A string of dolphins is also known as a dolphin plant or a dolphin necklace plant. Its botanical name is Senecio Peregrinus.
The dolphin plant is a beautiful succulent plant. Staying true to its namesake, this trailing succulent boasts a series of plump leaves that look just like little jumping dolphins.
Since they are trailing succulents, they are great in hanging baskets.
It’s relatively a low-maintenance succulent plant, so caring for this plant is relatively easy. The real challenge lies in finding and propagating it.
String of Dolphins plants are rare succulents. If you manage to get your hands on it, consider yourself lucky!
These dolphin plants are actually a result of crossbreeding a String of Pearls succulent (Senecio Roweleyanus) and the Candle plant (Senecio Articulates).
This article will go over everything you need to know from how to propagate string of dolphins to maintaining and caring for these succulents and more.
Table of Contents
- 1 String Of Dolphins Plant: The Basics
- 2 Caring For String Of Dolphin Plants
- 3 Using Cuttings to Propagate More Dolphin Plants
- 4 Final Thoughts
String Of Dolphins Plant: The Basics
These dolphin plants (botanical name Senecio peregrinus) are a result of cross-pollination between the String of Pearls succulent (Senecio Roweleyanus) and the Hot Dog cactus or Candle plant (Senecio Articulates).
This dolphin succulent can grow up to 6 inches, or 15 cm, tall while maintaining its original shape (unlike most succulents that tend to branch out or elongate their leaves as they grow).
As the vine gets longer, you’ll notice fresh little flying dolphins-shaped leaves blooming upon it.
If you let it grow for long enough, you’ll find a whole ocean of jumping dolphins cascading across your succulents container!
Dolphin plants are flowering plants that typically boast little white and pink flowers during their blooming season.
You’ll notice these flowers appear during the warmer months when conditions are just right to support the process.
Dolphin plants thrive in indirect light. As with most succulents, the dolphin succulent also needs to be planted in a pot with drainage holes within well-draining soil to prevent root rot.
If you are looking for great-looking hanging pots with drainage holes, check this out. We have a couple of these in our home.
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You can either buy live String of Dolphin plants or choose to grow them yourself through plant propagation.
If none of these seem like good options, you can also go ahead and grow these succulents from scratch using dolphin succulent seeds.
While growing Dolphin plants with seeds shouldn’t be too challenging, it’s better to buy pre-grown succulents.
You can actually get them from Amazon. They are small when they arrive but great for starting out.
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Pre-grown succulents come packaged in special succulent well-draining soil that’s set at just the right pH, so you don’t have to worry about dolphin plant maintenance.
If neither seeds nor store-bought succulents work for you, you can try and propagate all-new succulents from some older Dolphin plant cuttings. Below is an in-depth description of how to do it!
Caring For String Of Dolphin Plants
Like all succulents, your Dolphin plants will require tender love and care. Here are all the important details you need to know before growing your own Dolphin plant:
Light Exposure for Dolphin Plants
Make sure the gets enough light. A healthy amount of sunlight will help keep it growing. However, it also runs the risk of getting sunburnt if it gets too much light.
It’s best if you place them in an area that will allow them some indirect light.
Dolphin plants don’t mind the shade but should not be kept in extremely dimly lit conditions, or else it’ll lose its color and begin to wilt.
They require at least 6 hours of sunlight each day preferably by a sunny window with indirect light. We recommend picking a south-facing window.
If you feel like your Dolphin plants won’t get enough sun during the winters, go ahead and place your plants under T-5 fluorescent grow lights or LED grow lights.
Type of Soil
One thing’s for sure: if you overwater String of Dolphins, it’ll begin to rot and have root rot.
This rule applies to most succulents, which is why you’ll be able to find a special succulent mix at your local gardening store. This type of mix doesn’t retain excess moisture to prevent root rot.
Related post: What is Root Rot and How to Prevent it
You can also use a store-bought cactus mix, but it’s best to use a blend of both cactus and succulent potting mix.
We suggest you get this succulent potting mix if you decide not to make your own.
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However, if you’d like to make your own well-draining soil mix at home, here’s a handy recipe to help you:
How to make succulent soil at home:
- Potting soil
- Pumice or perlite
Combine two parts potting soil with one part pumice or perlite and one part sand. Use your hands or a spade to completely stir the ingredients until you have a homogenous mix.
And voila! Your homemade succulent soil is ready.
Repotting and the pH Balance of the Soil
Remember that String of Dolphins needs to grow at a specific soil pH in order to reach its full blooming potential. Neutral soils are best; anything that ranges between a pH of 6.6 to 7.5 is ideal.
An abnormally high soil pH will disrupt the String of Dolphins’ ability to absorb essential nutrients. As a result, your String of Dolphins may wilt or show symptoms of stunted growth.
The soil pH also affects this succulent’s ability to ward itself from toxic chemicals within the soil.
So, for example, your potting soil may contain an abnormally high level of aluminum (which is toxic to some succulents).
Under healthy pH conditions, the String of Dolphins will resist aluminum ion uptake, ultimately keeping itself safe from harm.
However, if the pH is too high or low, it will be forced to absorb unwanted and harmful aluminum ions
Related post: How Do You Test pH in Soil?
We suggest using this pH meter as it has given the best readings.
If your succulent takes up too much of a toxic substance, its cells will begin to experience a severe chemical imbalance, ultimately leading to succulents’ death.
Luckily, all of this can be avoided with quality succulent potting soil. Store-bought soils come with a safely guarded pH range guarantee, hence helping to ensure String of Dolphins sustenance and growth.
Furthermore, be sure to grow your String of Dolphins inside a container with drainage holes in the bottom.
If you place this succulent inside a pot that doesn’t have an effective drainage system, it will begin to rot in no time!
Your container should not be too wide or large. String of Dolphins enjoys crowded conditions, so be sure only to give it just enough soil and space, or else it won’t grow well.
Watering String of Dolphins Plants
If you take a close look at the Dolphin plant leaves, you’ll notice just how fleshy they are.
A Dolphin plant with fleshy leaves is excellent at retaining moisture, making them drought-tolerant and ideal for growth in warm conditions.
Your String of Dolphins won’t need much watering. So avoid watering it regularly. In fact, you’ll only need to water it once a week during the growing season in the springtime.
This frequency falls further during the dormant period (when flowers are not blooming)
Be sure to allow the soil to dry thoroughly in between watering sessions. This will help you stay clear of root rot and other water-borne diseases.
If your plant gets too much water, its leaves may become too turgid, resulting in high turgor pressure within the succulents.
When this happens, your succulent leaves’ stomata will close up. As a result, gas exchange within the String of Dolphins will come to a jarring halt.
Without an effective gas exchange system, any succulent will die.
Gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen enable the Dolphin plant to produce essential sugars, which are required for growth and sustenance.
Overwatering the Dolphin plant will prevent sugar production and ultimately result in untimely plant death.
Not watering these succulent plants, on the other hand, will lead to leaf crenation and wilting.
So, be sure to water your String of Dolphins just the right amount and maintain arid soil conditions throughout the year!
We suggest getting a self-watering planter or self-watering stakes. This will save you the trouble of having to monitor the succulent plant’s water levels as it grows and anchors its roots into the new soil post-propagations.
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The Right Temperature to Grow String of Dolphins Plants
String of Dolphins is classified as a “zone 10” succulent, so it is not cold hardy. It won’t do well in cooler temperatures let alone in any harsh cold environment.
The dolphin plant growing season is usually the summer so it will go dormant in cooler temperatures and in the winter.
String of dolphins admires cool air and can safely survive in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is common during the winter months.
These dolphin plants blossoms in springtime and early summer when temperatures reach as high as 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
The string of dolphin plants can survive in warm climates but should also be allowed some shade from time to time.
A string of dolphins is a “soft succulent,” which means that it cannot survive a hard frost.
While it can stay alive at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s better to keep it in a warmer area that isn’t colder than 30 degrees. This will ensure healthy dolphin plants despite the winter season.
Try putting them inside an easily portable container so that you can take the succulent plants indoors when it’s too cold outside and shift them outdoors when the sun is shining.
What Humidity Levels Are Best for String of Dolphins Plants
A dolphin plant won’t appreciate high levels of humidity, so steer clear of it.
Moderate humidity levels are alright, such as the level typically found within your household.
However, if you live in a highly humid area, make sure to keep your dolphin plant in a drier part of your house or garden or in a space that gets enough wind to whisk the humidity away.
Using Cuttings to Propagate More Dolphin Plants
If you’re planning on propagating a dolphin succulent, you’ll need a healthy stem or two, to begin with!
You can either propagate your String of Dolphins in soil or in water. You should choose a method that’s easier for you.
If you’re a beginner, consider starting out with the water method. It’s fast, easy, and allows you to clearly monitor plant growth.
Using Stem Cuttings to Propagate Dolphin Plants
Make sure your stem cuttings contain at least 2 to 3 nodes along their length.
These nodes are extremely important because they are the points from which propagation will occur. Nodes allow new stems, leaves, and roots to grow out from them.
Damaged nodes will reduce the chance of successful propagation.
So, be sure you’re using a stem cutting with healthy nodes on it.
Having multiple nodes on one stem also improves the chances of successful growth and propagation.
Do not use lone leaves for propagation. Always use a complete stem, or else the process won’t work!
Start out by taking your healthy String of Dolphins stem and cut the end of it with a clean, sharp knife or scissors.
The stem cutting should be at least 5 inches long or more.
Remove the bottom leaves to expose the bare stem.
Next, leave your cutting to dry for about two days. Over time, the stem will develop little callouses, but you won’t be able to see them.
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Soil or Water Propagation?
Many gardeners choose to propagate the cuttings using the water method instead of planting the stem cuttings in the soil.
Whatever method choose to propagate your Dolphin plants, you’ll need to eventually transfer them to the soil once the dolphin plant roots mature.
Doing so isn’t too challenging, though, so feel free to opt for whichever method works best for you, be it soil or water growth!
Propagating Dolphin Plants Stem Cuttings in Soil
Stick the stem in a well-draining potting mix and give it plenty of water. Don’t worry about overwatering it during propagation.
Some gardener friends of mine have suggested using cold water to start the growing process of the roots.
When the topsoil has dried out, give the succulents a moderate amount of freshwater. Keep doing this through the next 2 to 3 weeks after propagation.
The soil must be fully soaked from the bottom to aid growth.
Using Water to Propagate the Dolphin Plant Stem Cuttings
If you’re growing your stem in water, use clean water that has a pH of around 7.0.
Tap water should be fine, but it cannot deviate by a pH of 0.5; any more than that and your stem cuttings or leaf cuttings will have difficulties rooting.
Keep Stem Cutting Away from Direct Sunlight
Place the potted (or water-stooped) stem in partial shade away from direct sunlight.
Throughout the course of the next one to two weeks, gradually introduce more sunlight.
Avoid shoving the freshly propagated succulents into harsh sunlight in its early days. Doing so may tamper with the growth process, resulting in failed propagation.
On a side note, once your succulents have fully matured, you should avoid giving them too much water exposure.
If you keep mature Dolphin plants in a water bath, they won’t grow at all. Instead, it might end up wilting!
Finally, once you see roots sprouting you can transfer the newly propagated dolphin plant into a succulent potting mix.
So, now that you’re done reading through our ultimate Dolphin plant (Senecio peregrinus) propagation guide, you can go ahead and grow some of your own!
They have been a trending succulent plant in recent times.
All you need for effective propagation is a fresh string of dolphins stem, soil, and water.
Be sure to shower the dolphin plants with regular love and care, too, for the best results.
If you’ve decided that propagation is not the best option for you, feel free to purchase a pre-grown String of Dolphins plants instead.
Lastly, do you enjoy trailing succulents? If so, check out our list of our favorite hanging and trailing succulents to grow at home.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.