String of Watermelons Succulent Care

String of watermelons with purple stripes in a pot

Are you looking for a beautiful decorative plant? We have the perfect one for you: String of watermelons. And this pretty succulent plant has the advantage of being low-maintenance too.

A native of South Africa, Curio Herreanus (its scientific name) has long trailing stems and oval-shaped leaves with purple stripes. Moreover, its stems can reach 12 inches (30 cm) and its stripes will deepen with bright sunlight.

Because of its similar looks, you could easily mistake it for one of its cousins, such as the string of pearls. Still, you can rely on the purple stripes to help you identify it.

Senecio herreianus close up leaf
Photo by Amada44, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are wondering how easy it will be to grow it, then rejoice! It is pretty easy and won’t take you too much time or energy.

Indeed, due to its succulent nature, the variegated string of watermelons is a resistant plant. 

In this guide, we will touch on every subject related to growing our lovely green friend. 

Scientific NameCurio Herreanus or Senecio Herreanus
Other NamesString of beads
Gooseberry plant
String of raindrops
OriginSouth Africa
Similar toString of pearls (Curio rowleyanus)
String of tears (Curio citriformis)
Overview of ‘String of Watermelons’

Read also: Black spots on succulent leaves: What to do

Light requirements

When it comes to light, the string of watermelons is highly demanding. However, its needs will differ depending on where you put it.

If you decide to put your string of watermelons outdoors, then it will grow best in partial shade. Why? We hear you say. Simple!

Plants that creep along the ground grow under the shade of tall trees in the wild. Therefore, when you put your succulent plant outdoors, you need to mimic its natural habitat.

On the other hand, if you choose to grow it inside, it will appreciate bright sunlight. So, the best place to put it is on a west-facing windowsill. Why? We hear you say again. Easy!

As the sun sets in the west (Duh!), west-facing windows will receive little sunlight in the mornings but will get plenty of direct bright sunlight in the afternoon.

Also, LED lights are a good substitute if you don’t have a well-lighted spot in your home.

We know you love those deep purple pinstripes on the leaves. We do too. So, to keep them on your plant’s leaves, it needs to get the appropriate level of light.

If not, the string of watermelons succulent will lose its lovely stripes and become almost identical to other Curio plants.

Furthermore, without enough lighting, they will become lank and weak-looking. In addition, its leaves will grow pale and small.

Keep in mind that plants grown indoors need time to adjust to outdoor light.

So, if your string of watermelons has been growing inside your home, it will require a short transition time before staying outside.

In this case, start by bringing it outside for a few minutes each day. After two weeks or so, you can make it one hour. In about three weeks, your plant will be ready to live outdoors.

Watering needs

Correctly watering your plant is essential to healthy growth. So, figuring out how much and how often it needs water is vital.

In watering your string of watermelons, you will need to avoid any different problems that could arise.

Underwatering your succulents might be a common problem, but overwatering them is much worse.

Succulent plants do not like to be overwatered, and the string of watermelons are no exception.

Therefore, the best way to water Senecio Herreanus (the other scientific name) is through the soak and dry method.

This method is simple and typical of succulent plants.

First, you will only need to soak the soil until water starts exiting the pot (more on that in the next section).

Second, you will have to wait until the top three inches of soil are dry before watering again.

String of watermelons with purple stripes in a pot

Following these two steps will help avoid overwatering your string of watermelons succulent. Indeed, if you start watering it before the soil dries up, its roots will sit in water and rot.

Additionally, overwatering will lead to mushy stems and soggy leaves.

Ultimately, root rot will result in your plant’s dying.

Still, we would suggest you don’t prolonge these periods of drought. Try and water the soil as soon as the top three inches have dried up.

Another thing to remember is that watering patterns change with seasons.

Your green friend will need more water during the hot summer days. On the contrary, you can hold off a little bit on watering during winter.

As a rule of thumb, twice a week during summertime and once every two weeks during winter is a good watering pattern.

However, it is better not to rely on a fixed schedule. Instead, check the soil before every watering.

What soil to use for string of watermelons succulent?

Soil is closely related to watering. We have seen above that overwatering your string of watermelons is deadly.

Hence, you will need well-draining soil for this plant. You can go with regular cactus soil since it usually contains perlite and sand.

We use perlite in the soil mix for aeration. Since your plants’ roots need access to oxygen, perlite is there to fulfill that purpose.

Consequently, ensure that the soil you choose doesn’t retain too much moisture and contains enough perlite.

Potting advice

After we have discussed watering and soil, we naturally come to the complementary section: potting.

A pot with drainage holes is necessary to grow succulents.

So, in choosing a pot for your string of watermelons, make sure it has at least one big drainage hole.

Also, we suggest you avoid glass pots since they are not breathable. So, water will take longer to evaporate.

Furthermore, Terracotta pots will heat up if in direct sunlight and harm your string of watermelons succulent.

Therefore, we advise you to choose plastic pots with drainage holes as explained above.

Repotting conditions

Repotting is not necessary when it comes to your string of watermelons.

Still, you may want to repot it either to shorten the hanging parts of the stems or when you see roots poking out of the drainage holes.

Also, you may need to repot it to save it when it suffers from overwatering.

If that’s your case, start by removing the plant from the previous pot. Next, gently dry and clean the roots before putting the plant in a new pot with fresh succulent soil.

String of watermelons flowers

String of watermelons blooms with small white rounded flowers. These flowers are typical of the Curio genus.

Flower of Curio Herreanus
Photo by Salicyna, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fertilizing Tips

Curio plants are prone to fertilizing. We suggest that you go with an organic fertilizer during the growing seasons (spring and summer).

Moreover, hold off on fertilizing during winter since your succulent plant won’t need more nutrients.


Originating from South Africa, which is known for its temperate climate, a string of watermelons can withstand a wide range of temperatures.

Although it can survive in temperatures as low as 25°F (-3.8°C), this succulent plant prefers warmth. It translates to USDA Hardiness zones of 9b to 11b.

Moreover, string of watermelons will not survive in temperatures below these.

So, if you put your plant outdoors, pay attention to weather conditions during winter. You may need to move it inside if it gets too cold.

More importantly, the ideal temperature for your string of watermelons is somewhere between 68 to 95°F (20 to 35°C).

How to propagate string of watermelons?

You can propagate your string of watermelon succulent using cuttings, seeds, leaves, or offsets. 

We will explain below how to propagate through cuttings in water. If you’d like to do it using leaves, check out our article on succulent leaf propagation.

Here is how you should perform the propagation.

  1. Cut a few stems that are not blooming with sterilized pruning shears. It is better to try propagating during growing seasons (spring and summer).
  2. Remove the leaves that are at the bottom of the cuttings. Otherwise, these leaves will sit in the water and rot.
  3. Put the stems in a cup of water without any leaves touching the water. It is preferable to use distilled water. You can also let tap water sit overnight before using it.
  4. Change the water every three to four days or when it becomes unclear. 
  5. After two weeks or so, you will see roots growing out of the cuttings.
  6. It is better to wait until the newly developed roots are at least one inch long before putting them in the soil.
  7. Now let the roots settle for two days before watering the soil. 

FAQ about string of watermelons.

Why is my string of watermelon shriveling?

The most common reason is underwatering. So, check that you give your plant enough water. We would suggest you use the method described above for watering your succulent.

Is string of watermelons poisonous?

Yes. Its leaves produce pyrrolizidine alkaloid which is toxic to both animals and humans. So, make sure that your pets don’t chew on them.

What is the difference between string of watermelons and string of tears?

String of watermelons (Curio Herreanus) has deep purple stripes on its leaves, while string of tears (Curio citriformis) are plain green.

Is string of watermelons succulent easy to care for?

Yes. It is easy to care for. You will simply need to meet its light requirements, provide well-draining soil, and avoid overwatering.


In short, string of watermelons is a low-maintenance variegated succulent plant. Ideal for embellishing your home, it will take you little effort to grow.

By providing bright indirect light, well-draining soil, a warm temperature, and the appropriate watering pattern, you will grow a healthy Curio Herreanus.

Don’t hesitate to share with us your thoughts on this beautiful succulent.

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