How to Grow String of Buttons

String of buttons plant growing in a clay pot next to air plant in wooden bowl

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

In This Article

If you are looking for a plant that is great for a beginner or you are someone who kills everything off, there are plenty of plants that can be recommended. The string of buttons (Crassula perforata) is one of them. It is an ideal starter plant that is easy to maintain and interesting to look at.

The succulent’s hardiness comes from the fact that it is native to the gritty arid soil and rocky slopes of South Africa, where it grows among the craggy florae. This has made the plant adaptable to many conditions.

The string of buttons can deal with less-than-ideal light, little water, and extremes in temperatures. This makes it the perfect plant to stand up to the neglect often suffered at the hands of an inexperienced plant owner.

The triangle-shaped leaves create a spiral shape around the plant's stem and it gives it a stacked appearance. The gray-green leaves can take on a pink hue when exposed to sufficient light.

String of button plants are very popular and can be found almost anywhere that succulents are sold.

Botanical Name Crassula perforata
Common Name  String of Buttons
Plant Type   Succulent
Mature Size   Grows to 18 inches tall
Sun Exposure  Full to Partial Sun
Soil Type  Well Drained, loamy, Sand
Soil pH  Adaptable
Bloom Time  Spring
Flower Color  Yellow
Hardiness Zones  9-12
Native Area   South Africa

String of Buttons Care

Growing hardy string of button plants is not complicated. It makes a great indoor plant and works in a container garden in some warmer North American Zones. It will even do well as a terrarium plant.

A key requirement for their survival, however, is good drainage. The only thing that will really kill this versatile plant is overwatering.

String of buttons succulent plant in clay pot

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

String of buttons succulent plant in clay pot seen from above

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

String of buttons succulent plant closeup

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle


In its native habitat in South Africa, Crassula perforata has adapted to meet the demands of living in both harsh full sun and the shadows cast by tall rocks and bushes that grow alongside the diminutive trailing succulent.

It will handle almost any lighting condition in an indoor setting but will suffer if left without enough light. Evidence of this deficiency will be the loss of coloration of the plant’s foliage.

For best results, a string of buttons plant should receive plenty of indirect sunlight.


The perfect soil for the string of buttons would be a mix that mimics that found in its native habitat. A well-draining medium of sand, pumice, and bark would fit this description. A ready-made cactus mix would be ideal and there are many good choices available at your friendly local nursery or garden supply store. 


An easy way to avoid overwatering a succulent like the string of buttons is the soak and dry method. Simply soak the soil, drenching it until water runs out the bottom of the pot and the soil is fully moist.

Only water again when the soil is fully dry and not before. Following this cycle will help keep the plant from being overwatered.

Temperature and Humidity

The string of buttons make an excellent container plant but should be protected from frost or temperatures under 32o Fahrenheit. 

The weather conditions in South Africa have prepared Crassula perforata for some elevated temperatures, though more frequent watering may be needed in these instances.


String of buttons normally grows in areas with poor, infertile soil. It is not used to having nutrient-rich soil. Fertilizer really should not be needed. If you are looking to give the plant a bit of a boost, using a houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength will work.

Propagating String of Buttons

Like most other succulents, the string of buttons is easy to propagate from the offshoots that grow from the mother plant (often referred to as pups) or from cuttings.

To propagate from cuttings, simply twist off a healthy leaf from the mother plant. Make sure you get the whole leaf and not just a part. Wait a couple of days before planting the cutting in a well-draining potting mix. This gives the exposed end of the cutting a chance to callous and it is more likely to root successfully.

When it comes to offsets, simply wait for a decent-sized pup to have developed before cutting if from the mother plant with a sharp and sterile knife. Again, it is a good idea to allow it to dry for a couple of days before repotting.