“Little pickles,” “Ruby Necklace” – these colorful names belong to the same plant most commonly known as the Othonna Capensis.
A low-growing succulent that is an ideal houseplant, the Othonna Capensis spreads on the ground and grows blue-gray leaves that are spirally arranged and thin, finger-like in appearance. Sometimes bright yellow flowers that look like daisies grow on the plants on their slender stems. In a wide pot or container, these plants spread around the ground to create foliage and are quite easy to maintain at home.
The Othonna Capensis doesn’t grow more than 4″ in height, but the average plant can spread across a 12″ -16″ area, covered in tiny leaves and flowers. This makes it the perfect plant for window boxes, tabletops, shelves, and open balconies.
Origin and Cultivation
The Othonna Capensis “Little Pickles” is a native of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, where it grows in the dry and rocky soil. From Little Karoo to Uitenhage, this plant can be found almost everywhere, but the species is naturalized in Algeria and Tunisia.
These days, Little Pickles plants grow worldwide if only they have the right soil conditions and climate.
Propagation of Othonna Capensis Plant
If you already have a “little pickles” plant at home, it is easy to take its stem to make it into a new plant. For this propagation process, you must use a sharp pair of scissors to cut off a stem and let it air for a few days. This will allow the stem to grow some callous over and prevent rotting.
Afterward, keep the stem cutting on top of succulent potting soil in a container. Don’t insert the stem into the soil until you see tiny little roots sprouting out from the cut-end. This will happen when the stem cutting comes into contact with the moist soil perfect for growing succulents. When you finally see some roots growing, it’s time to transfer the stem cutting into a pot.
Propagation of this plant is also possible by immersing the stem cuttings in a jar of clean water. Submerge only the cut-end in water and keep the rest of the stem cutting above the water until new roots start to sprout from the cut-end. Be sure to change the water daily for the stem cutting to stay healthy and not infected with bacteria.
This is a slow process that might take up to a month to sprout roots that are at least one inch long, and then the stem cutting can be repotted into high-quality succulent soil that is slightly moist.
The more stem cuttings you insert into a new pot, the better chances for the stems to grow healthier roots together and grow into spreading foliage. The soil also needs to be constantly moist when inserting the stem cutting into it for the roots to grow.
Care and Growing Guide for Othonna Capensis Plants
A healthy and mature Othonna Capensis plant doesn’t need much care or Maintenance. Instead, you can keep it easily indoors with the right light, soil, and water conditions.
Pruning and Maintenance The dead flowers on “little pickles” plants should be regularly pruned away to encourage more blossom. Other than that, the stems can sometimes be trimmed if the plant gets too heavy. Trimming the top leaves after a decent interval will allow the lower leaves to get adequate sunlight.
Of course, the stems can be trimmed and dried to repot and grow into new plants, which is also a part of the plant’s Maintenance.
Cultivators to Select
The best way to propagate Othonna Capensis plants is to take stem cuttings from it to repot, which should be ideally done during late spring or summer. This time is the perfect growing season for this plant.
All “little pickles” plants can be used to propagate, but the healthy and mature stems have at least two to three nodes on them, making them the best cultivators for this plant.
The more sunlight your Othonna Capensis plant gets, the more vibrant its leaves will become. These are perfect indoor plants, but they need a lot of sunlight. Windowsills are the perfect place to keep them in wide containers, but they can also live inside.
If you plan to keep the plants inside on tabletops or shelves, they should be exposed to bright lights and sunlight as much as possible.
Ideally, Othonna Capensis plants need at least six hours of direct sunlight every day, or the leaves will lose their vibrant red color and start to turn green again.
In the absence of direct sunlight, a grow light can also do the job with proper exposure.
Like most other succulents, “little pickles” plants require high-quality succulent soil that drains well and remains moist. Any pre-made soil mix or potting mix targeted toward growing succulents can be used for Othonna Capensis plants.
This special succulent potting soil contains regular soil mixed with a good amount of pumice, sand, and perlite and has an acidic pH level of around 6.0 or 6.5.
Since these plants are native to South African regions, they prefer to live in a near-drought condition. This means that while the stem cuttings need moist soil for the roots to grow, the plant requires the opposite.
The soil needs to completely dry before deep watering; a sound drainage system will help the soil drain well but stay moist until another watering is needed.
Temperature and Humidity
Othonna Capensis plants enjoy warm temperatures and dry weather. While it can live in any regular household with an average humidity level, the level shouldn’t drop beneath 50-degree Fahrenheit.
During winter, or if you live in a region with extreme winter conditions, keeping the “little pickles” plant inside and away from any drafts is better.
Fertilizers and Feedings
These easy-to-maintain plants do not require any fertilizers or minerals to stay healthy, but some fertilization might be necessary when you are trying to propagate new plants from the stem cuttings.
Any mild fertilizer with a low nitrogen content can be added to the soil only twice a year, during spring and summer.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases
The two most common pests in your Othonna Capensis plants are scales and mealybugs. They can come suddenly, latching themselves to your plants’ stems to suck out their nutrients.
If you keep checking your plants regularly, an infestation can be immediately spotted, and both these pests can be eradicated by using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or isopropyl alcohol.
Although these plants aren’t prone to many diseases, standing water in the container can rot the roots, which can be easily avoided by maintaining a careful watering schedule.
Common Problems with Othonna Capensis Plants
Although they are generally healthy plants, you can have some problems with an Othonna Capensis plant at home.
- Shedding Leaves
This can happen if you’ve been watering your plant with cold or freezing water. For these plants, water should always be kept at room temperature. However, if you live in a freezing climate or during the water, regular water should be mixed with slightly warm water to make it bearable for the plants.
Underwatering your plant can also make the leaves shed without any notice. The soil should be allowed to dry out before watering is required for “little pickles” plants, but if the soil dries up completely for a few days before watering, it can lead to the leaves shedding.
- Wilted and Discolored Leaves
Overwatering your plants when the weather is already cold can make the leaves wilt and discolor them. Watering should be slightly reduced during the winter so the soil remains moist but doesn’t dry up completely.
- Dry and Brown Spots on the Leaves
This can happen because of underwatering. If the soil becomes dry and stays dry for a long time before the plant is watered again, it will cause the leaves to dry up and show some brown spots on them. Regular watering is necessary for this not to happen so that the soil always stays moist.
- Rotting at the Base of the Stems
If the stems of your Othonna Capensis plants are rotting at the base and collapsing, it is an indication of the Basal stem rot disease. This happens, again, because of overwatering and standing water at the base of the plants.
If this happens, the rotten or the rotting stems need to be discarded, and the watering level should be reduced so that the soil drains well and no water remains on the top of the soil.
- Elongated and Mishappen Stems
Too much watering in the winter or cold seasons can cause the stems to become elongated and grow in different shapes. Also, watering should be reduced and scheduled because the soil doesn’t dry quickly during this season.
If the same problem is seen during summer, the plants aren’t getting enough light, causing the stems to reach out for sunlight and elongate themselves. When you see this happening, the best way to avoid this problem is to change the plant’s location to someplace it will have direct access to more sunlight.
Best Uses of Othonna Capensis Plants
This plant, so eloquently named as “ruby necklace,” is pretty versatile, and it can be used:
– As a decorative indoor plant from hanging baskets or widespread containers and pots
– In coastal gardens
– In border plantings
– For retaining walls
– For covering up bare grounds
– In rock gardens
– As filler between shrubs and small plants
– For edging on walls
– For stabilizing banks, etc.
Both indoors and outdoors, the Othonna Capensis is a vibrant and beautiful plant to keep that can be maintained easily and with very little care.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Othonna Capensis Plants
Q. How do you take care of Little Pickles Plants?
A. Little Pickles plants or Othonna Capensis plants are straightforward to take care of at home. Like any succulents, they thrive on high-quality potting soil with good drainage and need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. The correct amount of watering is very important for these plants as both overwatering and underwatering can damage the roots.
Little pickles plants need to be watered regularly and deeply, but only when the soil has dried up. The soil must always stay moist but not wet for the plants to thrive.
Q. How do you grow Little Pickles Plants?
A. These plants can be grown at home in widespread containers because they tend to grow into large foliage as they mature. They can also be grown on the ground outside the house, in gardens or in large containers, or simply to cover the ground and as filler between plants.
Othonna Capensis plants can also be grown in hanging baskets inside the house.
Q. Does Ruby Necklace Plants like Full Sun?
A. Being native to the South African region, ruby necklace plants enjoy dry weather, regular humidity, and lots of sunlight. This plant needs at least 6 hours of sunlight every day, and too little sunlight will make the plant grow elongated and misshaped stems.
Q. How do you grow String Pickle Plants?
A. String pickle plants usually grow on hanging baskets or hanging decorative pots on walls, and they are also very easy to grow and take care of. They should be kept somewhere sunlight can fall directly because without the sun, the leaves will start to drop suddenly from the plant.
To maximize the success of a healthy plant, it should be kept near a window with enough sunlight and brightness but not a cold draft.
Othonna Capensis plants – widespread foliage that can completely cover up a container or pot or hang beautifully from a basket – come in gorgeous shades of red, yellow, and purple leaves. The more sunlight you can give access to these plants, the better they will glow and shine, making your home beautiful.
Easy to maintain and take care of, Othonna Capensis plants – or “Ruby Necklace” and “Little Pickles” plants as they are also known – are among the best plants for beginners to have around the house.