Mastering String of Dolphins Propagation: Soil and Water Methods

Strings of dolphins (also known as Senecio peregrinus) are indoor succulent plants that have a cool wire-y look to them. They are a hybrid plant and belong to the Asteraceae family. They have long tendrils and delicate flowers. If you want to know how to propagate string of dolphins in soil and water, you have come to the right place. Let’s begin.

how to propagate string of dolphins

When to Propagate String of Dolphins 

This depends on the situation. In the first scenario, you already have a plant and want to keep it from dying, you should propagate it right away. That’s because you cannot propagate any plant if there are no healthy parts left. So, get a good, clean knife and pick a healthy strand of the plant. This is how you get started.

In the second scenario, you want a new indoor plant. In this case, you still need to take a strand from a healthy string of dolphins plant. You need to do this right before the plant’s growing season.

That is typically early in the summer or in the spring season. This way, the plant won’t be in too much distress when you collect the cuttings required to propagate the plant.

How to Propagate String of Dolphins in Soil

There are two efficient ways in which you can propagate a string of dolphins plant. The first one is in soil which can be done as you would with any other plant—using stem cuttings. This is a better way of propagating the plant because you can secure the stem cuttings while they are in one place which keeps the roots strong.

Typically, when you cut a healthy stem for propagation, the plant develops a callus which is another word for a tissue growing on the wound. You should give the cuttings a couple of days and let the calluses form. And make sure that the soil is sterilized and does not have any bacteria or fungus so that the succulent can grow well.

The soil must be well-drained because this plant is a succulent. You must also try to make sure that the mix has 50 percent sand and 50 percent compost or peat so that it has the required amount of moisture.

You can also add organic materials like bark and coco coir which will help you better manage watering the plant. Charcoal is also a good idea because it helps the plant develop roots well so that it absorbs nutrients efficiently.

  • Step 1: Collect healthy cuttings measuring about 3 to 5 inches from the plant. Use a clean knife or scissors to do this. The cuttings must come from the plant’s stem and must have about two or three nodes.

    These nodes are usually at the point from which new leaves are born. It’s also where the roots for your new plant will grow. Collecting cuttings with nodes like these will give you a good chance of succeeding at the propagation process.
how to propagate senecio peregrinus
  • Step 2: You can dip the edge of the cuttings in a hormone that helps them grow better but this step is optional.
  • Step 3: Plant the cuttings right on the top part of the soil mix that you must prepare beforehand. The soil must be sandy or have a little bit of perlite so that it gets enough air and drains well.

    This is where you want to grow the new plant. Also make sure that the soil is moist till you see new roots coming out.
  • Step 4: Make sure the container with the soil and the cuttings are placed in indirect sunlight but in a place where there is adequate brightness. Once the soil is dry enough when you touch it, you can water it.

    Test the top two inches of the soil to check the dryness. Do this by sticking your thumb in the soil.
how to propagate string of dolphins in soil

How to Propagate String of Dolphins in Water

The second way of efficiently propagating this plant is in water. This is not a popular way of propagating plants, especially for gardeners who haven’t done this before. But it works well for string of dolphins. That’s because roots will develop more easily compared to other ways.

And chances are, there won’t be as much risk in terms of being infected with bacteria or fungi. Also, since the plant will be in the water you must make sure that the cuttings don’t end up rotting.

Make sure that you take the cuttings using a sterile knife or scissors. You also need a clean jar and cuttings from a healthy plant. If you do it right, you will start to see roots in a matter of about two weeks. Then you must move them into well-draining soil. Here’s the process.

  • Step 1: Pick a strand that is 3 to 5 inches long from a healthy plant. Take cuttings from the bottom of the string of dolphins plant. These cuttings must have one or two nodes.
  • Step 2: Do so with a clean knife or scissors.
  • Step 3: Place the strands in a jar filled with clean water right away. It should preferably be tap water because water with chemicals like fluoride or chlorine can be bad for the growth of the strands.
  • Step 4: Keep the jar near a window where there isn’t a lot of direct sunlight.
  • Step 5: Change the water in about a week to make sure the cuttings get enough oxygen and nutrition.
how to propagate string of dolphins in water

Soon, meaning in a matter of weeks, you will see new roots that are long and like tendrils. Then you must move it into a container that has well-draining soil. You know the drill now. It’s the same as mentioned before.

A Couple of Things to Remember

The thing about succulents is that they don’t need to be watered as much as some other varieties of plants that can be grown indoors. That’s why they make for a good pick for gardeners who are still in the beginning stages of falling in love with growing plants.

But when you propagate this plant indoors, you must be sure to water them properly so that they can successfully be propagated. This is particularly true for the earlier days of propagation.

However, when you are propagating these dolphin succulent plants in soil, you must remember not to give them too much water because root rot is a real concern. This is because the water tends to get accumulated at the bottom and the roots get suffocated.

They are not very good at absorbing nutrients in the beginning and as a result, the plant will suffer. You know that the propagation is failing and the roots are rotting quite easily because apart from visibly decaying, the roots also emit a really bad smell.

Therefore, you must carefully water the plant and make sure that all of it reaches right to the bottom of the container. That’s why you need well-draining soil and a container that has enough holes to let the excess water go. And if it doesn’t happen on its own, you need to do it manually and fix the situation.

How to Care For String of Dolphins after Propagation

After propagation, you need to care for the plant a little. That includes keeping the jar or container in a place that is bright but does not get direct sunlight. That will cause damage to the stem cuttings and the leaves will get scorched too.

Aim for them to receive indirect sunlight in the beginning stages. Too much sunlight may also cause dehydration in the soil and the plant itself. You can increase the amount of light gradually based on the amount of growth you notice.

Apart from sunlight, you must also make sure you give the plant the right amount of water. Now you know that the “right amount” is whenever the top two inches of the soil is dry.


How Long Does It Take To Propagate String of Dolphins?

Typically, it takes about two weeks for the plant to start growing visibly. And since this plant is a succulent, it is going to be hardy once the propagation is successful.

Related Post:
How Long Does It Take To Propagate Succulents?

Can You Propagate String of Dolphins from Leaves?

Yes, you can use leaf cuttings to propagate string of dolphins plants. You must make sure that the leaves are healthy and are taken from a plant that is mature.

Ideally, the plant should be watered a day or two before the leaves are taken so they are fleshy and you have a higher success in propagating them.

Will String of Dolphins Grow Back?

Yes, they do. That’s why succulents are easy to grow and take care of. What they need is a good place that has indirect sunlight. You must also water it just enough while avoiding the risk of over or underwatering.

The good news is that both those cases will give you visible warnings so that you can course correct just in time and save the plant. You must also make sure that the humidity in the room where they are growing is down to a minimum.

If you make sure these factors are well taken care of, growing and maintaining string of dolphins is just as easy as any other succulent.

How Do You Make Dolphin Strings Grow Faster?

The key to making string of dolphins grow faster is in repotting. These plants are a bit more pot-bound than other indoor plants. That helps them grow easily and better but in about three years after they were originally planted, if you feel like the growth has gotten slower, you must repot them in the spring.

Repotting gives the plant more space and gives you a chance to check on any infections that are pestering at the roots.