String of Buttons (Crassula Perforata)

A string of Buttons (Crassula Perforata) is a succulent plant perfect for beginners’ gardens. This plant is great for someone who doesn’t have a ‘green thumb’ and whose plants have  habit of dying on them. It’s so easy to grow, it’s almost self-rearing! Another plus is that it’s lovely to look at!

Pretty as a picture, fast-growing, hard to kill, and almost self-maintaining – String of Buttons is a good starter plant. In the garden or house, this succulent is highly popular. Great as a ground cover or cascading over the sides of a hanging basket. Who can resist a String of Buttons?

How to Grow String of Buttons (Crassula Perforata) 

If you are considering growing a  String of Buttons – or many Strings of Buttons –  learn more about this succulent plant that many speak of so highly.

1. Soil Requirements

A string of Buttons (Crassula Perforata) will thrive on soil similar to its native habitat. This means well-draining sand, bark, and pumice. There are many you can choose from at your garden supply store or local nursery.

Many people who grow String of Buttons use cactus potting mix. Some combine the cactus mix with perlite for better drainage with a ratio of 2:1 (cactus potting mix and perlite).

You can also make sandy soil by mixing cactus potting soil with coarse sand with a 2:1 ratio. If you wish you can also use standard potting soil with sand.

Transplant your String of Buttons every three years to get rid of the old soil or when it outgrows its container.

Transplanting String of Buttons is best done before the start of its active growth season. This should be very early spring.

2. Propagation

As with all succulents, it’s easy to propagate a String of Buttons. It’s done through the offshoots (pups) growing from the mother plant. You can also do propagation from cuttings.

Stem cutting is the quickest and easiest way to propagate Strings of Buttons. While you can also do propagation from leaves, it is a less foolproof and trickier process.

• Propagating from Stem Cuttings

Most people opt for stem cuttings instead of from leaves when propagating a String of Buttons.

Take a stem cutting that’s about 4 inches long and with a good number of succulent leaves.

Let it dry for about a day. The stems are thin, so they should dry quickly. Make sure to get cuttings from healthy plants and not from stressed or dehydrated ones.

You can opt to dip the stem cutting in rooting hormone to promote the faster growth of new roots.

Push the cutting into well-draining soil. Make sure it’s dried and healed before pressing it down into the soil.

Shade the new plant from direct sunlight.

Water the soil when you notice it’s drying up.

New roots (from the side and top of the stem) will start to grow after about two weeks. At this point, water the new plane through misting.

The stem cuttings should be fully rooted after about six weeks. then you can shift to regular watering at least once a week. As the plant matures, transfer it to a spot with more sunlight.

• Propagating From Leaves

When propagating from leaves, do as follows:

Twist out a healthy leaf from your existing String of Buttons plant.

Make sure to remove the entire leaf that encircles the stem. You should include the base to ensure more success.

Remove the entire leaf by sliding it down the stem.

Lay it flat on the soil. It will take a lot of time and patience but eventually, the new String of Buttons will grow.

Make sure to cut from the mother plant only when it has developed a pup of the right size. It is better to use a sterile and sharp knife instead of twisting a leaf.

3. Watering and Feeding

You should not overwater a String of Buttons plant. The best way to water these succulents is to use the soak and dry method.

You soak the soil and drench it until water from the bottom of the pot runs out. This will leave the soil fully moist. The plant needs to be watered only when the soil is fully dry.

Similar to all succulents, the String of Buttons retains water so it does not need frequent watering. It is even best to water this plant after the soil has dried out.

Watering these succulents also depends on your climate. Although they can easily adapt to dry weather, they will thrive better with sufficient water.

In the summer months, you can water the String of Buttons every 7 days. Water more during heat waves and cut down on watering as the weather cools.

During winter, you can hold back on watering and depend on rainwater.

If you do not get rain during winter in your area, water your String of Buttons about every three weeks to a month – or as soon as the soil dries out. You also don’t need to water as much if you live in a humid area.

Growing your String of Buttons indoors? Just water when the soil goes dry. Make sure it gets lots of light. But, too much watering without enough light spells disaster for your String of Buttons.

The best way to check if your String of Buttons needs watering is by checking the moisture of the soil. If the top 1 inch of the soil is dry, then you need to water the plant.

Always err on the side of less than more water. You can always add more water but you can’t take it out of the soil.

Water the soil area of the String of Button instead of watering from the top of the plant. This is to prevent leaf rot. Water can easily collect on the leaves because of their shape. Rot will start settling in on the plant’s leaves if they are always wet.

The String of Buttons doesn’t care for nutrient-rich soil and can thrive on infertile soil. It doesn’t need fertilizing but it’s ok to give it a gentle boost.

Fertilize lightly at most, every two weeks, and only during the growing season. Dilute the fertilizer to limit it to one-third of its strength

4. Light Requirements

A string of Buttons (Crassula perforata) is used to living in the harsh full sun surrounded by bushes and tall rocks in its native habitat. This succulent can, therefore, thrive in any lighting conditions.

When grown indoors, the String of Buttons may have light deficiency – which is manifested by the discoloration of its foliage. This plant should get a lot of indirect sunlight. They will thrive better with indirect or partial sun and will look better, too.

• Indoor Lighting Requirements

When grown indoors, place the String of Buttons in any window except the one facing south. You need to provide your plant with as much light as possible – at least 4-6 hours of light daily.

The plant will tend to stretch and be elongated if it does not get enough sun. This is because the plant will stretch out to get sufficient light.

If you notice your plant starting to reach for the light, place it in a brighter spot -preferably close to an east-facing window. If this is not possible, use a grow light.

• Outdoor Sunlight Requirements

The String of Buttons plant thrives best in areas where it can receive plenty of sunlight for a minimum of 4 solid hours. While it can tolerate partial to full sun, they prefer bright sunlight.

If grown outdoors, they need to adjust to full sun, otherwise, their leaves will scorch easily.

Place your Strings of Buttons in a bright and sunny location outdoors.

If you are transferring your plant from indoors to outside; or, if you are transferring it to a spot to receive more light,  acclimate the plant gradually until it is fully adjusted to prevent sun damage.

Even when it has fully adjusted to full sun, it may still get sunburned with intense heat.

The rosy pink tips of the plant’s leaves will intensify as it receives more sun.

5. Temperature

The String of Buttons thrives well when planted in a container because it can be protected from temperatures under 320F or frost.

The String of Buttons has a recommended USDA hardiness zone of 9 to 11. It cannot withstand extreme humidity or freezing temperatures. Temperatures within the 60s and 70s throughout the year are best for this plant.

The South African weather has allowed the Crassula Perforata to withstand elevated temperatures although it may need to be watered frequently.

If you live outside the American Southwest, grow your String of Buttons indoors.

How to Maintain your String of Buttons (Crassula Perforata) 

The String of Buttons is a fast-grower so needs the occasional ‘trim’. At its best in the spring and fall, it is dormant in the summer.

The String of Buttons plant can flourish in indoor and outdoor conditions. It’s the succulent with the best chance to succeed with the right potting mix and proper lighting.

This succulent can thrive with little water, even when sunlight and extreme temperatures are not ideal. It can thrive even the worst – being neglected by inexperienced plant owners!

The leaves are a uniform gray-green with reddish-pink edges but with sufficient sunlight they become pink. Just like pretty matching buttons on an article of clothing!

This plant is fast-growing and has a strong root system. It has sturdy stems that spread outwards. They spread and their stems grow in clusters similar to shrubs. They can even grow through the nearby shrubs and spread around or beyond them.

This succulent initially grows straight up. As it matures it sprawls and spills out of the pot. It can grow a few inches every year. When grown indoors it can reach six feet. In the wild, its stems may reach up to 30 feet long.

Don’t let this plant become sunburnt. If this happens, move the plant to a better location.

String of Buttons (Crassula Perforata) – Names and Origins

This is a unique and hardy succulent.  It’s a member of the Crassula family and originated from rural South Africa.

Its unique green foliage grows from flowering stems and some describe the Crassula Perforata as buttons or beads, thus, the Perforata is also known as the String of Buttons, Pagoda  Necklace Vine, Baby’s Necklace, and Stacked Crassula.

The hardiness of this succulent is such because it is native to the rocky slopes and arid soil of South Africa where it grows abundantly with rocky florae. This is also the reason this plant can adapt to varying conditions.

Final Thoughts

This plant can be found at any plant store. It will probably be the most popular choice as it’s a pretty plant and easiest to grow.

Small,  star-shaped flowers ( about 1/4-inch)  in pale yellow or pink often appear – but they are without any scent. The flowers usually bloom in the spring. However, these flowers are a bonus – so don’t hold your breath – as this plant doesn’t always flower.

The String of Buttons plant is almost made for hanging baskets but also looks very pretty in other containers. These plants can also be placed in rock gardens and terrariums.

Being rambling plants, they can be used as unusual ground covers.

The thick leaves of the String of Buttons don’t provide a good home for pests and insects. So, your plant stays healthier because of it.

When they’re planted outdoors, they attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

Edited By
Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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