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Last Updated:August 8, 2023

String Of Turtles Care: How to Grow Peperomia Prostrata

featured-string of turtles-1

Is Strung of Turtles care complicated? Although many plant parents say no, it does seem to provide a challenge for beginners. This article will share all the secrets you need to know to be a good plant parent to your String of Turtles.

Botanical Name: Peperomia Prostrata
Common Name: String Of Turtles
Light: Medium light
Watering: When 75%-100% dry
Soil: well-draining mix
Repotting: Once a year
Temperature: between 18 to 24 C° (65 to 75 F°).
Humidity: Between 25% and 50%, but adapts well to lower and higher humidity
Toxicity for Pets: non-toxic
Toxicity for Humans: non-toxic
Propagation: stem cuttings in water; stem cuttings in soil; division; layering
Pruning: prune dead or diseased growth or when you want the plant to branch out
Minimal amount of light: 1,000 lux (100 FC)
Optimal amount of light: 2,500+ lux (250+ FC)
Direct sun tolerance: 2-3 hours
Category: medium light

The String of Turtles’ light requirements are medium. It requires a minimum of 1,000 lux (100 foot candles) to be healthy and lush. For optimal growth rate, give it bright indirect light (over 3,000 lux). If provided with optimal light it can grow pretty fast . You shouldn’t expose your String of Turtles to direct sun for more than 2-3 hours as it can lead to bleached, light green leaves.

A rule of thumb is to keep it in front of the brightest window with unobstructed view of the sky or under grow lights. A few hours of direct sun can make a big difference. Direct sunlight provides from 40,000 to over 100,000 lux of light. So 1 hour of direct sunlight can replace 12 or more hours of indirect light. That is why a few hours of early morning direct sun will make so much difference.

Light is food for plants. The more light, the more photosynthesis. The more photosynthesis, the faster the growth. And the more your plant will be resistant to pests and diseases.

Mr. Houseplant’s String of Turtles

How Often Should I Water String of Turtles?

You should water your String of Turtles when the soil is 75% to 100% dry. How often will depend on your environment, but in general, once a week or less frequently. Being a semi-succulent, String of Turtles stores water in its leaves. That means it does better staying dry than wet.
When it comes to preventing overwatering, light and soil are very important factors. If your plant is in a porous, oxygen-rich mix and if it gets bright light, it is almost impossible to overwater peperomia plants. How come? As your plant gets more light, it will photosynthesize more. More photosynthesis means the roots will take more water from the soil and help it dry out faster. And a porous potting mix with oxygen reduces chances of root rot.

Best Soil Mix for String of Turtles

The best soil mix for String of Turtles is a well draining potting mix. You can make it by using 2 parts any commercial potting mix, 1 part perlite, bark, pumice or coarse sand.

Store-bought potting mixes generally retain too much water. This means the soil dries out much slower which increases the chances of root rot.

Another disadvantage of most potting mixes is they mostly consist of peat moss or coco coir. Peat moss and coco coir consist of very tiny particles. These particles compact over time. When they get compacted, there isn’t much room for oxygen. And the lack of oxygen is the perfect environment for the development of bacteria or fungi that can cause root rot.

Roots need oxygen and by mixing the right ingredients at the right ratio, you are providing macropores that hold oxygen and are helping the potting mix retain moisture for shorter periods.

Fertilizing Peperomia Prostrata

You can fertilize your Peperomia Prostrata during the growing season. If your plant is actively growing outside of the growing season, feel free to fertilize. Use a succulent fertilizer once every 2-4 weeks. Always stick to the amounts and frequency listed on the fertilizer packaging. Be careful. Too much fertilizer can damage and even kill a plant.

For String of Turtles I suggest using Espoma Succulent and Cacti Fertilizer.

If you repot Peperomia Prostrata once a year, fertilizing is not needed. Annual reporting provides new soil which is full of micro and macro nutrients.

What Type Of A Pot Should I Grow String of Turtles In?

You should grow your String of Turtles in a pot with drainage holes. Any type of a pot: plastic, ceramic or terracotta will do. For beginners, terracotta pots are better. They absorb moisture from the soil, so the soil dries out quicker. This reduces chances of root rot.

If you’re more experienced, you can use plastic, ceramic or any other type of a pot. You can even go for pots with no drainage holes.

How to Repot String of Turtles Plant?

You should repot String of Turtles plant in the following way:

  • Take the plant out
  • Lightly loosen the root ball
  • If the roots are dying or diseased (soft and mushy), trim them.
  • Fill up 1/3 of the new pot with a well-draining potting mix
  • Put the plant in
  • Fill the pot with potting mix
  • Press the soil lightly around the plant
  • Water the plant thoroughly, so the soil can settle down and the roots can get in good contact with the potting mix

Choosing the right pot size is important. String of Turtle plant has a small root system. It means that it doesn’t require huge pots. Always go with a pot that is 1” to 2” bigger than the current one. Too big of a pot can lead to root rot because it has too much soil which will stay wet for a long time.

Over time the potting mix will naturally compact. Compacted soil doesn’t have a lot of oxygen for the roots. The less oxygen, the higher the chance of root rot. To reduce the chances of this, repot String of Turtles once a year to remove old compacted soil that lacks oxygen.

Check the video below for some amazing String of Turtles care. You will see how I grew my String of Turtles from 2″ to 10″ long in only a few months.

What Temperature Does Peperomia Prostrata Require?

Peperomia Prostrata grows best in the temperature between 18 to 24 C° (65 to 75 F°).

String of Turtles plant in the foreground

Optimal temperature helps String of Turtles grow well

String of Turtles Humidity Needs

The String of Turtles optimal humidity is between 25% and 50%. However, it adapts well to both low and high humidity.

String of Turtles Flowering

Under the right conditions, String of Turtles can flower throughout the year. When it blooms, it produces tiny, whitish, odorless, spike-shaped flowers. An interesting thing is that the beauty of String of Turtles lies primarily in its beautiful, variegated leaves rather than its flowers.

Is String Of Turtles Toxic?

According to the ASPCA website, String of Turtles is non-toxic to cats and dogs. When it comes to humans, Peperomia Prostrata is also non-toxic, according to the California Poison Control.

Propagating String of Turtles plants

Propagating String of Turtles plants can be done in water or soil.

To propagate Peperomia Prostrata in water:

  • Cut off several healthy strings of turtles
  • Remove the bottom few leaves (roots will grow from the nodes where each of the leaves was)
  • Place in water
  • Provide bright light, over 5,000 lux to speed up propagation
  • Replace water weekly or more often if it gets dirty
  • You should see root growth in a few weeks
  • Once the roots are 1″ to 2″ long, pot the cuttings in the soil.

After that, continue to water the new plants in the same way as the main plant (once the potting mix dries out).

How to Prune String of Turtles?

To prune dead or dying String of Turles stems, cut the stem above the dead section. You can also prune your plant to stimulate new growth and make it bushier. Vining plants, like String of Turtles, become bushier when pruned. New growth will grow below the cut in a few weeks.
If your plant is healthy you don’t need to prune it.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases on Peperomia Prostrata

The most common pests on Peperomia Prostrata are spider mites and mealybugs.

Neem oil is a great remedy for spider mites. Mix a few drops of neem oil, a few drops of dish soap and water. Mix well and thoroughly spray the plant. Pay particular attention to the underside of the leaves. Since oil and water do not mix, the dish soap serves as emulsifier and helps the two components mix well.

Check out the below video to see how I mix neem oil with soap and water to fight spider mites:

Mealybugs are white, fuzzy pests. To get rid of mealybugs, use a solution of isopropyl alcohol and water (1 part alcohol, 10 parts water). First spray on a small part of the plant and wait 48 hours. If the plant is fine and there is no damage, you can treat the whole plant. Make sure to cover the topside and underside of all leaves. And of course, repeat for as long as it is necessary.

Mr. Houseplant in the blue t-shirt holding his plant

Mr. Houseplant and his beautiful String of Turtles


Is String of Turtles Plant Easy to Care For?

Yes, String of Turtles plant is easy to care for. String of Turtles isn’t too demanding, but you will have to provide sufficient indirect light and not overwater it.

How to Get a Full String of Turtles Plant?

In order to get a full string of turtles, you need to do the following:

  • Provide the plant with bright indirect light (light over 3,000 lux). The more the better. If you lack natural light, get grow lights.
  • Let the soil dry out fully before watering
  • Prune some of the stems to encourage branching out
  • Be patient – it can take some time for the plant to grow new shoots and become fuller

If your plant doesn’t become fuller after several months, you can propagate several strands and pot them to make the plant look fuller.

How Long Can Peperomia Prostrata Plants Live?

Peperomia Prostrata can live for many years with proper care. To do so, provide it with bright indirect light (light over 3,000 lux). It is a semi succulent plant, so it does not require frequent watering. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering.

Why Do Peperomia Prostrata Leaves Turn Yellow?

Occasional yellowing leaves on Peperomia Prostrata is natural. As your plant grows, the older leaves will die and get replaced with new ones. However, if your plant has lots of yellowing leaves in a short timeframe, that could indicate a problem with overwatering, underwatering or pests.

Why Are the Leaves of My Peperomia Prostrata Plant Turning Red?

The most common cause of leaves turning red on your Peperomia Prostrata plant is a lot of exposure to direct sunlight/direct light. The leaves turn reddish due to anthocyanins in the plant, but this is nothing bad. It’s just showing that the plant is getting a lot of sunlight. But remember, String of Turtles can tolerate only a few hours of direct light. Too much direct sunlight can cause sunburns or bleached leaves.

Can a Peperomia Plant Grow in Low Light?

Yes, a Peperomia plant can grow in low light (under 1,000 lux), but it will be leggy, will not have many leaves, and will be more prone to pests and diseases.

Like any other plant, String of Turtles needs light to photosynthesize. The light shouldn’t be below 1,000 lux (100FC). If you can supply your plant with 2,500 lux of even 5,000-10,000 lux (500-1,000FC), it will grow faster and be happier and healthier. And of course, you can always use grow lights to supplement or replace natural light.

How to Grow String of Turtles Outdoors?

You can grow your String of Turtles outside all year round if you’re in a warm area, or during spring and summer if you have colder autumns and winters.

Keeping the plant outside will provide it with much more light than indoors, but make sure not to expose it to sunlight for more than 2-3 hours per day. Also, the soil will be drying out much faster outdoor so you will have to check it more often and if necessary, increase the watering. String of Turtles doesn’t prefer very warm temperatures. The optimal temperature is between 18 to 24 C° (65 to 75 F°). Don’t expose them to frost or freezing temperatures.

If you have any more questions or doubts regarding the care for String of Turtles, feel free to reach out and schedule a call with me. Or if you want to talk about other plants, I’d be happy to help.

Yours Truly,

Yours Truly,