Peperomia Prostrata | Plant Care Guide

Peperomia prostrata

Peperomia prostrata, also known as String of Turtles, due to its gorgeous tortuous-like leaves, is a great indoor plant for any home! This small vining plant would be perfect for a shelf, hanging basket or desktop and will sure be a conversation piece in any space. This succulent is a houseplant favorite amongst the community and commonly used in fairy gardens, container gardens and terrariums. Very easy to propagate, it is a staple for any plant collection!

Botanical NamePeperomia prostrata
Common NameString of Turtles
Size1 1/2 feet in length
DifficultyEasy
Pet FriendlyNo. Toxic to pets
Air CleanerYes

Peperomia Prostrata Origin

Originating from the family Piperaceae, Peperomia prostrata is one of the more than 150 species that have been recorded. Found in all tropical and subtropical regions, these plants are mostly found in Central America and northern South America. 

The tropical perennial is grown for its ornamental foliage. Its leaf shape is what gives it the String of Turtles name, each of its leaves appearing like miniature turtles strung together. Although it is a tropical plant, it is still one of the easier succulents to care for, making it easy maintenance for any plant lover!

How to Care for Peperomia Prostrata

When caring for a Peperomia prostrata, proper watering and light exposure is key. Plant care is relatively easy for this vining succulent, even a beginner will find it easy to maintain. Picking a perfect spot for the plant, such as a shelf that gets bright indirect light, will be a sure way to help this succulent thrive! Small and compact, this plant is great for small spaces! It is also easy to propagate and can yield more plants for your collection! Follow these care tips to ensure that this vining beauty will keep its character and charm.

Light and Temperature

Lighting is one of the most vital aspects of Peperomia prostrata care. These plants love bright but indirect sunlight. Keep them away from direct sunlight to maintain their vibrant foliage. Although this is a vining plant and loves a place on a high shelf, be sure that the shelf gets proper lighting and is not dark. Conversely, do not place it on a window ledge with direct sunlight.

This may come as a surprise, but these succulents love a more cooler and humid climate compared to the typical succulent. Most home conditions will work perfectly for this plant. Once you find the perfect spot for your String of Turtles, it is sure to thrive in perfect conditions.

For added humidity, you can mist in the summer months or purchase a humidifier for your plant.

Water

Like any succulent, watering is key to help this plant thrive. Peperomia prostrata loves to remain steadily moist due to its native conditions, originating from the tropical rainforest. A clear sign of overwatering is a mushy plant or yellow, brown leaves. Signs of underwatering can appear as wrinkled leaves or very dry, brittle top soil.

Do not overwater, it may damage the roots and cause rot. To avoid root rot from overwatering, be sure to keep the soil moist but not wet during the growing season. Water sparingly for best results. Misting will be your best friend and a sure way as not to under or over water this beauty!

During the summer and winter months, allow the soil to dry fully between waterings.

Fertilization

Fertilizing String of Turtles will help ensure they maintain their leaves’ pattern and color throughout the growing season. Feed it a diluted houseplant fertilizer biweekly or monthly. Fertilizing is not recommended during the Fall and Winter. You can also opt for adding new soil to the top in order to give the plant even more nutrients.

Flowering

Similar to other Peperomias, this plant grows flowers year round that appear like little spikes. You can cut these off or keep them on the plant depending on your aesthetic. The leaves themselves are the main attraction of this succulent but the reddish, brown spikes can add dimension and more color to this vining plant.

Pruning

Pruning is a personal preference for vining plants, but in particular with the String of Turtles, it is best to prune regularly so as to avoid the appearance of it being unkept or leggy. If you would like a bushier look, pruning is a must. In general, pruning controls the growth of a plant and will help maintain its health! Be sure to always use sterilized tools when pruning any plant to avoid disease and infection.

Repotting

Repotting to a larger container or pot is not necessary for this plant. It is known for its smaller size, growing up to 12 inches at its mature size and is naturally slow growing. Use a pot with proper drainage holes and use well draining, aerated potting mix, preferably rich organic peat soil. String of Turtles have very delicate leaves and there is always a risk when repotting and transplanting this plant. Take caution when moving this plant, protect its vines and leaves the best you can.

Add a fresh layer of topsoil to your pot each year in the Spring! It is a sure way to refresh your plant and add any nutrients it may need.

Pests and Diseases

The most common problem with Peperomia prostrata is root rot caused by soggy soil. Watering is key here. If left untreated, this plant will develop root rot, its leaves will yellow and the vines will die.

Pests can also be a big problem for these plants, especially Mealybugs. These tiny bugs eat the new growth. Overwatering is a direct cause of Mealybugs which look like the fuzzy white elements at the stems or bottom of its leaves.

Spider Mites are also a common household pest that affects this succulent plant as well. Be sure to keep an eye out on the leaves in particular.

Treat Mealybugs with part isopropyl alcohol and part water, a ratio of 1:10. Spray on leaves. Treat spider mites with neem oil.

How to Propagate Peperomia Prostrata

Propagation of Peperomia prostrata is simple and easy. These plants can be soil or water propagated by cutting off a piece at the stem and placing it in soil or water directly. Be sure to change the water regularly to avoid infection.

Always use sterilized tools when propagating. Easy propagation is always an appealing feature to plant collectors. This plant is beginner friendly in terms of its propagation and can yield a high amount of babies from the mother plant. Follow these steps to ensure that you properly propagate your String of Turtles:

Soil Propagation

  1. Choose a healthy stem(s) for propagation (make sure it is not dry or damaged)
  2. Sterilize your tool of choice, smaller scissors will work best
  3. Trim at least 5 inches of the vine, just below the node (area where leaves and roots grow out of the main stem)
  4. Remove some of the leaves that are close to the base of your cutting
  5. Place cutting in a pot with fresh, moist, and well-drained potting mix.
  6. Do not cover the vine and leaves with soil
  7. Do not overwater the cutting, misting it for the first week or so is best
  8. Keep the pot under bright, indirect light
  9. Check the vine every few days for any yellowing or rotting leaves
  10. New growth is a sure sign that roots have developed!

Water Propagation

  1. Follow steps 1-4 from above
  2. Place the cutting in water, making sure at least one node is in the water
  3. Replace the water every couple of days and remove any damaged leaves
  4. Root development will take longer to produce in water versus soil                            Pro Tip: Remove the lowest pair of leaves and dip the stem into a rooting hormone solution for faster growth!
  5. When roots are established, transfer the cuttings into a 3 inch pot or hanging baskets.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, Peperomia prostrata is a slow growing plant, growing a total of 12 inches when it reaches maturity.

As a tropical native plant, this succulent loves humidity. Although not entirely necessary, in the summer months, it is great to mist the prostrata every couple of days. Be careful not to let the leaves stay wet for too long, especially since they naturally grow closer to the ground, water can collect at the leaves.

Peperomia prostrata is a slow growing succulent with a shallow root system. At its maturity, this vining plant will reach 12 inches in total, therefore, this plant does not need to be replanted often. It can thrive in a 5 inch pot just fine.

Add fresh potting soil to your pot once to twice a year for a refresh!  If you are repotting, be careful when transplanting the plant, its leaves are very delicate and often fall off in the repotting process.

A good rule of thumb for any vining plant is to trim often! Trimming your plant will ensure that your plant does not become leggy or appear unkept or untamed (unless that is the look you are going for of course!).

Since you will be trimming your plant often, why not use your cuttings and propagate your String of Turtles? It’s a perfect way to increase your plant collection or is a perfect gift for family and friends!

When the leaves start to wrinkle, it is a clear sign that your plant needs more water. Another sign is if the soil, especially the top soil is very dry or brittle. Although it is recommended to allow the soil to dry a bit between waterings, you want to be sure it does not dry out completely. Avoid over or under watering by misting the plant once or twice a week.

The flowers on this succulent appear as reddish, brown spikes. It is entirely a personal preference to remove these flowers or keep them for an added aesthetic to this already beautiful plant!

This is a clear sign of overwatering. Follow the proper watering methods in the plant care section to ensure a vibrant green foliage. This plant can recover from yellow leaves if caught in time. Be sure to check your plant weekly for any signs of overwatering, pests or disease.

The best way to increase the humidity is to mist the plant, especially in the summer months. This plant thrives in a cooler yet humid climate. Another option is to place this plant around other similar plants. Plants that are closer together naturally share the same micro-climate (your apartment is its own micro-climate!)

Unfortunately, yes this plant is toxic to household pets. When ingested, it can be very dangerous to cats and dogs alike. It is best to keep this vining plant out of reach from your pets. A high shelf that gets bright indirect light, is a perfect spot!

Final Thoughts

Peperomia prostrata, String of Turtles, is the perfect plant to add to your succulent or vining plant collection. Its leaves add a beautiful aesthetic to any home and are perfect for small spaces.

This plant loves a consistent, well lit spot on a shelf or desk, this will ensure a healthy growing season. With its slow growing nature and smaller size, repotting is not required often and can help ensure that its sensitive leaves stay intact. Commonly propagated, this succulent can yield many plant babies and will sure be a great gift for any occasion!

With proper care, this tropical native beauty will thrive and become a houseplant favorite! You do not need to be an expert to care for this tropical plant and it will surely be a conversation piece amongst friends. With these plant care tips, we are confident that you will grow and maintain a healthy, vibrant vining succulent! 

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