One may be forgiven for mistaking a strand of tears for a strand of pearls. Nevertheless, both South and East Africa’s dry regions are home to these vining succulents with their stringy, clingy leaves. Although they are closely related, each of these plants has developed somewhat different requirements for optimal growth, which I will discuss in detail below.
The succulent leaves of a string of tears are small and pointed like tears. A single foot in height is possible for the stem. The string of pearls plant is easily identified by its long, 1-3 ft. stem and its small, pea-shaped succulent leaves.
However, in our guide, you can learn much more about the string of beads VS. string of pearls and what makes them different. By the end, you’ll know what you are looking for between these closely related plants. (Read Hoya Carnosa Krimson Queen Guide)
Difference Between String of Tears and String of Pearls
Senecio citriformis, now known as Curio citriformis, was the old name for the string of tears.
Since the genus was changed to Curio, the pearl string is occasionally referred to as Curio rowleyanus.
|String of Tears||String of Pearls|
|USDA Zones||Zones 10a-11b||Zones 9-12|
|Scientific Name||Curio citriformis or Senecio citriformis||Senecio rowleyanus orCurio rowleyanus|
|Mature Height||1 ft. (30 cm)||1-2ft. (30-60 cm)|
|Mature Width||1.6 ft. (50 cm)||1-3 ft. (30-90 cm)|
|Growth Rate||2 years to maturity||1-2 inches per month|
|Habit||Trailing or vining habit||Trailing or creeping habit|
|Light Requirement||Partial shade or bright, indirect light||6-8 hours daily of a combination of direct and indirect sunlight|
|Soil Type||Extremely draining succulent or cactus soil||Succulent, cactus, or sandy soil with inorganic chunks|
|Soil pH||Neutral pH||6.6-7.5|
|Watering Frequency||7-10 days||7-14 days (or when top ½-inch of soil has dried out)|
|Pests||Mealybugs and fungus gnats||Usually pest-free, but watch out for aphids and mealybugs|
|Diseases||Fungal root rot||Fungal root rot|
String Shape and Texture
These plants are succulents; thus, their leaves store water thanks to their form, color, and texture help. It is this adaptive foliage that helps reduce water loss in arid regions.
The string tears plants have teardrop-shaped succulent leaves (up to 0.3 inches in diameter), and each string has vertical tips that point upwards.
Each leaf’s clear window reveals purple stripes inside, and the waxy coating is slightly sticky to touch on the leaves.
The attractive leaves of the string of pearls are small, practically spherical, and pea-like. They’re smooth to the touch and grow on trailing stems.
A string of tears is a succulent trailing plant, and in native habitats, the stringy stem trails run along the ground and form dense mats.
A string of tears is a more compact form than the pearls string shape. As a result, the pea-shaped leaves on the creeping stems can fall over the container.
The stem can reach 4 feet when ripe, and node roots ensure a rich trailing dense mats of ground cover and absorb water/nutrients. (Read Hawaiian Pothos Vs Golden Pothos)
On a string of tears, the leaf shape delivers raindrop-shaped leaves. They have longitudinal translucent strips of various shades of green, from delicate to deep.
The plant may appear slightly glossy because of the waxy coating.
A string of pearls is made up of succulent, light-green leaves with gray-green stems. When in good health in the spring and summer, the foliage may turn a mild shade of deep green.
A string of tears will bloom from late summer through early winter if the circumstances are ideal. On wiry stalks that can reach a height of 6 inches (15 cm), they have tiny heads that are yellowish cream in color.
The pearl string’s end blooms with white blossoms sometime in the early summer. However, take in mind that when cultivated inside, your pearl string most likely won’t reach the floor with spreading stems.
The string of tears is an evergreen perennial plant that blooms with characteristic tiny white flowers from late summer to early winter with a delightful scent of cinnamon.
The white, daisy-like blossoms on the string of pearls are only half an inch long and bloom seasonally, primarily in the summer.
Once the growing season starts, use half-strength water-soluble fertilizer twice a week.
The growth habit of a string of tears plants can be creeping or trailing. Depending on how it is planted or grown, this will vary, such as close to the floor in pots or hanging baskets.
The thorny stalks will naturally leave a trail on the ground. The string of pearls displays a creeping and trailing growth pattern.
Height and Structure
A string of tears might have stiff stems extending up to a foot. When fully grown, the plant can grow to a height of up to one foot.
When the cream-colored, trumpet-shaped flowers appear from the mat of leaves, the stems come together to form a bunch of strings that sparkle.
The string of pearls can reach a maximum height of 1-2 feet when it is an adult plant (30-60 cm). The plant has a central base from which the stems shoot outward like strings of peas from the pot.
They typically fill the container to the brim or tumble over, making for an eye-catching display.
The string of tears performs best when exposed to both direct and indirect bright sunshine.
The string of pearls requires a combination of brilliant, indirect sunlight and direct sun exposure. Make sure your priceless pearls receive the mixture for 6–8 hours.
The string of tears prefers neutral pH soil and favors cactus or succulent soil with a considerable amount of loamy soil.
The string of pearls may flourish in extremely well-draining sandy soil, while preferring neutral to acidic soil pH.
On average, the string of tears can reach a height of one foot. The majority of its stem is dark green to purplish. However, if exposed to direct sunshine, the purple of the stem and the leaves darkens. (Read Aloe Plant Turning Red)
Similarities Of String of Tears Vs. String of Pearls
Both require plenty of bright light. They should ideally get at least six hours of direct, bright light. The string of pearls, however, can withstand several hours of direct sunshine.
An east-facing window can be enough for the String of Tears plant care and to see your string of tears flower, yet it may not be enough for your pearls light requirement.
The spring of pearls and tears may withstand infrequent watering, although the potting soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out.
You should water your plants when their distinctively spherical and teardrop-shaped leaves flatten. However, the soil will advise you when to water more accurately.
When growth is at its peak, from early spring through summer, ensure the soil is damp.
Check if the top 2-3 inches of soil have dried off. If so, water once more; if not, check after every 4-5 days.
Be careful not to let your tears or pearl string get too wet. Diseases, bugs, and rot will attract wet or soggy soil.
Both plants will flourish splendidly with a well-draining cactus or succulent potting mix. You can add wood, pebbles, or fibers to enhance drainage if the soil contains any clay.
The string of tears, in particular, prefers to be planted in sandy, loamy, or gravely soil mixtures, which should be on the dry side.
Both plants love soil with a neutral pH value. However, the string of pearls likes a slightly acidic soil with a pH of around 6.5-7.5.
In particular, if the soil is fertile enough, the string of tears doesn’t need much fertilizer. So instead, use standard liquid or water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. Apply only once in the summer, diluted to half-strength.
Use a water-soluble fertilizer to feed your string of pearls twice a month in the spring and summer.
Before application, reformulate your liquid houseplant fertilizer to half-strength as well. Remember that throughout the winter, you should only feed your string of pearls once.
Pest and Diseases
When kept indoors, both plants are typically free of diseases and pests. They may, however, have root and stem rot because of excessive humidity, overwatering, or inadequate circulation.
Mealybugs, aphids, or fungus gnats are possible but uncommon. Use branded insecticides. You can also use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil as an alternative.
All Curio and Senecio plant are moderately toxic. Specifically, humans, cats, and dogs are affected by a string of tears and the string of pearls. They create sap in humans, which irritates the skin.
When consumed, it may cause lethargy, drooling, rash breakouts, mouth and skin irritation, diarrhea, and vomiting, all toxic intoxication symptoms in pets.
- Use a sheer curtain to prevent direct sunlight.
- Outdoors, keep away from direct sunlight and give them partial shade close to a tree or wall.
- In the winter, keep your plant near a window for sufficient light.
- Hang your plant in hanging baskets rather than keep it on the floor and make the most of the growing string of trailing stems.
- The wrong soil, over-fertilizing, and over-watering make a plant susceptible to pests and insects.
Wash leaves with Neem oil and Insecticidal soap.
Why is my String of Pearls and String of Tears Turning Yellow?
When the soil is unhealthy, and the plants are overwatered, they both begin to yellow. In addition, over-watering may cause moist feet, which may ultimately cause yellowing.
Use aerated, well-draining soil, and only water when the top inch of the soil is dry.
Why is my String of Pearls and String of Tears Turning Brown?
Browning of the raindrop-shaped leaves can be caused by several things, including inadequate hydration, low humidity, and excessive sunshine in a mature plant.
Keep a regular watering regimen and avoid putting the plants in the sun. For each of these plants, a humidity level of between 40 and 50 percent will be ideal and avoid poor circulation to help stop fungus gnats. (Learn How To Tell If Succulent Leaf Is Calloused)
How Long Does String of Pearls and String of Tears Live?
Both plants have a limited lifespan and will deteriorate once they reach maturity. Depending on their care, their lifespan is typically between three and five years.
Why does my String of Pearls and String of Tears keep dying?
The quick death of your plants is probably due to over-watering. To avoid root rot, these plants must have their soil completely dry out between waterings.
Do String of Pearls and String of Tears like to be misted?
For misting, it’s advisable to employ other sources of moisture and humidity. For example, wet pearls leaves from improper misting can readily attract pests and spread illness.
It is also possible to carry out infrequent watering and wait until the soil surface is dry before watering your hanging baskets again.