HOW TO CARE FOR STRING OF BUTTONS

Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0 US https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons

The Crassula perforata plant, which is also known as the String of Buttons is a small succulent plant grown for ornamental purposes. This beautiful plant has beautiful leaves that are stacked over one another and create a bead or string. That is why it is known as the string of buttons. Due to its beautiful appearance, it is used as an indoor decoration plant in homes and offices. This plant is native to harsh desert areas but due to its growing demand in the ornamental plant market, it is now being grown worldwide.

The String of Buttons a variegated species of the Crassula perforata. It is less susceptible to common threats that can kill a normal succulent plant. The String of Buttons can even grow in cold areas but requires protection from snow. Long-term exposure to snow can damage this plant’s leaves and can also kill it. That is why it should be protected from the snow and extreme cold conditions. Below is a complete care guide related String of Buttons.

OVERVIEW

Common NameThe string of Buttons, Necklace Vine, Pagoda Plant
Scientific NameCrassula perforata
Genus, FamilyCrassula, Crassulaceae
SizeSmall, up to 1.5 feet long and 2 feet wide
Color of stem, leaves, and flowersThe stem is green colored, leaves are also green with purple color on the edges. Flowers have a yellow color.
Flowering SeasonSpring, late spring in cold areas
Perennial/Annual.Perennials
HardinessUSDA zone 9 to 12
Temperature rangeMust be kept at room temperature. Protected from cold
SunlightFull sunlight exposure for most of the day
Growth RateSlow growing plant

Lineage

The Crassula Perforata or String of button belongs to the Crassula Genus that is a member of the desert plant’s family Crassulaceae. Plants from this family are known for their survival skills against the harshest climate in the desert areas. This plant can store the water in its leaves that are stacked above one another creating a beautiful shape.

Most plants of this family are native to the South Africa desert areas. It was brought to the western world during the 18th century and since then it has been grown as an ornamental plant. It is now one of the most grown succulent plants from across the world. It is a variegated species that is why its leaves are slightly different from the other members of its family and genus.

aPPEARANCE

The String of Buttons also has thick leaves that can store water. But it is not the only thing that it has to conserve its water resources. Over the years, this plant has developed several mechanisms to fight water loss due to heat during the summer. Its leaves are stacked over one another and give it an appearance like a bead or a pagoda structure. Its tiny leaves surround its branches. Its branches spread around and also grow in an upward direction. If it is given proper space to grow, it can reach a height of up to 1.5 feet. The color of its leaves is mostly green but they have small purple-colored dots, also the edges of their leaves are purple-colored.

Flowering

The String of Buttons is a flowering plant and it blooms during the spring season. In cold areas, blooming may start later at the end of the spring. Their flowers are tiny and have a yellow color. This bloom is short-lived as the flowers only survive a few days. To maintain the beauty of this plant, mostly these flowers are plucked as soon as they grow, but you can keep them if you want.

Natural Habitat

 As the String of buttons is a succulent plant, and like all other succulent plants, it is also native to the desert areas. It is native to the South Africa desert where it faces extreme heat and full sunlight for most of the day. This plant grows on deserted rocky areas in the African region natively but it can also be grown in controlled environments in homes.

facts about the string of buttons

Here are some of the basic facts about Crassula perforata – String of Buttons

  • The String of Buttons is a variegated species of Crassula Perforata which is why its leaf color is slightly different from its other variants.
  • This plant is native to South African desert areas but is now grown worldwide to be used as an ornamental plant.
  • This plant grows leaves that are stacked over one another, giving it a shape like a bead or a pagoda. This helps this plant conserve more water by reducing the water loss during the harsh summer season in the desert.
  • This plant has better survival chances against cold weather than most other succulent plants, that is why it can also be grown in cold regions but it requires protection against snow and extreme cold.
  • The String of Buttons has multi-colored leaves and it also grows yellow flowers. It is one of the few plants from the succulent plant family that grows flowers.
  • It can also be grown in indoor environments if it is provided with a sufficient amount of sunlight every day.

Requirements to Grow Crassula perforata – String of Buttons

SoilNeutral to Slightly Acidic, Nutrient-rich, well-draining, porous
SunFull sunlight for most of the day, under low light growth, is restricted and limited.
WaterRegulated water supply once the upper layer of the potting soil has become dry.
FertilizerA mixture of water and Fertilizer to be fed at regular intervals.
TemperatureThrives at room temperature, growth is limited in cold regions.

Below are some of the requirements to grow Crassula perforata – String of Buttons.

Soil Requirements

Crassula perforata – String of buttons is a succulent plant that is why it has similar soil requirements. It needs the soil to be neutral to slightly acidic, well-draining, nutrient-rich, and porous. Soil should not trap any water inside it, because the roots of the String of Buttons are very delicate and can get damaged if the soil beneath it stores water. Such soil consists of fertilizers, sand, dirt, compost, pebbles, and perlite or pumice. These substances not only make it porous and well-draining but also provide it the required balance of nutrients that succulent plants need to grow. To boost its growth, you can add fertilizer after planting as well. Soil with the nutrient deficiency will not be able to support their growth and would restrict your plant’s height and spread.

Sunlight Requirements

The String of Button plant requires plenty of sunlight to grow and thrive, under low light conditions they can grow but will never reach their potential height or spread. Also, in low light, they will not bloom. Their light requirements are similar to most other succulent plants. If you are keeping them indoors, make sure to keep them somewhere bright. If you have a window that opens east, it would be the best place to keep them. You can also grow them outdoors, but make sure that they are not under the shade of your building or other plants. They need full sun to grow, under partial sunlight, their growth is restricted and limited. Sometimes, the String of Buttons also changes its color because of the light deficiency, if that happens, you must keep them in some bright place.

Temperature Requirements

The String of Buttons plant is capable of surviving the harshest weather in the desert areas, meaning that they can survive the hottest climates. But when they are planted in cold regions, they cannot survive if they are not protected from harsh cold or snowfall. According to USDA, it can survive in 9 to 12 zones. This means they can survive a temperature as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit. In zones that are colder than this, it won’t survive the winter. But you can still grow them in these zones as well, but you will have to keep them indoors to protect them from snowfall and below zero temperatures.

Water Requirements

As you know that the Crassula Perforata or String of Buttons is a succulent plant, it has similar water requirements as the other succulent plants. In summer succulent plants may require frequent watering but in winter and autumn, succulent plants only need a small quantity of water. To water your succulent plant, you should check the soil first. If the upper layer of the soil in the pot or in-ground has become dry, it is time to provide them water. You should avoid overwatering and underwatering as both are dangerous for this delicate plant.

Fertilizers Requirements

Succulent plants need a lot of nutrients to grow, and the String of Buttons is also no exception to this rule. You should mix some fertilizer in the potting soil so that it helps the plant grow in its initial days. After that, once the plant starts to grow, you should mix fertilizer in water and keep feeding this mixture to your plants at regular intervals. Regular fertilization helps maintain a sufficient amount of nutrients in the soil.

Repotting

The String of Buttons plant grows very slowly but it outgrows the pots it is initially planted. When that happens, it is time to shift this plant into a bigger pot. Keeping a full-grown plant in a small pot would only restrict its further growth. To avoid this, it is better to replant it into a bigger pot. First, you will have to prepare a bigger pot using the required type of soil. Then uproot and transfer the old plant. After uprooting and transfer are complete, provide your plant some water. This water will help its roots settle quickly in the new soil. During uprooting and replanting, you should be very careful, as the roots of this delicate plant may get damaged while transferring which can result in the death of your plant. That is why carefully remove and replant.

Pruning

The String of Buttons is a slow-growing plant but spreads everywhere, also it grows small yellow leaves that do not match the overall look of the plant. This can damage the beauty of the String of Button. Experts advise cutting off the flowers as soon as they arrive, but you can let them grow if you want. Once they start to wilt, it is important to cut them off otherwise they would look very bad. Pruning should be done at the end of the spring season.  You can cut off the dead leaves, flowers, and branches. Apart from this, if you see fit, you can cut the plant to give it a shape that you want.

Problems

The Crassula perforata or String of Buttons needs protection against common plant infestations including the mealybugs, spider mites, root rot, and fungus gnats. These pests attack different parts of the plant and try to cause harm. It is very important to control their population at the start. Otherwise, the infestation would spread to other plants. You can wash off your plants with the help of detergents to get rid of most of these problems, but there are also some pesticide options as well.

Propagation

This plant is propagated with the help of its cuttings and using its offshoots that grow from the mother plant. These offshoots quickly become a new plant. If you want to grow them through cuttings, you should wait for the plant to mature. Use a sharp knife to take cuttings and place these cuttings into a rooting hormone. Cuttings will form roots within a few days and will be ready for plantation into another pot. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Why is my String of Buttons turning yellow?

Leaf color change in the string of buttons is caused by three major problems. It can be because of overwatering or underwatering, or it can be because of the lack of nutrients in the soil, or it can also be caused by insufficient sunlight exposure. To overcome this problem, you should control the water supply properly and provide nutrients to your plant and also keep them in the full sunlight.

Question: How often should I water my String of Buttons?

The watering schedule depends upon the conditions where you are living. If you are living in a very hot region, you can water your string of buttons more often while if you are living in a cold area you should water your plants less often. Also, during summer water more often is better and in winter watering less often is better. You can create a watering schedule based on your requirements.