ASK THE GARDENERS. Questions & Answers
Q I have an unusual plant in a hanging basket, which, as you can see from the small sample, looks like small green peas attached at narrow intervals along a green string. The plant was purchased in Florida in 1973 and has grown beautifully. The strings have reached the floor and I have used pieces to start new plants for friends.
It is embarrassing not to be able to tell them the name, but there was no identification on it when it was purchased.
Stone Harbor, N.J.
The plant you have is commonly called ``string-of-beads.'' The botanical name is Senecio rowleyanus. It is in the same family as German ivy. This particular Senecio is a native of desert regions in the African southwest.
You are apparently giving it proper care. We have ours on an enclosed porch where it gets very bright light but is not in full sun.
In winter it gets a temperature range of 45 to 50 degrees F., and only enough water to keep the beads from shriveling.
During spring and summer we give it a liquid feeding once a month, and water as soon as soil feels dry on top. It needs good drainage and does well in cactus soil (we use two parts garden loam or regular potting soil and one part builders' sand). Washed sand is available from most lumberyards.
In summer it tolerates whatever temperature we have on our enclosed porch (usually 70 degrees to 85 degrees F.).
If you have a question about your garden, inside or out, send it, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, to the Garden Page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. Doc and Katy Abraham are nationally known horticulturists.