proper draining soil prevents root issues like rot due to excess moisture.
Humidity for String of Tears
The String of Tears succulent adapts well to average household humidity levels. It prefers a consistent 40-50% humidity level the most. These plants do not demand high humidity like tropical species, though occasional boosts aid growth.
Using a pebble tray raises humidity safely. Fill a tray with pebbles and water, then set the potted plant above without touching water. Evaporation from below envelops it in moisture.
Take care not to mist foliage directly, as droplets can induce fungal disease. Monitor humidity and adjust accordingly to avoid overly wet or dry conditions damaging the succulent. With suitable humidity indoors, your String of Tears plant thrives.
Provide fertilizer to the String of Tears during its active growing period in spring and summer. This nourishes new growth.
Use a balanced cacti/succulent formula at half the recommended strength every 2-4 weeks. Avoid feeding in fall/winter when activity slows.
These water-storing succulents easily burn, so apply fertilizer sparingly. Look for burned tips or margins as a sign of excess nutrients. Flush soil with water if burnt.
Apply fertilizer after watering to draw nutrients into the soil where roots absorb them. Water afterwards to prevent buildup in the soil.
With occasional, diluted feeding during warmer months, the String of Tears thrives. Take care not to overfertilize these sensitive plants.
Regular pruning is key to maintaining a beautiful String of Tears plant. Use sterilized sharp shears or scissors to remove dead, dying, damaged or diseased foliage. Check for yellowed, browned or shriveled leaves and stems afflicted by pests also.
Cut back leggy stems to encourage compact, bushy regrowth from nodes. Avoid removing more than 1/3 of plant material at once.
Pruning stimulates new growth and improves form. Make cuts just above stem joints.
For the best results, prune in early spring before active growth or in late fall once activity stops. Never trim more than necessary.
Proper technique removes unattractive areas and forces vibrant, dense growth. Pruning provides a healthy, tidy string of tears plant when done correctly at the right phase of growth.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
String of Tears plants may experience occasional problems if care needs aren’t met. Here are potential troubles and remedies:
- Browning leaf tips: A sign of too much fertilizer. Reduce feeding and flush soil.
- Yellowed leaves: Too little light or water. Adjust placement or watering routine.
- Drooping/wrinkled leaves: Underwatered. Restore moisture until supple.
- Brown crispy foliage: Overwatered. Change to drier soil and wait for full drying between waterings.
- Mealybugs/scale: Isolate and treat affected areas with insecticidal soap or organic pesticide.
- Mushy stems: Overwatered soil caused rot. Trim away rot, use fast-draining soil in future, and improve watering habits.
- Slow growth: Potential issues include insufficient light, temperature, food or drainage. Evaluate care factors and adjust accordingly.
With identification and addressing underlying causes, common problems stay easily managed for healthy string of tears houseplants.
Common Pests and Treatment
Two common pests that may target String of Tears are:
- Mealybugs: Fluffy white insects that congregate on leaves and stems.
- Spider mites: Tiny pests that create webs and cause stippling damage.
Inspect plants regularly and quarantine any with signs of infestation. Treatment options:
- Wipe pests off by hand using a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.
- Spray leaves, stems and undersides with a plant-safe insecticidal soap or organic pesticide, cleaning thoroughly.
- Repeat after 7 days to target hatching eggs.
Isolation is key to prevent spread. Monitor regularly for pests and intervene right away through removal or approved treatments. Healthy plants with optimum care stress pests less.
Addressing Leaf Discoloration
Discolored leaves on String of Tears typically stem from issues with care:
- Yellow leaves often mean overwatering. Improve drainage and allow longer drying time between waterings.
- Brown crispy leaves suggest underwatering. Water thoroughly when dry.
- Leaf tips turning brown could be from fertilizer burn. Cut back on fertilizer amounts or frequency.
- Leaves browning may be due to too much light. Move the plant to a slightly shadier spot.
Monitor leaf color closely. Addressing the underlying cultural condition behind discoloration usually resolves it:
- Adjust watering amounts or frequency.
- Change fertilizer practices.
- Relocate for optimal light exposure.
With proper identification and correction of care factors causing yellow or brown foliage, the String of Tears bounces back to vibrant green.
Overwatering is the most common cause of String of Tears issues. To prevent this:
- Allow top 1-2 inches of soil to fully dry between waterings. Check by touching soil.
- Use a well-draining potting mix with perlite or pumice to promote airflow.
- Ensure the container has drainage holes so water flows out.
- Never allow the plant to sit in water for prolonged periods.
- Water less frequently during the winter when growth slows.
Pay close attention to water needs and the moisture level of the growing medium. Develop a careful routine of thoroughly watering when dry. Proper watering practices can protect the succulent from leaf drop and root rot from overhydration. Following these tips keeps your String of Tears happy and healthy.
The String of Tears succulent makes a lovely hanging or potted plant when given the proper care. The key aspects include:
- Bright, indirect light
- Moderate temperatures
- Infrequent, thorough watering once soil is dry
- Fast-draining, cactus-specific potting mix
- Pruning to shape and promote new growth
- occasional fertilizing in spring/summer
- Increased humidity when needed
- Identification and resolution of any pest or disorder issues
Paying close attention to watering needs, light exposure, and catching potential problems early leads to long-term success with this trailing succulent. String of Tears plants thrive indoors for years with the right growing conditions. Consult reputable references as needed for tailored advice. With mindfulness, its dangling strings of tear-shaped foliage will continue to glisten healthfully.