How Are String of Tears and String of Pearls Different?

Last Updated on November 13, 2022 by Stephanie

Its easy to confuse the string of tears as the string of pearls. The stringy vines of succulents originate from the dry areas in South as well as East Africa.

But, these closely related plants have developed slightly different requirements and practices for growing and habits - which Ill discuss within this post.

A string of tears is characterized by distinctive teardrop-shaped, tiny succulent leaves that tilt towards the sky. The stem may grow to 1 foot. long. The string of pearls is recognized by its pea-shaped, small succulent leaves and a longer stems that can be 3 to 4 feet long.

Stay tuned as I guide you through the many variations and similarities between the strings of tears and the string of pearls.

The difference in String of Tears and String of Pearls

I need to get it right from the beginning. This string of tear (aka Curio citriformis) was previously known as Senecio citriformis.

The pearl string is also called Curio rowleyanus due to the change in the genus name into Curio.

In this regard I will discuss the main differences between the two.

String Shape and Texture

You may have noticed that both of these plants are succulents, and pay homage to their leaves that store water.

This is partly due to the distinctive shape as well as the color and appearance of leaves. The various adaptive leaves features aid in reducing the loss of water in dry conditions.

In addition, the distinctive forms and shapes of leaves which have come to be the hallmark of these plants is the reason they have become beloved houseplants over the past few years.

On the other hand, string tears plants possess small, teardrop-shaped leaves (up to 0.3 inches in diameter). There is also a distinctive vertical edge on every string, which is pointed towards the upward direction.

The leaves of the string of tears look like raindrops , which gathered across the rigid stem.

Each leaf is equipped with a view of the inside which is where youll see stripes of purple. The leaves are coated with an oily coating that makes them somewhat sticky to the feel.

However, those leaves on the pearl string are small almost round (about 1/4-inch by diameter) and have a pea-like form. Theyre fairly soft to the touch and grow on stems that trail.

string of pearls plant

String Size

String of Tears is slow-growing succulent. In natural environments the stems stringy trail runs across the ground.

There are nodes that have roots that run along the stem which help the plant form an earth cover and absorb as much nutrients and water as it is possible.

Curio citriformis is able to reach an average height of 1 foot (30 centimeters). The leaves with a stringy appearance can reach an area of up to 1.6 feet. (50 centimeters) when they are mature.

String of Pearls a larger plant than a tear-filled string. The pea-shaped, creeping stems and leaves may creep across the ground or drop on top of the pot.

Once it is mature, the stem could be anywhere from 1-3 feet, but it can be as tall as four feet in certain instances. There are also roots at the nodes that aid in ensuring a thick trailing soil cover.

String Color

The leaves that look like raindrops are prominently displayed in a string of tears. They vary in color from light green to dark green, with transparent stripes that stretch across the length of.

The waxy coating could give the plant a shiny appearance.

The string of pearls is gray-green stems that are adorned with fleshy light green leaves. The leaves can change to a deep green when thriving in the spring and summer.

Growth Habit

The plants that produce the string of tears may have a creeping or trailing growth pattern. It will be contingent on the way its planted or grown.

As is the case with nature that the stems with stringy strings leave a trail on the ground. In any situation, the pearl string has an elongated and trailing pattern.

This is precisely why they are so beloved; their flowing and trailing style is a great conversation starter.


If the conditions are favorable when the conditions are right, a string of tears will begin to bloom from the end of the summer to early winter. They appear as tiny cream-colored heads that are yellowish on stalks that can grow to 6 inches (15 centimeters) tall.

At the end of it, the pearls string blooms with white flowers from spring and the beginning of summer. They emit a pleasant smell that hits your nose with a hint of cinnamon.

Be aware that, however, the pearls on your string wont likely fall on the floor when youre indoors.

Height and Structure

The stems of the string of tears may be stiff and extend up to a foot. The plant may reach an elevation of as high as one foot high, and also, once mature.

The stems form a string of strings that sparkle when the trumpet-shaped, cream-colored flowers appear from the mat of foliage.

When the plant matures with a string of pearls, it will grow to an average height of 1 to 2 feet (30-60 centimeters). It has an axial point from which the stems grow like peas strings emerge from the container.

They typically spill over or spill over the container, creating a fascinating display.

Growing Requirements

String of Tears performs best in part sun and some indirect, bright sunlight. While its an arid climate plant It doesnt like excessive direct sunlight.

It can be placed in an east-facing or west-facing window as long as it receives more than six hours of sunshine.

For its part it is the pearl string requires an appropriate mix of bright indirect sunlight, direct sunlight exposure. Be sure that your pearls are exposed to six to eight hours of this combination.

In terms of soil, it is known as the string of tears. It favors succulent or cactus soils with a significant amount of loamy soil. It prefers soil with a neutral pH.

String of pearls could be very well-drained sandy soils, too as in neutral pH soils to acidic pH.

The similarities in String of Tears Vs String of Pearls

Light Requirement

Both require plenty of bright light. Ideally, they will receive at minimum six hours of bright, indirect light. But, the pearl string can endure several hours of direct sunlight.

Also, you can park the gorgeous stringy beauty in a spot which receives sun but some shade.

Watering Requirements

The spring of tears as well as the pearls of spring are able to take a little irrigation. But, you shouldnt let the soil in your potting pot dry completely for a long time.

If their distinctive spherical and teardrop-shaped leaves start to flatten, its an indication that its time to get water.

But, the soil will provide more specific information about when it is time to water.

It is important to ensure that the soil remains slightly damp during the high-growth period from early spring to the summer.

To be sure, you should make sure that the top 3 inches of soil have dried out. If it is, then make sure to water it again. If not, do it again every 4 to 5 days.

Be cautious not to wet your pearl string or tear them excessively. Soggy or wet soil is likely to attract diseases, pests, as well as root rot.


Both plants thrive in a well-drained cactus or a succulent potting mix. It is possible to add pieces of pebbles, wood, or even fibers to aid in drainage in soils that have some clay.

Particularly, this string is a favorite when it is potted in sandy, gravely mix, or loamy that should be on the dry side.

The plants are attracted to soil with an alkaline pH. But, strings of pearls may be a success in soil that is slightly acidic within the interval of 6.6-7.5.


The tear-filled string doesnt require much fertilization, particularly when your soil has enough nutrients.

It is recommended to use fertilizer for houseplants that is water-soluble or liquid. Mix it up to half strength, and apply it only once during the summer months.

Feed your pearl string every month for a period of time in the spring and summer months by using a water-soluble fertilizer.

Also, you should reformulate the mixture to half strength prior to application. Be aware that you only need to feed your pearl string only once in the winter months.

Pest and Diseases

The plants are usually pest-free and disease-free when they are kept inside. However, they may be affected by stem and root decay due to excessive humidity, watering too much, or insufficient circulation.

Though rare These plants are plagued by aphids, mealybugs, or fungus and gnats. Use commercial insecticides. Alternately, you can apply a horticultural oil or soap for insecticides.


The majority of Curio plants are poisonous. Particularly the leaves of strings of tears as well as that of pearls is moderate to moderately toxic for cats, humans as well as dogs.

Humans create sap that can cause irritation to the skin. When ingested, they can cause nausea, diarrhea, rash, or vomiting.

In animals, toxic illness can cause lethargy, diarrhea, rash breakouts and irritation to the skin, mouth vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.

(Sources: University of Wisconsin, Missouri Botanical Garden)



Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)