String of Turtles

Easy Guide to String of Turtles, Grow and Care for Turtle Plants

A String of turtles is a beautiful, easy-to-maintain, and good-looking house plant.

Scientifically called Peperomia Prostrata, the turtle plant is suitable for homes. This plant is;

  • Aesthetically appealing due to small leaves and vibrant colors
  • Adaptable and growable in almost all states
  • Low maintenance
  • A plant with air-purifying properties
  • Non-toxic, pet-friendly plant
  • Small size, fit for indoors, windows, table tops, and hanging baskets

Read our easy guide to understand turtle plants and see how you can grow them in your house, office, or workplace.

String of Turtles

Get to Know String of Turtles

String of turtles is a native of Brazilian rainforests. It is an epiphyte plant. It grows on other plants but is not reliant on them for food, moisture, or nutrients.

It adapts well in hardiness zones 10-12. It almost effortlessly grows in these planting zones. You can also grow it in other parts of the USA.

Turtle plants grow close to the ground. They are suitable houseplants for dimly lit parts of the house where humidity and temperature are high.

String of Turtles’ Leaf Shape and Color

The name of this plant comes, from the appearance of its leaves which look like the shell of a miniature turtle.

Turtles plant leaves have a thin transparent jelly-like layer on them. The leaf color is predominantly green with white veins that change color with maturity. At maturity, leaves become bicolor with light-green veins and other parts being dark green.

Growth Pattern of Turtle Plant

The growth pattern of the string of turtles plant is a little strange. It grows very slowly, taking a full 5 years to maturity. It is a perennial plant.

Peperomia Prostrata veins grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) making it suitable for hanging baskets and table-top plants.

String of Turtles Flowers

Although they become fully mature in their 5th year, turtle plants start flowering in their 3rd year. The string of turtles flowers looks like a spike. It can be dark red, maroon, or white.

How to Properly Care for String of Turtles?

Care for Turtle Plant

For a proper string of turtles care, follow these simple principles of turtle plant care.

Place the plant right, water it just enough, keep it in a well-drained pot, and take care of humidity, and you will have a happy, healthy turtle plant.

Turtle Plant Light Requirements

The turtle plant is a rainforest native. It creeps near the ground and doesn’t get much sunlight in its natural habitat.

Put it in an area with indirect or weak sunlight (weak sunlight means morning/evening sun or winter sun).

Direct sunlight can quickly dry the jelly-like material on its leaves and cause harm.

Try to give it full exposure to weaker sunlight for a short time daily. This will mimic its original light experience in the dense rainforests.

Peperomia Prostrata Watering Needs

A string of turtles needs moist conditions. Overwatering is harmful. Water your turtle plant when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch.

You will need to water it approximately once a week in the growing seasons of spring and summer. Reduce watering frequency to every two weeks or once every 10 days in fall and winter.

Overwatering can cause mushy or discolored leaves and root rotting. The sign of underwatering is shrivel on the leaves.

Use a porous pot so that water does not sit at the bottom.

Soil and Potting for Turtle Plants

The string of turtles likes acidic soil that drains well. Peat is the best soil for them. Other suitable soil materials include fine bark, peat moss, perlite, sand, and pumice.

Choose a pot with drainage holes. The plant needs slightly moist, damp soil. The pot would be sopping wet without drainage holes.

About fertilizers, high-phosphate and high-calcium fertilizers support good growth. Put small amounts of fertilizers frequently in growth seasons for better growth.

Temperature and Humidity

This is a bit weird but your string of turtles plant wants high temperature and high humidity without sunlight. Think about its origin in the damp, very humid rainforests.

Best Temperature 

Best Humidity 

65 and 75°F (18°C to 24°C)

40-50%

Turtles plant thrive between 65 and 75°F (18°C to 24°C). This is the same temperature range where humans are comfortable. Where you are comfortable, your plant will be comfortable too.

Peperomia Prostrata needs 40-50% humidity. You can increase humidity by using these techniques.

  • Use a humidifier or a misting tool.
  • Place a water tray with pebbles beneath the plant pot.
  • Put the plant in the kitchen or bathroom to increase humidity.

Most of the time, you won’t need any of these.

Cheat Sheet for String of Turtles Care

Use this table as a quick reference for a string of turtles plant care.

Factor 

Guideline 

Light

  • Put in indirect light
  • Don’t expose to harsh summer sunlight
  • Morning/evening and winter sunlight is fine

Watering

  • Don’t overwater
  • Water once a week in spring and summer, twice a month in fall & winter

Soil and Potting

  • Use slightly acidic soil, preferably peat
  • Use a well-draining pot that doesn’t store water at the bottom 

Temperature and Humidity 

  • Put in high temperature and high humidity 

Common Growing Problems of String of Turtles

Leaf Damage

For a string of turtles is easy, you just have to take care of a few basic things and the plant will keep on beautifying your home for many years to come.

Overwatering of String of Turtles

Overwatering or root rot is the biggest problem for turtle plants. It needs a slightly moist soul. You need to use a porous pot and water it only when the top 2 inches of soil feels dry to the touch.

Leaf Damage

Excessive water also causes leaf damage. The leaves may discolor, turn yellow or orangish, and shed. The solution is again to decrease watering. Whiteflies infestation also causes discoloration of leaves and shedding.

Plant Bugs

The third biggest problem is pest infestation. Three types of bugs attack this plant.

  • Whiteflies
  • Mealybugs
  • Spider mites

Whiteflies infestation can feed on plant sap and stunt growth. They also secrete honeydew on the plant which causes fungal diseases and transmit plant viruses.

Mealy bugs and spider mats harm the turtle plant just like whiteflies but mealy bugs spread a toxic saliva on the plant. This saliva weakens the plant causing leaf disfigurement and shedding.

Three-Step Approach to Turtle Plant Bug Control

You can alleviate the bug problem with these three methods.

  1. Spray water and keep leaves clean
  2. Spray insecticidal soap or horticultural oils
  3. Use yellow sticky traps around the plant

How to Propagate String of Turtles?

Propagation of plant

Once you have successfully grown a turtle plant, you can propagate it. All you need is a 3-4 inch string with only a few leaf nodes intact.

When you have a healthy mature turtle plant, a string can be 12 inches long, and the plant has a lot of these strings. You can use a string of turtle plants for many new plants.

Step-By-Step Process of Propagating a String of Turtles

Here is a simple & straightforward step-by-step process of propagating a string of turtles.

Step 1: Prepare 3-4 inches trims and remove leaves from the lower 2 inches of the trim (lower means closer to the plant's base).

Step 2:  Choose between water and pot for propagation. Water propagation costs less.

SWater Propagation Method

  • Fill a small container with water and cover it with plastic
  • Make 3,4 evenly-spaced holes of similar size
  • Put cuttings/trims through the holes and submerge at least one leaf bud
  • Keep the trims container in indirect light for 3-4 weeks
  • Pot the trims when the roots are at least 3 inches long

Soil Propagation

  • Mix soil for the trims in a tray. Use 1 part perlite and 1 part coco peat for perfect soil.
  • Put this tray under a humidity dome and place it under the grow light or in a bright window.
  • Water the soil if dry
  • Wait for a few weeks until the roots develop and you start seeing plant growth

Step 3: Pot new shoots in the well-drain clay pots

From here, treat these new shoots like new plants. The way you took care of your turtle plant is exactly the way you will care for these new tiny plants.

Turtle plant is a good addition to balconies, windows, kitchens, and indoor tables. They have a vibrant, pleasing color. They stay small even at maturity. You won’t need pruning. Also, you’ll need to water them once a week or longer.

Buy a turtle plant for your home or office or explore our collection of Peperomia Plants. These tiny buddies are welcomed to all homes.

FAQs

Do String of Turtles like direct sunlight?

No, a string of turtles don’t like harsh direct sunlight. However, weaker sunlight like morning or evening sun, or winter sun is fine.

Put turtle plants in indirect light for best growth and protection.

Are strings of Turtles hard to care for?

Caring for strings of turtles is fairly easy. You just need to;

  • keep it in a porous pot,
  • Don't put it in direct harsh sunlight,
  • Don't overwater it,
  • Give it phosphorus and calcium-rich fertilizer occasionally.
  • Be on the watch for bugs. There, you have a healthy, thriving plant.

Where is the best place to put String of Turtles?

The best place to put a string of turtles is where it gets indirect sunlight. Consider placing the plant in;

  • East or west-facing windows/window sills
  • Balconies
  • Table-tops
  • Terrariums
  • Fairy gardens
  • Container gardens
  • A hanging basket.

How often should I water my String of Turtles?

In growth seasons i.e., spring and summer, you should water it once a week. In the dormant season, i.e., fall and winter, water it approximately every two weeks.

Or water your turtle plant when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch.

Is String of Turtles plant toxic?

No, string of turtles is non-toxic and safe. Your pets are safe.

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