How To Grow & Care For String of Dolphins

The String of Dolphins, known scientifically as Senecio peregrinus, is an intriguing succulent that has captivated plant lovers across the globe. Its name derives from the unique shape of its leaves, which resemble a pod of leaping dolphins. A hybrid of Senecio articulatus and Senecio rowleyanus, this playful plant is not just a visual treat but is also appreciated for its low-maintenance care requirements.

Native to South Africa, the String of Dolphins is known for its trailing stems that can grow up to several feet long. Each stem carries a multitude of dolphin-shaped leaves, creating an appearance akin to a group of dolphins jumping in unison. This whimsical visual appeal has contributed to the plant’s increasing popularity in recent years, both among seasoned gardeners and newcomers to the world of succulents.

The delightful appearance of the String of Dolphins can be complemented by its fragrant flowers. When in bloom, the plant produces small, white, cinnamon-scented flowers, adding another layer of charm to its character. The combination of unique aesthetics, ease of care, and pleasant fragrance make the String of Dolphins an attractive option for indoor and outdoor gardens.

Common NamesString of Dolphins
Botanical NameSenecio peregrinus
Plant TypeSucculent
Mature Size6 inches in height, trailing up to 2 feet
Sun ExposureFull sun to partial shade
Soil TypeWell-drained, sandy or succulent mix soil
Hardiness Zones10-12
Native AreaSouth Africa

String of Dolphins Care

The String of Dolphins is a highly adaptable and resilient plant that thrives with basic care. Its preference for well-draining soil, moderate sunlight, and occasional watering makes it an excellent option for both novice and expert gardeners.

Being a succulent, the String of Dolphins stores water in its leaves, enabling it to withstand periods of drought. It thrives when provided with a balanced environment, mimicking its natural habitat. While adaptable, attention must be paid to avoid common pitfalls like overwatering and inadequate sunlight.

Light Requirement for String of Dolphins

The String of Dolphins enjoys bright but indirect sunlight. Placing it near a window that receives filtered light will ensure healthy growth. Direct sunlight might cause leaf scorching, while too little light can lead to leggy stems and loss of the distinctive dolphin shape.

Soil Requirements for String of Dolphins

Well-draining soil is crucial for the String of Dolphins. A mixture of sandy soil or succulent mix with some perlite ensures proper drainage. Avoid soil that retains water, as stagnant moisture can cause root rot and other diseases.

Water Requirements for String of Dolphins

Watering the String of Dolphins must be done with care, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. In winter, the watering schedule should be reduced further, as the plant enters a dormant phase.

Temperature and Humidity

The plant prefers temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C) and does not tolerate frost. While it can survive in average indoor humidity, overly humid conditions should be avoided to prevent fungal growth.


During the growing season, a diluted balanced fertilizer can be applied once a month. Over-fertilizing must be avoided, as it can cause soft growth and loss of the characteristic leaf shape.

Pruning String of Dolphins

Regular pruning helps maintain the plant’s shape and encourages bushier growth. Dead or overgrown stems should be removed, and trimming can be done as needed.

Propagating String of Dolphins

The plant can be easily propagated through stem cuttings. Cuttings should be allowed to dry for a day before being planted in well-draining soil.

How To Grow String of Dolphins From Seed

Growing String of Dolphins from seed is a rare practice, as it’s usually propagated from cuttings. If attempting to grow from seed, place them in sandy soil, maintain warmth, and keep the soil slightly moist until germination.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases


Aphids can be removed by spraying the plant with a mild soap solution.


Treat mealybugs with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Root Rot

Overwatering can lead to root rot. Ensure proper drainage and allow the soil to dry between watering.

Common Problems With String of Dolphins

Loss of Dolphin Shape

Insufficient light or overwatering may cause the leaves to lose their unique shape. Adjust light and watering accordingly.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves often signify overwatering. Reduce the watering schedule and ensure proper drainage.

Leggy Growth

Lack of sunlight may cause stretched, leggy growth. Move the plant to a brighter location.

Pro Tips

  1. Place in a hanging container to showcase the trailing stems.
  2. Avoid repotting frequently, as the plant prefers to be root-bound.
  3. Rotate the plant occasionally to ensure uniform growth.
  4. Pair with other succulents for a varied display.
  5. Monitor watering closely, especially during winter, to prevent overwatering.