The String of Dolphins also referred to as the dolphin plant, is a succulent draping plant that is one of the easiest plants to take care of.
This is due to the plant being drought-resistant,
can withstand cold temperatures, and does not require frequent fertilization for healthy growth.
A String of Dolphins is characterized by its iconic leaves and hanging tendrils.
They bloom to give puffy white flowers with tiny colored filaments that sway in the wind in spring.
When grouped with other succulents in a hanging basket,
the dolphin-shaped cascading leaves of the plant add a unique, fascinating charm to our interiors.
Alternatively, a String of Dolphins can also be led to grow upwards on a trellis or balcony to build a beautiful vertical garden.
A String of Dolphins is a hybrid plant of two different species, String of Pearls and candle plant.
Senecio peregrinus is the scientific name for this plant. It is a native plant of Southwest Africa.
These plants are most commonly grown indoors to add a charming vibe to the living space.
However, they can also be grown outdoors, granted that proper plant care is maintained.
String of Dolphins Plant Care
The String of Dolphins despises overwatering and is best grown in shaded areas with sufficient exposure to bright indirect light. It can resist cold temperatures down to 40 Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius) and does not require a heavily fertilized potting medium to thrive.
Basic Plant Care
A String of Dolphins requires a soil mix very similar to that of succulent plants and cacti.
Well-drained soil is essential; otherwise, the plant will rot if overwatered.
Alternatively, you can compose your soil mixture for this plant by combining two parts potting soil, 1 part sand, and 1 part perlite.
Perlite is a valuable component that enhances water drainage.
Also, make sure to sterilize the soil to kill disease-causing organisms appropriately.
Succulent plants like this one are not great fans of overwatering.
So take care not to water your plant daily. A String of Dolphins has the ability to hold water for an extended length of time.
It has below-average water needs relative to other plants,
and String of Dolphins can also withstand drought conditions due to ample water storage.
The most prominent cue for watering is dry soil.
Do not water the plant if the soil is still wet, as overwatering mediates root rot in no time.
Moreover, avoid watering the plant during the fall and winter seasons as the plant goes dormant.
Under the sun’s hot glare, a String of dolphins will instantly burn and die.
Therefore, please keep it away from intense sunlight exposure.
At the same time, ensure that the plant receives at least six hours of daily sunlight exposure.
It is ideal for placing the plant in a south-facing window, where the shafts of sunlight are not too intense.
Since scorching heat can easily damage the plant, it is best to grow it in the shade where it receives sufficient indirect light.
A String of dolphins can also grow well indoors when exposed to medium light.
Unlike other succulent plants, a String of dolphins can withstand freezing temperatures of around 40 Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius).
As a result, they may thrive in cold climates.
However, keep in mind that these plants are not frost-hardy and would require protection from snow and frost.
A String of Dolphins grows quite well indoors, at average room temperature.
Hence, you should bring your plant indoors if the temperature outside gets colder.
Being a water-retaining plant, a String of dolphins prefers a dry environment with moderate-to-low humidity levels.
It is better to keep it away from your tropical plants, which require much higher humidity.
And instead, you can group all your succulent plants and cacti and grow them in the same spot.
There is also no need to regularly mist your plant or use a humidifier, humid tray, or pebble tray indoors.
Remember that high humidity can actually facilitate the development of leaf rot and can hence prove deadly for plant growth.
One of the essential tips that you can get when it comes to growing a String of dolphins is never to fertilize too often.
These plants are not heavy feeders and do not require a rich supply of minerals and nutrients.
Over-fertilizing the plant can cause its leaves to shrivel and lose their dolphin shape.
If you feel that your plant is thriving and looks plump and fresh, there’s no need to fertilize the soil.
Ideally, you should fertilize once or twice a year during the spring season.
When fertilizing, go for slow time-release organic fertilizers,
as these do not overwhelm the plant and provide a steady supply of nutrients.
Moreover, organic fertilizers are a safer alternative to synthetic ones.
Potting and Repotting
A String of Dolphins loves being root-bound.
It is one of those peculiar plants that do not need to be occasionally repotted and, in fact, thrive in a root-bound condition.
Being root-bound also encourages the growth of tiny white blooms that enhance the plant’s outlook.
It is best to repot the plant every few years, replace the soil mixture with a fresh one, and use a bigger pot to accommodate its increased size.
When it comes to choosing the ideal pot for growth, choose one that has drainage holes to preclude waterlogging and root rot.
You can go for both plastic and terracotta plants; however, terracotta ones are preferred as they absorb excess soil moisture.
Since a String of dolphins features trailing stems, there is a need to prune the plant occasionally.
Its leaves normally dangle off the pot, and hence you can prune some leaves to maintain the desired plant size.
Pruning dead and yellow leaves also enable the plant to grow thicker.
One of the best ways of propagating a String of dolphins plant is via stem cuttings.
This method is relatively straightforward, and once you have a hang of it, you can use it to propagate other plants in your garden.
Use a pocket knife to cut out stems with at least 2-3 nodes and place them in water or soil.
Nodes are the points on the stems from where leaves emerge and from where new roots will grow.
Avoid damaging the remainder of the plant while cutting the stems. Since the stems of these plants are pretty fragile, handle them gently.
In the very beginning, if you are propagating your stem cuttings in water, make sure to remove the leaves in the bottom nodes.
Otherwise, the leaves will rot. Place the stem cutting in water for a week, and soon you will observe new roots sprouting.
Once the roots develop, move the stem cutting to a soil mixture to properly grow your clone plant.
If you are directly propagating your stem cutting in soil, begin with laying the cutting on the top layer of the soil.
Water the soil adequately so that the stem cutting is hydrated. It takes a few days for roots to develop.
A String of dolphins plant usually blooms in the spring
and develops puffy white flowers with delicate filaments that are either pink, yellow, or red.
These flowers typically have a cinnamon-like scent that will fill the air of your garden or living space.
The number and quality of flowers largely depend upon the type of plant care provided.
Diligent care for the plant’s needs will manifest as substantial flower growth during spring.
When this plant reaches maturity, the height is about 0.5 ft. (0.15m). They reach their mature height in 90 days.
In their first nine months of growth, they can grow up to 1.7 ft. (0.5m), demonstrating an impressive growth rate.
Common Problems for String of Dolphins
The most common disease that commonly affects String of Dolphins is root rot.
Consistent overwatering can cause the roots to become soggy and, over time, start to decay.
To avoid root rot, try to follow correct watering techniques.
While watering your plant, watch out for any mushy roots near the soil line.
If you observe any soggy roots, hold off watering till the soil appears dry.
Remember, a String of dolphins is better off being slightly under-watered than being soaked in too much water.
In cases where severe root rot has engulfed the whole plant,
you will have no other choice but to cut off healthy stems, propagate them elsewhere, and get rid of the rotted plant.
Ideally, avoiding overwatering, using well-drained soil,
and using a pot with enough drainage holes will prevent any development of root rot.
This specie of plant usually is not attacked by pests. The healthy String of dolphin plants is somewhat resistant to pests.
In case of a pest attack, you should know precisely how to act.
If houseplant pests infect your plant, use a neem oil spray and sprinkle it all over the plant.
In 250 ml water, add two tsp of neem oil and 1 tsp liquid Castile soap to form a solution.
Spray this solution on the foliage to kill the pests. Continue spraying the solution once every week until you get rid of the bugs.
Tips for Growing String of Dolphins
- A String of dolphin plants do not require too much watering and are typically drought-resistant plants that grow well in dry conditions.
- Strictly avoid exposing the plant to hours of bright direct sunlight. The scorching heat of the sun can damage the leaves, causing the plant to die.
- Grow the plant in a shaded area, where it receives 5-6 hours of indirect sunlight daily.
- These plants do not require much fertilization, and hence you can fertilize the soil once or twice every year.
- It is unnecessary to repot the plant frequently, as these plants grow well in root-bound conditions.
- Prune flowers and dead leaves occasionally to help enable propagation of the plant.
- Propagation of dolphin plants can be administered through stem cuttings.
- Cuttings of fleshy stems can be propagated in either soil or water and transferred to a pot to grow a clone plant.
Frequently Asked Questions about String of Dolphins
Why is my String of Dolphins turning brown?
When it comes to the browning of leaves, there’s always either under-watering or overwatering involved.
To better adjust your watering technique, stick to watering the plant only when the soil visibly appears dry.
Pooling water in the soil can wash out necessary nutrients and eventually lead to root rot.
Why does my String of Dolphins plant have flat leaves?
There are two possible reasons why your String of dolphins plant has flat leaves.
It is either because you have severely overwatered the plant or the plant is placed in a location where there is a lack of sunlight exposure.
You are the greatest judge of which scenario your plant fits into.
Water the plant just when the soil seems dry, and avoid overwatering.
Moreover, relocate your plant to a spot where it receives adequate sunlight.
Adopt both measures for a week, and you will observe your plant regaining its fleshy plump appearance.
Why is my String of Dolphins dying?
Your dolphin plant might appear to die when it is either under or overwatered.
Make sure that you are not frequently watering your plant. Avoid misting the leaves in between waterings.
If the plant’s leaves appear wrinkled and dry, adequately soak the potting medium with water.
Continue watering the plant for a week, and help it regain its total health.
Why is my dolphin plant turning yellow?
Overexposure to the sun causes the leaves of the dolphin plant to become yellow.
You are likely growing the plant in a location with excessive amounts of sunlight.
The scorching heat can damage the leaves, making them turn yellow and eventually brown.
To avoid this situation, place your plant in a shaded area where the plant can receive an adequate amount of indirect light.
You can also place your plant indoors and expose it to bright artificial light.
Conclusion On String of Dolphins Care
A string of dolphins is an easy-to-grow indoor and outdoor houseplant.
Its unique foliage and cascading stems add to your living room as vivid feel.
Proper plant care will ensure that your plant thrives for years to come.
Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.