String of Dolphins

OFFICIAL NAME

Curio x peregrinus (FKA Senecio)

ALSO KNOWN AS

Dolphin Necklace, Dolphin Plant, Flying Dolphins

ORIGINS & CLIMATE

Southwest Africa | Subtropical

ABOUT THE
PLANT

A cutie for sure! Named for the adorable little leaves that look like dolphins jumping out of the water! These gorgeous cascading stems are perfect for a high shelf or a hanging planter.

HOW MANY GREEN THUMBS?

moderate, bright indirect, direct, drought tolerant, great lengths, cascading, shelf, hanging, cactus or succulent, subtropical, plump, compact

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String of Dolphins

The basics

Water Needs

Water thoroughly when soil is about 50% to entirely dry. Avoid overwatering at all costs. Watering may be even less frequent during winter months or in less light.

Water

Preferred Light

Primarily bright, indirect light with a few hours of direct light is ideal for a happy, thriving String of Dolphins.

Light

Humidity Needs

While not at all bothered about high humidity, your String of Dolphins will appreciate the occasional misting, which helps remove dust from their leaves.

Humidity

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but generally prefers the warmer side. May complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Temperature

Toxic or Not?

String of Dolphins are mildly toxic to pets and humans. Ingestion will cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting.

Toxicity

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant's vines will grow to around 2-3 ft long (when mature and with enough light)!

Size

Overall Look

A low jumble of vining stems creep out and over the edges of their planter. Each stem is studded with plump little leaves as the tendrils grow longer and longer. Works best in a hanging planter or high shelf to show off those playful dolphins!

Format

Leaf Look

Tiny and plump, these vibrant green leaves look a bit like dolphins jumping out of the water!

Leaf Shape

Pro Tip

Because this plant is so low and dense at the soil line, it can be hard to avoid splashing water all over when watering from the top. In this case, you might try bottom watering to avoid excess moisture settling on leaves, which can cause them to yellow and rot.

Pro Tip

Did You Know?

String of Dolphins is a hybrid of Curio articulatus and Curio rowleyanus, more commonly known as String of Pearls.

Fun Fact

Water

|

Allow half of soil to dry out before watering again.

Water Needs

Water thoroughly when soil is about 50% to entirely dry. Avoid overwatering at all costs. Watering may be even less frequent during winter months or in less light.

Light

|

Bright, indirect to direct light.

Preferred Light

Primarily bright, indirect light with a few hours of direct light is ideal for a happy, thriving String of Dolphins.

Humidity

|

Not too concerned by humidity levels.

Humidity Needs

While not at all bothered about high humidity, your String of Dolphins will appreciate the occasional misting, which helps remove dust from their leaves.

Temperature

|

Can adapt, but doesn't like sudden change.

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but generally prefers the warmer side. May complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Toxicity

|

Mildly toxic to humans and pets if ingested.

Toxic or Not?

String of Dolphins are mildly toxic to pets and humans. Ingestion will cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting.

Size

|

Long trailing vines.

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant's vines will grow to around 2-3 ft long (when mature and with enough light)!

Format

|

Cascading tendrils create a mane-like look.

Overall Look

A low jumble of vining stems creep out and over the edges of their planter. Each stem is studded with plump little leaves as the tendrils grow longer and longer. Works best in a hanging planter or high shelf to show off those playful dolphins!

Leaf Shape

|

Plump vibrant green, shaped like dolphins.

Leaf Look

Tiny and plump, these vibrant green leaves look a bit like dolphins jumping out of the water!

Pro Tip

|

Try bottom watering.

Pro Tip

Because this plant is so low and dense at the soil line, it can be hard to avoid splashing water all over when watering from the top. In this case, you might try bottom watering to avoid excess moisture settling on leaves, which can cause them to yellow and rot.

Fun Fact

|

This is a hybrid plant not found in nature.

Did You Know?

String of Dolphins is a hybrid of Curio articulatus and Curio rowleyanus, more commonly known as String of Pearls.

Beyond The Basics

Soil & Potting

Thrives in an airy, light, fast-draining potting mix—you can use a good quality potting mix labeled for succulents/cactus or supplement a standard indoor mix with an equal quantity of pumice or horticultural grit. Ensure the pot has the appropriate drainage and don't forget to pour out any excess water collected in the drainage tray or cachepot.

Repotting

Try to repot every 2-3 years in the spring, especially when tending to a younger plant. Increase the pot size by about 2 inches each time or until you're satisfied with the size. It's still important to repot at this stage, but it'll be an exercise of refreshing the soil, keeping the pot size the same, and possibly doing some root trimming to restrict the plant's growth. More on repotting here.

Feeding

If you're not already planning to repot, you can fertilize during the spring and summer months. Once to every two months should be plenty. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter when plant growth naturally slows down. You can try a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer—always diluted more than the recommended strength. A cactus and succulent specific feed would also work well. More on using fertilizer here.

Grooming

While no specific pruning is required for this plant, it's always good practice to regularly remove yellowed or dying leaves and any fallen plant debris. Ensure your scissors or pruners are sanitized to avoid spreading disease or pests.

Propagation

You can propagate a String of Dolphins with a vine cutting. Select a healthy looking vine and cut a section around 5 inches long. Make the cut just below the lowest leaf. Remove the lower leaves to ensure a clear stem before rooting. You can root directly in a moistened potting mix suitable for cactus or succulents. Try to press only the cut stem into the soil, allowing the remaining leaves to stay exposed with good air circulation to avoid rotting. Once the roots are a few inches long and you've spotting some new growth, you can properly pot up the whole plant! More on propagation techniques here.

Variants

There are many popular "String of" houseplants—each named for what the leaves might resemble. The Curio (formerly Senecio) genus includes: String of Pearls, String of Bananas, String of Watermelons, and String of Tears.

TrOUBlESHOOTING

Why are the leaves on my String of Dolphins mushy and yellow?

Symptom

Leaves are yellowing and soft, particularly around the base.

Cause

The most likely culprit is overwatering and initial signs of root rot. When a plant's roots sit in waterlogged soil for too long, a fungal infection can quickly take over, causing the roots to rot—turning brown and mushy.

Solution

First, ensure that your plant has appropriate drainage (both in terms of a well-draining soil and plenty of drainage holes in the plant's container).

If you think you've caught the overwatering early on, you can simply let the plant dry out more than you have been. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Continue monitoring and only water when needed. You may also try using chopsticks (or something similar) to poke holes in the soil to help the roots get more oxygen. And finally, you can try to "wick" the excess moisture out of the soil by placing the whole pot (with drainage holes) in a tray or container with dry soil. This new layer of dry soil should soak up some of the excess moisture from the waterlogged areas around your plant's roots.

However, if you suspect a serious case of root rot, you'll definitely need to take a peak at the roots by removing the plant entirely from their container. If there are any black and mushy roots, trim them back completely before repotting with fresh soil in a new or sterilized container.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why are the leaves on my String of Dolphins flat and shriveled?

Symptom

Leaves are flat or shriveled, but not soft or yellowing.

Cause

Wrinkling or shriveling of leaves is often a sign of dehydration from either too much light or not enough water. If accompanied by softness or yellowing, this is more likely a sign of not enough light or too much water.

Solution

The key is a well tuned balance between the amount of light and your frequency of watering. Instead of going by a set schedule, check-in with your plant to see if they need the water or not. You'll want to allow around half the soil to dry out completely before watering again. While this may be on a consistent schedule for some months, as the seasons change, so will the amount of light and therefore your watering schedule must shift.

More on watering here.
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Why is new growth on my String of Dolphins straggly and small?

Symptom

New growth is straggly and small with each new leaf spread far from the last.

Cause

A clear indicator that your plant isn't getting enough light. Most often, a plant gets leggy because they're trying to stretch towards the light, leading to long, stretched-out growth that makes the whole plant look a bit sparse rather than full and bushy.

Solution

You should certainly improve the lighting conditions for future growth, but this won't effect the straggly stems. You may choose to prune these thinner stems back, which will promote new growth where you cut. And if you've remedied the lighting, this new growth should be healthy and full!

More on lighting here.
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Why does my String of Dolphins have a red tinge?

Symptom

A reddish tinge across the stems, particularly new growth.

Cause

Generally caused by over exposure to direct light. While not necessarily detrimental, if the red tinge is accompanied by pale or bleached spots, you should take steps to address the problem.

Solution

You may be pushing the limits on how much direct sun your plant can handle. Try moving it out of reach of those direct rays of sun or moving to a spot that receives only minimal direct sun in the mornings or evenings. While this should prevent further burning, the spots will not "heal", so it's up to you if you'd like to prune off the affected leaves.

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