String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) are a type of succulent. They're also sometimes called String of Beads - both these names come from the plant's characteristic appearance of long, sprawling fleshy foliage that resembles small green peas or rosary beads.
Their unusual appearance makes them a unique decorative houseplant and a great talking point, especially if you like to use hanging baskets, as their long fronds will dramatically trail over the edge of their containers.
They're part of the Asteraceae family, which includes a number of other well-known plant types such as Chrysanthemums, Calendula, and even lettuce!
String of Pearls is native to southwestern Africa. When in their natural environment, their stems stretch across the ground and grow together to form thick, dense mats of foliage.
The name 'rowley' is to honor the British botanist Gordon Rowley, who specialized his botanical work in cacti and succulents during the 1950s.
The unique pearl-like shape of this plant is a result of adaptation to their arid homelands - the fleshy leaves are designed to store water within them, as well as to help prevent additional water loss through evaporation into the dry desert air. This works by ensuring that only a minimal surface area is exposed, which minimizes the available area for water to evaporate from.
Like other succulents, String of Pearls requires little water and access to plenty of sunlight. They can also survive well in dry air.
They need a well-draining soil: desert plants don't like to become waterlogged! For this same reason, make sure to pot yours in a container which has sufficient drainage holes.
If your String of Pearls gets too much water, it can develop root rot, which is often fatal to the plant.
It may be necessary to prune your plant every now and then. To do this, just carefully trim away any dead foliage and / or stems that seem to be lacking in pearls. This will help your plant to look generally fuller.
String of pearls have super shallow roots which is why it's really easy to overwater them, so plant them in a shallow pot.
Be aware that these plants are toxic, and so especially given their unusual, somewhat food-like appearance, it's important to keep them away from children and pets.
They can sometimes produce rather unusual looking flowers. It is said that they smell a bit like cinnamon!
HOW TO PROPAGATE YOUR STRING OF PEARLS
String of Pearls are relatively easy to propagate. This is a good way to keep your plant thriving for a long time - the original plant will eventually die off, but by propagating it you can keep it going more or less indefinitely.
All you need to do is take a stem cutting. Ensure that the cutting is long enough, and allow the cut edge to heal over a bit (i.e. let it 'air out' and rest for a few days) before you then replant it into its own pot.