The String of Watermelon is a succulent plant that belongs to the genus Senecio and the Asteraceae family. It is known as the String of Watermelon since its striped shape is similar to a watermelon.
Its stems grow prostrate with the leaves teardrop-shaped, green, and fleshy. The plant has stripes on the epidermis, which turn purple when the temperature difference is significant, and light is sufficient.
Also, this makes the whole leaf look purple-red. The String of Watermelon has a transparent and thicker stripe on a leaf surface.
The string of Watermelon care tips
The soil for cultivating String of Watermelon must be nutritious, loose, and with neutral pH. You can purchase ready-made substrates for succulents or cacti or mix the leaf ground with sand in proportions 2: 1. It is better to use shallow and wide clay pots to plant this plant.
In natural conditions regularly exposed to the sun, String of Watermelon needs intensive lighting. Therefore, placing a pot with a plant near the southwestern or western window is better.
The south side is the most suitable for the plant in the autumn months. It can be taken out into the fresh air in summer but placed only in places with no drafts. The string of Watermelon does not like midday direct sunlight. It is better to shade it with gauze or a unique cape.
In the spring and summer, the String of Watermelon must be watered in moderate mode a couple of days after the top layer of the soil dries. In the fall, watering is reduced, and in winter, it is only watered occasionally or does not water.
For irrigation, it is necessary to use only dilated water. Overflow is highly undesirable since the danger is hazardous for the development of reinforcing processes of roots and the plant’s health as a whole.
In the period from March to November, the String of Watermelon is best kept in a warm room, the average temperature which ranges from + 20-35 degrees.
The content temperature should be reduced to + 13-15 degrees in the winter months. It is essential to do this very smoothly, as the plant does not react well to sudden changes.
The room must be regularly ventilated, but it is essential to remember that the String of Watermelon is very afraid of cold drafts.
In developing young leaves, the difference between day and night temperatures plays an important role, which should be as close as possible to nature. To achieve abundant flowering, this plant should be kept in a relatively cool room with relatively dry air in winter.
Under natural conditions, the String of Watermelon lives in arid areas. Therefore, the indicator of indoor air humidity is not a critical factor in plant care. The plant quickly adapts to room conditions even if they are not the most optimal. This is precisely its main advantage over many other indoor plants.
6. Top dressing
Between March and August, the String of Watermelon needs regular feeding. Complex mineral fertilizers designed for succulents are perfect.
You need to fertilize the flower twice a month. It is better to reduce the drug concentration indicated in the instructions. After all, an overabundance of micronutrients can significantly harm the plant.
The String of Watermelon has a very delicate root system. Therefore, to minimize the risk of damage, plant transplantation is carried out by transshipment. You need to repot a flower more than once a year.
The root shoots of the String of Watermelon do not grow, so a new pot (preferably clay or ceramic) can be only a few centimeters larger in diameter. Before transplanting at the bottom of a new container, you need to lay out a drainage layer, which may consist of small pebbles or expanded clay.
i. Propagation by cuttings
When propagating, firstly, a shoot 9-10 cm long is cut off from the String of Watermelon, and a couple of lower leaves are removed and then left to dry.
After that, the prepared cuttings are planted in small pots with sandy soil for rooting and placed in a bright and warm place. After the cuttings have taken root, they must be transplanted into a larger pot.
ii. Propagation by seeds
The seeds required for sowing must be fresh and pre-sprouted. To get a beautifully grown plant, several prepared seeds are placed in one pot. Seed crops must be moistened by spraying with water. Ascended seedlings are transferred to new small pots at the cotyledon phase.
Diseases and pests
Several diseases can attack the String of Watermelon. This includes the root and gray rot, which is the most common problem of the bastard.
The plant is covered with brown or gray spots that are constantly growing. To solve this, the plant must be cut out, severely affected bushes removed, and the remaining ones treated with fungicides.
You will get powdery mildew, a fungal disease that manifests itself as a white coating on the surface of leaves and shoots. The most effective against it are preparations containing copper and using new fungicides.
The string of Watermelon can be attacked by thrips that feed on the leaves’ juice, gradually leading the plant to death. You can destroy them with insecticides.
Shields are small insects that attack the plant, protected by a wax coating. They feed on juice and secrete honeydew, on which the fungus immediately sits down. Systemic insecticides like Biotlin, Konfidor, and Aktara are effective against them.
Also, it can be attacked by a spider mite. This is a microscopic pest that sucks out all the juices of the Groundsel and entangles the plant with a thin cobweb. You can destroy them by Oberon, Apollo, Sunmite, Akarin, Agravretin, and Omite.
The String of Watermelon is harder and more common than the string succulents. It belongs to the Asteraceae family. The plant likes more attention when compared to other drought-tolerant plants and is supposed to be watered frequently without allowing the soil to get very dry for long.