Common Issues with String of Dolphins Succulent and How to Fix Them

common-issues-with-string-of-dolphins-succulent-and-how-to-fix-them

Behold the String of Dolphins, a rare and distinctive succulent boasting stems that bear an uncanny resemblance to miniature dolphins. This hybrid plant, born from the string of pearls and candle plants, produces dainty white flowers that come fall. It's an absolute must-have for any avid plant collector.

String of Dolphins gained popularity in the United States in 2019, and even after all this time, this succulent variety continues to hold its own against other trailing succulents like String of Pearls.

This blog aims to delve into the reasons behind its immense popularity and shed light on some common care concerns that enthusiasts may encounter when cultivating this captivating plant.

Why is String of Dolphins succulent so popular?

 

1. Dolphin-Shaped Leaves

 

The leaves of the String of Dolphins plant bear a striking resemblance to leaping dolphins, hence its common name. Each leaf exhibits a pointed tip and an elegant curved form, reminiscent of playful marine creatures. This unique leaf structure distinguishes it and adds a captivating touch to any collection of succulents.

the-leaf-of-string-of-dolphins-likes-a-cute-dolphin

2. Trailing Growth Habit

 

In contrast to the upright growth pattern commonly observed in many succulents, the String of Dolphins showcases a trailing habit. Its stems elongate and gracefully cascade downward, producing a stunning visual effect when planted in hanging baskets or elevated planters. This trailing growth habit introduces a dynamic and visually captivating element to any arrangement or display.

string-of-dolphins-succulent-in-a-hanging-planter

3. Rare and Uncommon

 

String of Dolphins stands out as a relatively rare succulent variety, making it a prized find compared to more widely available succulents. Its exceptional leaf shape and trailing growth habit enhance its appeal among enthusiasts and collectors of succulents. Including this plant in your collection can instill a sense of pride and admiration among fellow succulent lovers, appreciating its rarity and unique characteristics.

 

Common issues with String of Dolphins Succulent and How to fix them

 

1. Susceptibility to Mealybugs

 

Mealybugs pose a common threat to the well-being of Dolphin succulents. These tiny, cottony white insects feed on the plant's sap, which in turn can result in sooty mold and the yellowing of leaves. Click here to learn how to treat sooty mold.

Mealybugs are often introduced to plants through various means, such as contaminated soil, infested neighboring plants, or exposure to outdoor environments. Additionally, overwatering, high humidity, and inadequate air circulation can create conditions that favor mealybug infestations.

mealybugs-feeding-on-succulent-detailed-image.

How to solve mealybugs on String of Dolphins?

To effectively manage mealybug infestations on your String of Dolphins, it's important to develop a routine of regular plant inspections. Thoroughly examine the leaves, stems, and crevices for any signs of mealybugs. If you spot them, take immediate action to prevent further spread.

For manual removal, prepare a cotton swab and moisten it with rubbing alcohol. Gently dab the swab on the affected areas, targeting both the insects and their eggs. This method helps eliminate existing mealybugs.

In severe infestations, consider using natural insecticides such as insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils. Follow the product instructions carefully to ensure safe and effective application. Click here to learn how to use neem oil to get rid of mealybugs.

use-insecticide-to-get-rid-of-mealybugs-on-succulent-plants.

Isolate the infested plant if you have multiple plants. This prevents mealybugs from spreading and causing damage to other plants.

Continuously monitor the plant and repeat treatments as necessary. Eradicating mealybugs may require multiple treatments, so be patient and persistent in your efforts.

By implementing these measures, you can effectively control and eliminate mealybug infestations on your String of Dolphins, ensuring the plant's health and vitality.

How to avoid pest infection on String of Dolphins?

First, it's essential to quarantine new plants before introducing them to your collection. Thoroughly examine the plants, being attentive to any indications of pests like mealybugs. This step helps prevent the spread of infestations to your existing plants.

Creating optimal growing conditions is also crucial. Provide your String of Dolphins with the right amount of light, well-draining succulent soil, and proper watering practices. Healthy plants are more resistant to pests, including mealybugs.

Avoid overwatering your String of Dolphins, as these plants prefer dry conditions. Ensure that the soil has the opportunity to dry between waterings to avoid an excess of moisture, which can serve as an attraction for pests. Click here to learn how bottom water hanging succulents.

 

Increasing airflow around your plants is another effective measure. Mealybugs thrive in stagnant conditions, so ensure proper air circulation by placing your String of Dolphins in a well-ventilated area.

Regular maintenance is key to preventing and addressing pest issues. Make it a habit to regularly inspect your plants for any signs of pests, including mealybugs. If you notice any issues, take prompt action to address them.

2. Prone to Leggy/Stretched out

 

Legginess in plants is characterized by the elongation of stems, resulting in weak and spindly growth. This phenomenon typically occurs when the plant lacks adequate light, causing the stems to stretch and reach out in search of more light. Insufficient light leads to the elongation of stems, compromising their strength and overall plant structure. Click here to learn how much light succulents need.

Why my String of Dolphins grow leggy?

Insufficient light is the primary cause of legginess in String of Dolphins succulents. When these plants do not receive an adequate amount of light, they tend to elongate their stems in an attempt to reach out for more light, leading to the development of long stems and a reduction in the number of leaves.

How to deal with leggy/Stretched String of Dolphins?

To address legginess in your String of Dolphins, it is crucial to provide the plant with sufficient light. Position it in a well-lit area where it can receive several hours of indirect sunlight daily. If natural light is limited, consider supplementing it with artificial grow lights to ensure the plant receives the necessary light intensity. Click here how to care for succulents with grow light.

string-of-dolphins-succulent-thriving-and-growing-strong-in-the-sunlight-at-tng-succulent-farm

Promote compact and bushy growth by pruning your String of Dolphins. Trim back the long and leggy stems, making the cuts just above a leaf node. This pruning technique stimulates new growth and encourages the hanging succulent to fill out, resulting in a more desirable shape and structure.

What needs to do to prevent String of Dolphins from stretching out?

To prevent legginess in your String of Dolphins succulent, it is crucial to establish proper lighting conditions right from the beginning. Place the succulent plant in a well-lit area, avoiding locations with low light levels.

Additionally, regularly rotate your plant to promote even growth on all sides. This practice prevents the plant from leaning towards a single light source, helping maintain a more balanced and compact growth habit.

3. Dolphins succulent losing leaves

 

When caring for String of Dolphins, it is crucial to be mindful of the delicate nature of its leaves. There are several factors that contribute to their fragility, and having an understanding of these factors can assist you in providing optimal care for your plant.

the-leaves-of-string-of-dolphins-succulent-turn-yellow-and-fall-off.

Why do my String of Dolphins lose leaves?

Overwatering: When the soil retains excessive moisture, it can lead to root rot, compromising the overall health of the plant and increasing the fragility of its leaves.

Insufficient light: Insufficient lighting conditions can result in the development of weak and thin leaves that are more susceptible to breakage. String of Dolphins thrives in bright, indirect light, and ensuring proper light exposure is essential for maintaining robust foliage.

Physical damage: Careless handling or accidental impacts can cause damage to the leaves and make them more fragile. It is important to handle the plant with caution, avoiding unnecessary touching or movement that could potentially harm the delicate leaves. Therefore, the presence of fallen leaves during transportation is inevitable, and these small dolphin leaves can be propagated. Click here to learn how to propagate succulent plants from leaves.

How to encourage String of Dolphins grow stronger?

To mitigate the fragility of the leaves, it is crucial to implement the following measures:

Maintain proper watering: Avoid overwatering the succulent, as excessive moisture can cause leaf rot and brittleness. Give the soil a chance to partially dry out between each watering to prevent it from becoming completely dry or overly saturated.

Ensure adequate light: Position the String of Dolphins plant in a spot that receives bright, indirect light. Insufficient light can lead to weak and delicate leaves.

the-string-of-dolphins-succulent-is-healthy-indoors-under-indirect-sunlight.

Handle with care: Exercise gentleness when handling the plant to minimize the risk of leaf breakage. Avoid unnecessary touching or movement that could cause damage.

By following these steps, you can help alleviate the fragility of the leaves and promote the overall health of your String of Dolphins plant.

4. How to Make String of Dolphins Fuller?

 

To make your String of Dolphins fuller, you can employ a few techniques.

First, ensure it receives adequate indirect sunlight or provide artificial grow lights if needed. Proper lighting promotes healthy growth and helps the plant achieve a fuller appearance.

Maintaining a balanced watering routine is crucial. To promote healthy growth and avoid sparse foliage, it's important to allow the soil to partially dry between each watering and prevent overwatering, which can lead to sparse growth. Using the soil moisture meter to find the right balance in watering supports the plant's health and encourages fuller leaves. 

water-string-of-dolphins-succulent-plants

Regular pruning helps shape the plant and stimulates growth. Trim back leggy stems to encourage branching and promote denser foliage, resulting in a fuller and more compact appearance.

Consider propagating your String of Dolphins by taking stem cuttings or leaves. This not only helps increase the volume of the plant but also adds more leaves, contributing to a fuller and lusher display. Click here to learn extra tips on succulent propagation.

String of Dolphins is a low-maintenance succulent that doesn't require regular fertilizing. Over-fertilizing can actually lead to the loss of the plant's distinctive dolphin-shaped leaves. It's best to adopt a minimal fertilization approach to avoid any potential damage.

While String of Dolphins doesn't need frequent fertilization, light feeding in the early spring can be beneficial. This can help stimulate growth and encourage blooming. Organic fertilizers are generally preferred for String of Dolphins. Worm compost, rich in beneficial microorganisms and nutrients, can be used as a layer of fertilizer on top of soil or incorporated into the potting mix. Liquid kelp, derived from seaweed, is another excellent choice as it contains trace minerals and growth-promoting substances. Fish emulsion, made from decomposed fish, is a nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer that can be diluted and applied to the soil. Click here to choose the best fertilizer for your succulents.

Lastly, consider increasing humidity around the plant. String of Dolphins thrives in slightly more humid conditions, so placing a water-filled tray nearby or using a humidifier can create a more favorable environment for healthier foliage and a fuller appearance.

By implementing these techniques, you can encourage fuller growth in your String of Dolphins plant and enhance its overall visual appeal.

5. How to Propagate String of Dolphins?

 

String of Dolphins can be a bit challenging to propagate, but there are a few different methods you can try. The most common propagation methods for String of Dolphins include stem cuttings and leaves.

Among these two methods, stem cuttings are generally considered the easiest and most reliable for propagating trailing succulents. This is because succulent stem cuttings have a higher chance of developing roots and growing into new plants compared to leaf propagation.

Steps by steps guide:

  • 1. Choose a vigorous stem from the original dolphins succulent, ensuring it has a few sets of leaves.
  • 2. Utilize a sterilized and sharp pair of scissors or pruners to perform the task, make a clean cut just below a leaf node.
use-sharp-scissors-to-cut-off-the-stems-of-string-of-dolphins-succulent-for-propagation.
  • 3. Leave the stem cuttings undisturbed for a few days until the severed end develops a hardened tissue layer.
drying-the-cut-wounds-on-the-stems-of-string-of-dolphins-succulent
  • 4. Once calloused, place the cutting in a well-draining potting mix for succulents, burying the bottom nodes and leaving the leaves exposed.
  • 5. Keep the soil lightly moist and provide indirect light. In a matter of weeks, the cutting will initiate root formation and commence its growth.

After you've successfully propagated String of Dolphins using stem cuttings, it's important to provide proper care for the newly rooted stem cuttings:

Place the stem cuttings in a well-draining pot with a suitable succulent or cactus potting mix. Position the pot in a location with bright, indirect light. Carefully water the stem cuttings in moderation, ensuring that the soil is allowed to fully dry between each watering to prevent any risk of rot. Gradually acclimate the new plants to longer durations of sunlight, as they may be sensitive to direct sunlight initially.

Once the stem cuttings have established roots and started growing, you can treat them like mature String of Dolphins plants, following the same care guidelines for watering, light, and temperature.

6. Is String of Dolphins Toxic to Cats or Dogs?

 

The String of Dolphins (Senecio peregrinus) plant can be toxic to pets if consumed. It contains compounds that can be harmful, particularly to cats and dogs. Ingesting the plant can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. In more severe cases, it may result in symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, and even damage to organs.

To ensure the safety of your pets, it's crucial to keep the String of Dolphins plants out of their reach. Consider placing it in an area where they cannot access it, or choose non-toxic alternatives if you have concerns about their well-being.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested any part of the String of Dolphins plant or if you notice any worrying symptoms, it is vital to seek immediate veterinary assistance. A vet can offer the appropriate advice and care to ensure your pet's health and well-being. Click here to find more pet-safe succulents.

7. Pairing String of Dolphins with Other Succulents

 

Pairing String of Dolphins (Senecio peregrinus) with other succulents can create visually pleasing combinations. Here are some suggestions for pairing String of Dolphins with other succulents:

Succulent dish garden: Combine String of Dolphins with different varieties of succulents in a shallow dish or container to create a diverse succulent dish garden. Suitable companions may include Echeveria, Haworthia, or Crassula species.

Hanging arrangements: Hang String of Dolphins in a hanging basket, vertical planter, or wall-mounted container and pair it with other trailing succulents. Suitable options for pairing include String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii), String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus), or Donkey's Tail (Sedum morganianum).

a-4-inch-variegated-string-of-heart

Layered compositions: Create multi-tiered succulent compositions in large pots or flower beds. Place String of Dolphins at a higher level and pair it with shorter-growing succulents such as Red Echeveria (Echeveria agavoides), Tiger's Jaw (Faucaria tigrina), or Graptopetalum species.

Contrasting shapes: Choose succulents with contrasting shapes to the String of Dolphins for visual interest. For example, pair it with spherical or star-shaped succulents like Echinocactus or Aloe vera hybrids.

Regardless of the pairing style you choose, ensure that each succulent receives appropriate growing conditions, including adequate sunlight, proper watering, and suitable soil. Additionally, be mindful of any toxicity concerns and choose non-toxic succulents if you have pets in your home.

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, the String of Dolphins is a remarkable succulent that stands out with its dolphin-shaped leaves. Proper care includes addressing common issues such as pests and leggy growth. Take precautions as it is toxic to pets. If you decide to propagate it, remember to handle it with care. Additionally, consider pairing it with other succulents to create visually appealing displays. Embrace the unique beauty of the String of Dolphins in your succulent collection and enjoy its captivating presence!

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1 thought on “Common Issues with String of Dolphins Succulent and How to Fix Them

t4s-avatar
Judy

My string of dolphins is dying. When it arrived it was very young and not established well. It was growing new dolphins,but suddenly it started dying. I moved it to a South facing window, which seemed to help, but now It just has leaves that aren’t developing into dolphins, just healthy green leaves. HELP

November 5, 2023 at 19:43pm

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