Senecio Peregrinus, String of Dolphins, or Dolphin Succulent; however you call it, there’s no denying that this is a beautiful, eye-catching plant. It’s also not easy to find a good specimen, so you’ll want to devote a little more time to take care of it when you do. Thankfully, that’s easy enough, and that’s why you’ve got this guide to help you out.
To care for a String of Dolphins plant, keep in mind the following:
- Keep the plant in soil with good drainage, loose and porous, with a high mineral consistency.
- Give it plenty of indirect light, and it’ll thrive.
- Water it once a week in the summer and once a month in the colder months.
- The dolphin succulent prefers cooler temperatures (72 F when it’s dormant, 50-55 F in the summer).
Also, they love being packed in smaller containers. If it gets a little too tight, though, you’ll have to repot them. They also don’t need much fertilizer. Once or twice a year should be enough.
Thankfully, this variety of succulent is straightforward to care for, even for newcomers. Keep reading to learn more.
String of Dolphins (Dolphins Succulent) Basic Care
Placement and Light
The Dolphin Succulent needs indirect light. They can take direct sunlight, but not for long before getting sunburnt.
If you want to have your plant along with the rest of your collection outside, that’s OK. But make sure they’re in a shaded spot where they will not get hit by direct sunlight. Indirect light is fine, or as long as it’s filtered somehow. Remember: direct sunlight is not its friend.
If you’re growing your String of Dolphins as a houseplant, they need to be placed in a south-facing window where they get at least 6 hours of morning sunlight every day. If you’re in a place known for its sunless winters, you can also use a LED grow light. A T-5 fluorescent lamp will also do.
You may have heard that succulents do great in warm climates, but that’s not the case here. The String of Dolphins loves fresh air. It can withstand temperatures as low as 40 Farenheit.
It’s best to keep these plants at around 72 F during the summer months or the growing season.
Despite its love for cool air, though, the Dolphin Succulent is not a cold-hardy plant by any means. These types of “soft succulents” are frequently grown in zone 10, in mild-to-cool weather.
It won’t survive a hard frost. If it gets below 30 F, plant them in a container and keep them inside.
Thankfully, the String of Dolphins is not one of those hard-to-water succulents.
Give them a thorough soak in soil with good drainage, and wait until the water runs out completely. Don’t rewater until the soil is dry again.
Watering once a week should be more than enough during growing seasons (usually spring to early fall), and once per month during the winter. The Dolphin Succulent is drought-resistant, so keeping it overwatered is against its best interests.
Compared to other Senecio succulents, the Senecio Peregrinus requires a tiny bit more water, though. Often, these plants can be underwatered. How do you make sure your plant’s OK? Always check the leaves to make sure they’re beautiful and green.
If your leaves are dry or crackly, then your plant may be underwatered. Conversely, if your plant is overwatered, the leaves will be transparent and squishy.
Keep your Dolphin Succulent in soil with good drainage. While underwatering is an issue with these plants, overwatering can also lead to serious problems. If you’re not careful, an excess of water could lead to rot.
The succulent soil mix by Bonsai Jack or a mix like this one is a great choice. The main things you’re going to want with your soil is to have great drainage, a good pH balance, and anti-root-rot properties. This mix has you covered on every front, and that’s why we highly recommend it if you want an all-in-one soil solution and don’t want to mix your own.
Dolphin Succulent Advanced Care Guidelines
You can propagate a String of Dolphins succulent from a cutting. Pick a leaf that looks strong and healthy, and find the stem. Then carefully, using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors, cut the stem.
After, you need to place the stem flat in soil with good drainage. Make sure that the surface of the stem comes into good contact with the soil.
Keep your soil moist; never let it dry completely. After the roots form (in around two to three weeks), you might need to water your cuttings a bit more.
If this plant touches the soil, it will quickly shoot out roots. Keep in mind that you can only propagate a Dolphin Succulent from cuttings, and not the leaves. The leaves will take root, but will not form new leaves or stems.
Potting and Repotting
Potting needs for the Dolphin Succulent are relatively simple. Just keep it in a solid pot or container that’s slightly larger than the plant and has drainage holes. If you want to keep them with other succulents, they love being in a crowded space, but you might have to repot them if they start running out of space.
If you feel like repotting, add soil around the pot and bury a few leaves. Avoid packing the soil in; you want there to be air pockets in the middle. If you pack the soil in too tight, the plant could have problems growing and you could suffocate the root system.
String of Dolphins Succulents don’t really need much fertilizer. In fact, over-fertilizing may lead to them losing their iconic jumping dolphins!
Feed them once or twice a year, during the spring, or when they start to bloom. If you can, try selecting an organic fertilizer.
Pests and Disease
Spider mites or mealybugs are the most common pests that plague indoor Dolphin Succulents. Spider mites cobwebs on the undersides of the plant and mealybugs resemble a white, cotton-like growth.
For mealybugs, use cotton lightly swabbed in rubbing alcohol. Be gentle. For spider mites, just bring the plant outside and spray it with cool-to-cold water.
The String of Dolphins is susceptible to fungal issues and water rot. If you water it properly and keep it in soil with the right amount of drainage, it should be fine.
Dolphin Succulents don’t require much pruning. If you do, remember to be very delicate.
Are Dolphin Succulents Safe for Cats?
Most succulents are safe for pets and don’t have much toxicity even when ingested. The String of Dolphins is no exception, and it’s safe for cats and other pets.
How Do You Plant Dolphin Succulent Seeds?
Buying Dolphin Succulent seeds can be tricky for newcomers. The Senecio Peregrinus, a hybrid, doesn’t always sprout, even if you do everything right. That can be frustrating when trying to get your own plant from scratch, and it’s the main reason why cuttings or grown plants are the go-to choice of most plant collectors.
To add to the frustration, some seedlings end up not having the telltale dolphin shape.
If you’re feeling adventurous, plant the seeds in a container with a great soil mix, like Bonsai Jack. Cover the container with plastic (leaving a few holes for aeration) or some sort of wrapping. Mist your seeds often and wait for seedlings to sprout. When they do, it’s time to move them to a larger container.
Why is My String of Dolphins Dying?
It could be dying from several causes. Root rot will set in if you overwater your plant, so you want to follow watering guidelines carefully. If not, it could be drying out, which will require more water instead. Also, make sure that the pot is not too big, because that could lead to over-hydration.
The other cause is not being diligent with keeping it away from pests. Refer to that section for more guidelines, or contact a professional if you feel like you need somebody that will deliver an extra level of care.
The final reason is not having the right soil mix. Not having a good mix that’s porous and offers good drainage could suffocate your plant, or not leave it room to grow. If this continues for a while, it may die!
Why Are My String of Dolphins Flat?
The solution is simple: the plant needs more light. Move it to a brighter spot.
How Fast do String of Dolphins Grow?
Under good conditions, a Dolphin Succulent can grow around 50cm in their first year. It will also maintain its shape as it grows.