string of Rubies Plant Care

String of Rubies Plant Care: Tips for Growing and Maintaining Your Plant

String of rubies is a beautiful succulent plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family and Senecio genus. It is also known as Othonna Capensis or Ruby Necklace plant due to its striking ruby-red leaves that resemble a necklace.

This plant is native to South Africa, and it is a perfect choice for plant lovers who want to add some color and texture to their indoor or outdoor space.

Understanding the String of Rubies plant is essential for its proper care and growth. It requires bright and direct sunlight for at least six hours every day, well-draining, acidic soil, and a shallow pot or tray with succulent or cactus soil.

Watering should be done only when the soil is dry, and fertilizer should be applied sparingly during the growing season. Propagation can be done through stem cuttings, and pruning is necessary to maintain its shape and size.

Key Takeaways

  • String of rubies is a beautiful succulent plant that requires bright and direct sunlight, well-draining, acidic soil, and a shallow pot or tray with succulent or cactus soil.
  • Watering should be done only when the soil is dry, and fertilizer should be applied sparingly during the growing season. Propagation can be done through stem cuttings, and pruning is necessary to maintain its shape and size.
  • String of rubies is a perfect choice for plant lovers who want to add some color and texture to their indoor or outdoor space.

Understanding the String of Rubies Plant

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The String of Rubies plant, also known as Othonna Capensis, is a trailing succulent that originates from South Africa. It is a popular houseplant due to its low maintenance and unique appearance.

The String of Rubies is characterized by its trailing stems that can grow up to several feet long. It gets its name from its small, cylindrical leaves that are shaped like little rubies or beans.

The leaves are typically a vibrant green but can take on reddish or purple hues when exposed to bright sunlight or in response to environmental stress.

The plant’s leaves are oval-shaped and turn ruby-red when the plant is stressed, giving it its name.

One of the unique characteristics of the String of Rubies plant is its drought tolerance. It can go for long periods without water, making it an excellent choice for those who tend to forget to water their plants.

Quick Summary Guide for String of Rubies

Attribute Details
Species Othonna capensis ‘Ruby Necklace’
Family Asteraceae
Scientific Name Othonna capensis
Common Name Ruby Necklace
Light Bright indirect light to full sun
Watering Allow soil to dry between watering
Temperature Warm temperatures (65-80°F or 18-27°C)
Hardiness Zone USDA Zones 9-11
Humidity Low to moderate humidity
Soil Type Well-draining succulent mix
Soil pH Neutral to slightly acidic (6.0-7.0)
Fertilizing Diluted, balanced liquid fertilizer
Repotting Every 2-3 years, or when root-bound
Propagation Stem cuttings or leaf cuttings
Toxicity Non-toxic to humans and pets
Mature Size 6-12 inches in height

String of Rubies Growing Conditions

Growing a Ruby plant requires specific environmental conditions to ensure its health and longevity. Here are the ideal growing conditions for a string of rubies:

Light

A string of rubies plant needs bright, indirect light to thrive. It does best in a south-facing window that receives at least six hours of natural light per day.

However, direct sunlight can cause sunburn and damage the foliage, so it’s important to filter the light or provide some shade during the hottest parts of the day.

Temperature

The ideal temperature range for a string of rubies is between 60°F and 80°F (15°C to 27°C). It can tolerate cooler temperatures in the fall and spring, but should be kept away from drafts and cold windows during the winter.

Humidity

String of rubies prefers moderate to low humidity levels. It can tolerate dry air, but it’s important to avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot.

Soil

A well-draining soil mix is essential for a string of rubies to prevent waterlogging and root rot. A cactus or succulent soil mix with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5 is ideal. It’s also important to use a pot with drainage holes to allow excess water to drain away.

You can create your own soil mixture by using some combination of perlite, coarse sand, and regular potting mix.

This type of soil blend will help improve drainage and aeration, which is crucial for the health and well-being of your string of rubies plant.

Watering

The String of Rubies is a tough, water-wise plant. You don’t need to fuss over it with frequent watering. Instead, wait until the soil has completely dried out before giving it a drink.

Overwatering is like drowning for this plant, so allowing the soil to dry out between watering sessions is key to its well-being.

This helps prevent problems like root rot and keeps your String of Rubies looking its best. If you notice waterlogged soil; drain the water best you can and add some fresh dry soil.

Remember, it’s better to err on the side of underwatering than overwatering with this succulent!

Fertilizer

String of rubies is a relatively low-maintenance plant when it comes to fertilization. While it doesn’t demand frequent feeding, providing some nutrients during the growing season can promote healthy growth and vibrant foliage.

Once or twice a year during the growing season is generally sufficient. Avoid fertilizing in fall and winter when the plant enters a dormant phase and doesn’t actively grow.

Choose a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with a formulation like 20-20-20 or 10-10-10. These numbers represent the percentages of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), respectively. A balanced fertilizer ensures your plant gets a variety of essential nutrients.

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Always follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for proper dilution. Over-fertilizing can harm your plant, so it’s better to use a weaker solution than a stronger one.

Water your string of rubies thoroughly before applying fertilizer. This helps prevent fertilizer burn on dry roots. Then, apply the diluted fertilizer to the soil, avoiding contact with the leaves. Fertilizing when the soil is already moist also helps distribute the nutrients more evenly.

Pay attention to your plant’s growth. If it’s producing healthy new growth and looks vibrant, there’s no need to increase the frequency of fertilization. However, if it appears stunted or pale, you can consider increasing the frequency slightly.

If you prefer organic fertilizers, you can use a balanced, slow-release organic fertilizer. These release nutrients gradually, reducing the risk of over-fertilization.

Occasionally, it’s a good idea to flush the soil with water to remove any excess salts that may have built up from fertilization. Simply water the plant thoroughly, allowing water to drain freely from the pot’s drainage holes.

Potting and Repotting

The String of Rubies plant does not require frequent repotting and will actually benefit from being slightly root-bound. Repotting can be done every two to three years.

When repotting, it is important to use a potting mix that is well-draining and has a slightly acidic soil pH, ideally measuring from 6 to 6.5.

When choosing a pot, it is recommended to use a terracotta pot with drainage holes to allow for proper drainage. If the pot does not have drainage holes, it is important to drill them before potting the plant to avoid waterlogging and root rot.

To repot the String of Rubies, gently remove the plant from its current pot and loosen any compacted roots. Add a layer of fresh potting mix to the bottom of the new pot and place the plant in the center.

Fill in around the plant with additional potting mix, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the pot.

After repotting, it is important to water the plant thoroughly and allow any excess water to drain out of the pot. Avoid watering the plant again until the soil has completely dried out.

Watering and Fertilizing

string of Rubies Plant CareThis beautiful plant is a drought-tolerant plant that requires minimal watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it is essential to let the soil dry out completely between waterings. The frequency of watering depends on the climate and the size of the pot.

During the summer months, when the plant is actively growing, it may require more frequent watering. As a general rule, it is best to water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry. When watering, it is important to water deeply and allow the excess water to drain out of the pot.

Fertilizing is not necessary for the plant’s survival, but it can help promote growth and flowering. String of Rubies is a succulent, and it requires a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus and potassium.

During the growing season, fertilize the plant once every two to three weeks with a succulent fertilizer. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package and avoid overfertilizing, which can lead to burn the plant’s roots.

Propagation Methods

String of Rubies plants are easy to propagate, making them an excellent choice for plant enthusiasts looking to expand their collection. The most common propagation method is through stem cuttings.

To propagate the string of rubies through stem cuttings, it is essential to ensure that each cutting has at least two to three nodes. While rooting cuttings in either soil or water is possible, rooting in soil is the best option as it reduces the risk of rotting.

To propagate through stem cuttings, follow these steps:

  1. Cut a healthy stem from the parent plant using a clean, sharp knife or scissors.
  2. Allow the cutting to dry for a few days in a shaded, well-ventilated area.
  3. Once the cutting has dried, dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder.
  4. Plant the cutting in well-draining soil, ensuring that the soil is moist but not waterlogged.
  5. Place the pot in a bright, indirect light, and keep the soil moist until the cutting has rooted and begins to grow.

Another way to propagate the string of rubies is by division. This method involves separating the parent plant into smaller sections and planting them in separate pots.

To propagate through division, follow these steps:

  1. Carefully remove the parent plant from its pot and gently separate the roots into smaller sections.
  2. Plant each section in well-draining soil, ensuring that the soil is moist but not waterlogged.
  3. Place the pots in a bright, indirect light, and keep the soil moist until the plants begin to grow.

Water Propagation

You can propagate the String of Rubies (Othonna capensis) through water propagation, although it may not be as commonly done as propagation by stem cuttings. Here’s how you can water propagate the String of Rubies:

  1. Select Healthy Cuttings: Begin by choosing healthy stems or cuttings from the parent plant. Ensure that each cutting has several nodes, as this is where roots will develop.
  2. Let the Cuttings Callus: Allow the cut ends of the stems to air dry for a day or two. This helps prevent rot when you place them in water.
  3. Place in Water: Place the dried cuttings in a container of water. Make sure that only the nodes are submerged; you don’t want the leaves to be underwater.
  4. Change the Water: Change the water every few days to keep it fresh and prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.
  5. Root Development: Over the course of a few weeks to a few months, you should start to see roots developing from the nodes submerged in water. Be patient, as the process can take some time.
  6. Transplanting: Once the roots are a few inches long and appear healthy, you can transplant the cuttings into a well-draining succulent potting mix or soil mix for further growth. Make a small hole in the soil, place the rooted cutting in it, and gently pack the soil around it.
  7. Care for New Plants: After transplanting, care for the new plants as you would for mature String of Rubies, including providing the right amount of light, proper watering, and suitable temperatures.

Remember that water propagation can be a bit slower than other methods, such as stem cuttings in soil, but it can be a successful way to propagate your String of Rubies if done patiently and with care.

Pruning and Growth

The String of Rubies plant is a speedy grower, reaching lengths of up to 2 feet. Its cascading growth pattern makes it an ideal choice for hanging baskets or ground cover in your garden.

To help it flourish, offer the right conditions: lots of bright, indirect sunlight, well-draining soil, and moderate watering.

Regular pruning is a crucial part of caring for your String of Rubies. It serves two purposes: keeping your plant looking neat and encouraging more growth.

The prime time to prune is in the spring or early summer when it’s in its growth stride.

Snip back any spindly stems to promote denser growth. Don’t forget to remove any dead or damaged leaves to keep your plant looking its best.

While it doesn’t demand frequent pruning, it’s essential to keep it in check. Without regular attention, it can get unruly and leggy. By staying on top of pruning, you’ll keep your plant looking lively and vibrant.

People sometimes mix up the String of Rubies with the String of Pickles or Little Pickles plants due to their similar appearance.

However, the String of Rubies stands out with its striking red leaves, while the String of Pickles has green foliage. Meanwhile, the Little Pickles plant is a pint-sized version of the String of Pickles, sporting smaller leaves.

Pest and Disease Management

String of rubies plants are generally resistant to pests and diseases, but they can still fall victim to some common issues. Here are some tips on how to manage pests and diseases that may affect your string of rubies plant:

Pests

Mealybugs and scale are two common pests that may infest the fleshy leaves of your string of rubies plant. These pests can be easily identified by their small size and the white, cotton-like substance they leave behind. Spider mites can also infest the plant leading to stunted growth and dead leaves.

To manage these pests, you can use neem oil or insecticidal soap. Simply mix the product with water according to the instructions on the label and apply it to the affected areas.

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Alternatively, you can use rubbing alcohol to clean the pests off the small bean-shaped leaves.

Diseases

String of rubies plants are susceptible to root rot if they are overwatered or planted in soil that does not provide adequate drainage. To prevent root rot, make sure to plant your string of rubies in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering.

If you suspect your plant has root rot, remove it from its pot and inspect the roots. If they are brown and mushy, you will need to trim away the affected roots and repot the plant in fresh soil.

Another common disease that can affect string of rubies plants is leaf spot. This is caused by a fungal infection that thrives in humid conditions.

To prevent leaf spot, make sure your plant is not overwatered and that there is good air circulation around it. If you notice any leaves with brown spots, remove them immediately to prevent the infection from spreading.

Toxicity and Safety

The Ruby Necklace succulent, also known as Othonna capensis ‘Ruby Necklace,’ is generally considered to have low toxicity to both humans and pets.

While it is not highly poisonous, it does contain a substance called bufadienolides, which can lead to mild gastrointestinal upset if ingested, including symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.

It is still essential to handle the plant with care and keep it out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.

If ingested, it’s advisable to seek medical attention, especially if more severe symptoms such as heart arrhythmia are observed. Symptoms of poisoning may not appear immediately and can be delayed, so prompt action is important.

To reduce the risk of accidental ingestion, wearing gloves when handling the plant is a good practice. If you have concerns about the plant’s toxicity, consult a healthcare professional or veterinarian for guidance and advice on keeping your household safe.

Comparisons with Similar Plants

The string of rubies plant is a unique and beautiful trailing succulent that is often compared to other “string of” plants such as the string of pearls, string of bananas, and string of dolphins.

While these plants share some similarities, there are also distinct differences that make the string of rubies stand out.

String of Pearls

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The string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) is a popular trailing succulent that is known for its round, bead-like leaves. Like the string of rubies, it is a drought-tolerant plant that requires well-draining soil and bright, indirect light.

However, the string of pearls has a more delicate appearance and requires more frequent watering than the string of rubies.

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The string of bananas (Senecio radicans) is another trailing succulent that is often compared to the string of rubies. It has long, thin leaves that resemble bananas and can grow up to several feet long.

Like the string of rubies, it prefers bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. However, the string of bananas is more tolerant of shade and can be grown in lower light conditions.

String of Dolphins

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The string of dolphins (Senecio peregrinus) is a unique trailing succulent that is known for its dolphin-shaped leaves. It requires similar care to the string of rubies, with bright, indirect light and well-draining soil.

However, the string of dolphins is more sensitive to overwatering and requires more careful watering than the string of rubies.

Trailing Succulents

Trailing succulents are a diverse group of plants that includes many different species, such as the string of rubies, string of pearls, string of bananas, and string of dolphins.

While they share some common care requirements, each species has its own unique characteristics and care needs. When choosing a trailing cactus plants, it is important to consider the specific needs of each plant and choose one that is well-suited to your growing conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often should I water my String of Rubies plant?

A: The String of Rubies plant is drought-tolerant and prefers to be slightly dry between watering. Water your indoor plant only when the soil is completely dry. Overwatering can cause root rot and other issues.

Q: What kind of light does a String of Rubies plant need?

A: The String of Rubies plant prefers bright but indirect light. Direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn. A south-facing window with a sheer curtain or an east or west-facing window with a few hours of direct morning or afternoon sun is ideal. Partial Shade is ok for these plants as well.

Q. Is the String of Rubies plant toxic to pets?

A: The String of Rubies plant is not known to be toxic to pets. However, it is always a good idea to keep any plant out of reach of pets to prevent accidental ingestion.

Q. How do I care for a String of Rubies plant?

A: To care for a String of Rubies plant, provide it with well-draining soil, bright but indirect light, and water only when the soil is completely dry. Fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength. Prune the plant to control its size and shape.

Q. What are some common issues with String of Rubies plant care?

A: Overwatering, underwatering, and too much direct sunlight are common issues with String of Rubies plant care. Additionally, the plant may become leggy or lose its ruby color if it is not receiving enough light.

Q. Can a String of Rubies plant bloom and produce flowers?

A: Yes, a String of Rubies plant can bloom and produce small, yellow flowers. However, the plant is primarily grown for its unique ruby and green bean-like leaves, and flowering is not a common occurrence.

Q: Why does my String of Rubies plant have droopy leaves

A: Droopy leaves on your String of Rubies plant may result from various factors. Ensure you’re watering appropriately, allowing the top inch of soil to dry before watering thoroughly, while also ensuring the pot has drainage holes.

Adequate sunlight is crucial; place your plant where it can receive indirect sunlight. Watch out for temperature fluctuations and maintain consistent conditions. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can lead to salt buildup.

Check for pests, like mealybugs or spider mites, and signs of fungal diseases, treating them promptly. If the roots are rotting due to overwatering, consider repotting in well-draining soil. Addressing these factors should help your plant perk up and regain healthy, upright leaves.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of your String of Rubies plant is a breeze once you get the hang of it. Just give it some bright, but not too harsh, indirect sunlight and let the soil dry out a bit between drinks to enjoy your healthy plants.

Think of it like a little succulent necklace that loves a sip of water now and then! Quite the jewel among plants! Oh, and don’t forget to keep it comfy – steady temperatures and no chilly drafts, please.

Give it a little attention, and it’ll reward you with those beautiful ruby-colored leaves with purple stems. Enjoy the plant journey!

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