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Some plants are just quite adorable and cute. And this String of Dolphins is exactly that. While its name sounds like it’s some form of a mammal, this species is a 100% rare plant.
This is because the leaves are simply dolphin-shaped. Plant them in hanging baskets and you’ll visualize numerous jumping dolphins out of it. Cute, aren’t they?
What is a String of Dolphins?
This adorable dolphin plant is in fact a hybrid between two species, String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) and candle plant (Senecio articulatus). And we should thank the breeders for coming up with this idea. The string of dolphins (Senecio peregrinus) is definitely a must keep.
If you’re trying to get a hand on this gem, then be ready. We have a whole bunch of interesting information for you. So, keep reading my friend.
Plant Care Basics
Scientific Name: Senecio peregrinus
Common Name: String of Dolphins, Dolphin Succulent, Dolphin Plant
Similar to: String of Pearls
Native to: Southwest Africa
Shape: Leaves are dolphin-shaped
Maximum Size: Around 6 inches tall
Watering Requirements: Low
Light Requirements: Full to partial sun
Preferred Humidity: Low
Preferred Temperature: 40°F and 70°F (4.5°C – 21°C)
Soil or Potting Medium: Cactus/succulent mix
Fertilizer: Low, not a heavy feeder
Propagation Method: Stem cuttings
Toxicity: Toxic to dogs and cats
Vulnerable to: Root rot
What Type of Soil Is Needed?
Have you had any succulents or cacti in your plant collection? If yes, then you can use the same potting mix you used on them. Since this plant is succulent, it requires a soil mix that is well-draining. We know that succulents are characterized by having the ability to store more water than other plant species.
You can also DIY your own soil mix by combining potting soil and perlite at a ratio of 1:2. Perlite helps improve soil drainage. Just don’t forget to sterilize the potting soil to destroy disease-causing organisms.
How Much Water is Required?
Good news! This portion is the easiest task you’ll ever have when it comes to String of Dolphins care. In as much as real dolphins love water, this succulent is not a fan of overwatering. On your end, I know you’re celebrating. There’s no need to water this one daily.
What it requires is less water. It can even survive drought conditions without getting stressed. Remember to wait for the soil to dry before watering again. And never ever let it stand in pooling water. Otherwise, be ready to face the pains of root rot.
How Bright the Light Should Be?
Thankfully, the String of Dolphins can both stand full sunlight and partial shade. That means you could have it outdoors or indoors without getting in trouble. As long as you keep exposure to sunlight only up to 6 hours daily, then, we’re good.
Of course, it’s a different story when the sunlight gives off scorching heat. It could possibly harm those tiny dolphins. So, better get them partially shaded. Indirect light is better when light intensities are quite stronger.
If kept indoors, a south-facing window is just the perfect spot.
What Temperature Range is Best?
Are you leaving in an area with cooler temperatures? Worry not because this plant can withstand a colder environment better than the other succulents. It can tolerate as low as 4.5°C (40°F). However, anything that goes lower is considered detrimental.
Like most succulents, keep in mind that this plant isn’t frost-hardy. They’d still need protection from time to time.
Should I Increase or Decrease Humidity?
The String of Dolphins prefers to have a drier environment. Less humidity is better but the average level is also good. Just don’t place it near your tropical plants as they’d normally require high humidity. Your succulent wouldn’t appreciate it.
Instead, group it with other succulents and cacti. And find a less humid location for them. Don’t ever put them in the shower room!
Do I Need to Fertilize Often?
The answer is no. Fortunately, our String of Dolphins isn’t a heavy feeder. If you observe that the plant is healthy enough and flourishing, there’s no need to add fertilizer. In my experience, I only add fertilizer to this succulent once or twice a year during spring.
It’s also better to incorporate organic fertilizers into the soil. These materials are slow-release and they’ll make a steady supply of nutrients for months. Plus, they’re safer to use rather than synthetic chemicals.
How Do I Propagate This Plant?
It’s quite easy, actually. All you need is a healthy cutting of String of Dolphins stem. If you’ve had experience propagating plants through stem cuttings, then you’ll surely find success. The procedure is pretty much the same.
Just be extra careful in handling the cuttings. The stems of dolphins are fleshy and a bit fragile. You can allow them to root in water or directly in the soil. It’s up to you which one you’ll choose. Give them a couple of weeks to develop roots. After that, you can transfer each one in a pot.
Will String of Dolphins Grow In My Area?
To be sure, please check for the USDA Hardiness Zone. If you’re residing in areas with growth zones 9b to 11b, then it’s perfectly safe to grow these Senecio plants. The climatic conditions in these zones are favorable for their growth.
When to Repot My Plant?
No need to bother about regular repotting of your String of Dolphins. It’s one of those species which prefers to be a little root round. Ironically, this condition would even encourage your Senecio to bloom and produce those white and dainty puffballs.
You can leave your plant for almost three years without repotting. But once the soil gets depleted, there’s a sure need to replace it and repot the Senecio to a larger container.
Should I Prune a String of Dolphins?
Yes, you should! This succulent has trailing stems. Normally, the jumping dolphins dangle out of their pot. In this case, there’s a need to prune some stems to keep them to the desired size. Pruning would also help thicken your String of Dolphins.
You must also pinch off dead and yellow leaves.
Other String Succulents
I bet it’s not the first time you’ve heard of plants with the “String” name attached to them. This is because there are different plants that look similar to your String of Dolphins (Senecio peregrinus). Let’s get to know them so you won’t get confused.
String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
This one shares the same genus with the String of Dolphins. It’s also a trailing succulent that looks like hanging beads of green color. It looks like a rosary and is a perfect ornament when placed in hanging baskets.
String of Turtles (Peperomia prostrata)
Another member of the cute string plants is the String of Turtles. If the String of Dolphins has dolphin-shaped foliage, this one has the looks of a turtle’s shell. Although both are succulents, they belong to completely different families.
String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii)
The String of Hearts is called such because the leaves in themselves are heart-shaped. They’re dainty and cute. They look extremely adorable especially when hanged. The trailing hearts are even variegated.
Common Diseases & Pests
Aside from common houseplant pests like mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites, there are no other serious threats to consider for your String of Dolphins. You can handle them the same way you do in treating infested houseplants.
As for disease, the only problem you’ll most likely encounter is root rot. If you’re extra careful in using well-draining soil and pots with enough drainage holes, then no worries.
Frequently Asked Questions
When plants shrivel, there’s is most likely a lack of moisture. That means that your baby is underwatered. It’s also possible that it’s getting stressed over too much heat and sunlight.
This is a clear sign of overwatering and lack of exposure to sunlight. You have to withhold watering and allow the soil to dry. Make sure your succulent receives more light, too. Later on, you’ll observe the leaves to be getting fuller.
This phenomenon is known as etiolation. The stems elongate more than necessary and they move upwards to follow the source of light.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!