The string of frogs is an evergreen climbing plant, aptly named after its broad leaves that resemble the shape of a frog.
Despite its unoriginal name, it is a beautiful plant gaining some spotlight over the past few years.
Being a plant with low care requirements, the string of frogs has been popular among gardeners who want to keep creepers and climbers.
The string of frogs is a low-maintenance plant that grows rapidly. This is why it is a perfect indoor plant candidate for beginner growers.
Native to East Asia, the plants from the Ficus genus has been popular for decades and still have demand in the gardening community.
This plant is an excellent choice for keeping in hanging pots and containers, inside or outside your home.
Its small oak-leaf-shaped leaves are this plant’s main attraction, making it a lovely table plant or a hanging plant.
Table of Contents Show
String of Frog’s Overview
- Common Name: String of Frogs
- Botanical Name: Ficus Pumila ‘Quercifolia’
- Other Name: Oak Leaf Creeping Fig
- Family: Moraceae
- Origin: Native to East Asia
- Growth Zone: USDA Hardy Zones 9-11
- Plant Type: Creeping Vine
- Grown For: Foliage
- Type: Evergreen Liana
- Height: 3m
- Spread: 5m
- Maturity: 2 years
- Toxicity: Toxic to Pets
String of Frogs Growing Guide
This plant is an agile climber, which means that it will grab onto anything and start climbing.
It is an aggressive grower, so regular trimming and pruning are necessary parts of its care guide.
If you can provide ideal environmental conditions, you won’t have to do much afterward. But the basics, such as watering and fertilizing, are a must for every plant.
You should keep the following factors in mind if you are planning to grow a string of frogs.
|Optimal Care Requirements
|Sunlight and Location
|4-6 hrs bright diffused sunlight, North-facing Window
|55°–75°F (13°–24°C )
|once a week; once every 2-3 weeks in wniter
|Proper Soil Mix
|Loamy and sandy with neutral pH level.
|dilute solution of liquid fertilizer once a month
|2 years for full maturity.
|Once in 1-2 years
|Mid-spring to summer by Stem Cutting
|Mid-Spring to Summer
1. Sunlight and Location
The string of frogs seeks partial indirect sunlight to grow. Unfortunately, being an evergreen plant, it doesn’t do well in direct sunlight conditions.
You should place it at a bright spot in your home where it doesn’t get scorched by the strong noon sunlight.
Placing it where it can get good morning and evening sunlight will encourage its healthy growth.
The string of frogs needs at least 4-6 hours of bright and diffused sunlight every day.
It doesn’t do well in places with direct sunlight. Direct sun easily scorches the small green leaves, and you should avoid this as much as possible.
A North or East facing window is the best place to grow your string of frogs indoors.
You can also place the plant in a South facing window, provided you use a sheer curtain or a drape for protecting the plant from the rays of direct sun.
Shaded places like the patio, front porch, or next to a wall are the best location outdoors to grow your string of frogs.
The plant does surprisingly well in low-light conditions too. Thus, you can practically keep it in underlit spaces but avoid providing more sunlight than necessary.
Long exposure to direct sunlight shows symptoms such as browsing leaves, curling, and drooping leaves, and the leaves start to fall.
2. Ideal Temperature
The string of frogs comes from the tropical region, so it prefers the same kind of temperature and climate.
A warm environment means a healthy, thriving string of frogs that can grow up to their maximum height and spread.
The best grow zones for this plant are USDA 9-11. It means that this plant does well in higher-than-average temperature conditions.
It grows best in the temperature range of 55° – 75° F (13° – 24° C ). Even during the winter season, you wouldn’t want the temperature to fall below 50° F.
However, it is hardy down to 35° F or 1° C but won’t tolerate frost.
It is why it’s best to grow this plant indoors to save from the harsh outdoor climate during winter.
When exposed to frost conditions, the physiological functions of the plant stop, which results in the bursting of cell walls and causes damage to roots and foliage.
If the temperature exceeds 75° F, you will see symptoms such as burning leaf tips, yellowing leaves, scorched foliage, and leaf curling.
Best Practices Maintain the Ideal Temperature
- Even if you are growing your plant outdoors, make sure to bring them in during winter.
- You can raise the temperature of the plant during winter through the use of bedsheets and frost blankets.
- Placing the plant near a window will make it warm and comfy.
3. Ideal Humidity
Every tropical plant needs a warm climate and a moist environment to thrive.
These plants seek places under canopies, and big trees shaded from the direct sun remain moist and fresh in natural conditions.
It does best when the humidity ranges from 60-80% to maintain a fresh green environment,
Due to its humidity requirements, many growers prefer to place it in a terrarium that thrives beautifully.
In any case, dropping the humidity levels below 50% can affect the plant’s growth and result in problems like stunted growth, wilting of the leaves, and yellow and crispy leaves.
To ensure that you are providing a proper humid environment for your plant, you can buy a hygrometer that shows the room’s humidity levels.
Best Practices to Maintain Ideal Humidity
- Some people keep this plant in bathrooms or a kitchen where the humidity is slightly higher than in other parts of the house.
- The best way to maintain a humid environment in your room is to use an electric humidifier that is easily available online nowadays.
- Placing a pebble tray near the plant or below the plant pot will also help maintain a humid surrounding.
- Misting the plant foliage is also a good way to increase the humidity level, but make sure that the leaves don’t stay wet.
4. Watering Requirements
Although most tropical plants prefer a good watering schedule, it is not that selective regarding water requirements.
It needs sufficient watering that can keep the soil moist enough for the plant to grow.
Watering regularly once a week is ideal during the growing season, which helps to fulfill its watering requirements.
You can cut back your watering during the winter since the plant stays dormant, and over-watering can only stress out the plant.
Watering once every 2-3 weeks is enough during the winter times.
While watering your plant, give it a thorough shower till the excess water runs off from the pot’s drainage holes.
It will also help to clear off the excess salt build-up from the soil.
Remove the water from the tray below the pot after watering to prevent root rot problems.
Before watering the plant again, make sure that the soil is completely dry or a little moist.
If the soil is still soggy and wet, then you can postpone your watering for a few more days.
Overwatering is a common issue in this plant which shows symptoms like leaf discoloration, root rot, and yellow leaves.
Tips: Insert your finger about an inch in the soil to check its moisture. Only water when the top 1 inch of the soil is dry.
5. Proper Soil Mix
You have a huge range of options when it comes to proper soil mix for your string of frogs.
This plant grows well in any type of soil as long as it is well-draining and properly aerated.
Loamy and sandy type of soil work well for this plant, provided that the soil mix has enough organic matter. A neutral soil pH level (6.8-7.2) is the one you should go for.
You should avoid the use of heavy and compact soil types that has high clay content. This kind of soil makes your plant easily susceptible to root rot issues.
Any commercial soil mix that is well-draining and porous will work well for your string of frogs.
An all-purpose soil like Miracle-Gro Houseplant Potting Mix should be a good choice of potting mix for your plant.
You can also use regular garden soil for a string of frogs since this plant is not that fussy for its soil requirements.
Be sure to add a handful of perlite and mix one-third part of the soil with organic matter like coco coir and vermicompost.
This mix should ensure proper drainage and aeration and even provide nutrients for healthy growth.
With the use of proper soil mix, your plant will easily fall prey to root rot issues.
6. Fertilization Habits
It stays true to the statement that a string of frogs is a low-maintenance plant.
As long as your soil has enough organic matter, the string of frogs does not require much fertilizing and can do well without it too.
However, some experts still prefer to use a dilute solution of liquid fertilizer once a month during the summer and spring seasons.
In winter, fully abandon fertilizing practices as it won’t do any good when the plant is dormant.
Treating the plant with a weak fertilizer solution can provide the kick for rapid growth during the growing seasons.
Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food is a good liquid fertilizer for your string of frogs.
However, only provide half the recommended dosage on the label.
Instead of using chemical fertilizer, you can also use organic counterparts like vermicompost, fish meal, blood meal, etc.
Organic fertilizers also provide good results in a string of frogs.
While under-fertilizing won’t do much harm, except maybe a bit slower growth, over-fertilizing can cause problems like leaf curling, brown tips, crisping leaves, and even death of the plant.
7. Growth Habits
The string of frogs is a creeping and climbing plant that seeks support for expanding its tendrils.
This plant is also a good choice for keeping in hanging pots and containers for their trailing habits.
Placing it next to a wall can also be a good way to keep the plant expanding by climbing on the wall.
This plant takes about two years to grow to full maturity. When fully mature, it has a height of about 3 m and a spread of around 5 m.
However, if you are planning to grow your plant near a wall, remember to check out any cracks in the wall.
The string of frogs can easily get into the cracks and crevices and potentially damage the wall’s structure.
This plant will grab basically anything it gets for support. So, you can use a trellis, a moss pole, a climbing stick, or even another big plant to support the growth of your string of frogs.
8. Ideal Pot
The main things while choosing a pot for any plant are its material and its size.
Oversized pots can easily result in several watering-related issues that make the plant susceptible to various issues.
Similarly, little pots can make the plant rootbound and prevent it from growing to its full potential.
Thus, the ideal pot size to grow your string of frogs is 4-6 inches, where the plant has enough space to grow.
As this plant is a rapid grower, you will want to increase the size of the pot by an inch every time you decide to repot it.
You can also grow it in any pot or container that you prefer. However, most people use ceramic and plastic pots to grow this plant.
You can choose any of the pot material types from the different options available in the market.
3. Environmental Friendly
|1. Not robust
2. Prone to water-logging
|1. Good drainage
2. Aesthetically Pleasing
|1. Prone to cracking
2. Heavy to move.
2. Great Design
3. Variety of metal
|1. Prone to rusting
2. Prone to overheating
3. Expensive than others
|1. Durable and robust
3. Great design
3. Need regular maintenance
9. Common Pests
The string of frogs is vulnerable to pest attacks quite often.
It is necessary to check for pests and insects now and then to prevent your plant from falling prey to them.
The most common pests in String of Frogs are spider mites, mealybugs, and scales.
These pests can easily damage your plant foliage and leach the important nutrients needed for its growth.
Symptoms like yellowing, wilting, browning, and small dots in the leaves are common after pests have attacked your plant.
Consult the table below to learn more about the common pests in a string of frogs.
|Beneath leaves and flower petals, can also be found in roots
|1. White Cotton-like substance on the underside
2. Leaf curling and yellowing
3. Falling off of leaves
|Underside of leaves and stem
|1. Produces Honeydew sticky excrement on leaves
2. Sooty Mold
3. Scorched leaves that starts to fall
|Underside of the leaves
|1. White or Yellow spots on leaves
2. Silky Webs around plants
3. Yellow and Brown appearance of Leaves
There are a few ways to treat and prevent your plant from being attacked by these pests.
Prevention from Pests infestation
- Check for the infected parts in the plant and prune them in the early stages.
- Regularly inspect for pests and insect eggs.
- Avoid the use of excess fertilizer, as pests can easily increase in such conditions.
- Always provide adequate mulch and enough organic matter to keep the plant healthy.
- If you are positive that pest infestation has taken place, isolate the plant asap.
- The plant should be routinely inspected for any weeds and any other unwanted plants.
- The tools you use for propagation and pruning should be sterilized properly.
- A proper watering schedule can help to prevent several pests.
Treatment of Plants Infested by Pests
- A strong blast of water on the infected plants’ leaves can help knock down the pests.
- You can use a blunt knife or a brush to scrape off the pests from the infected leaves.
- Dabbing the bugs with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol can help to kill the pests.
- Wipe off the infected plant leaves with a clean damp cloth.
- Washing the leaves with Neem oil and Insecticidal soap.
- Spraying off the plants with a horticultural oil can treat your plants from pests.
- You can pick off some pests with your hands.
- Inspect regularly for pests infestation and prune the leaves infected as soon as possible.
10. Root Rot Disease
This plant is hardy when it comes to diseases, although it can occasionally have pest-related problems.
However, if you overdo some of the care requirements like watering and fertilizing, you will encounter rotting of the roots.
Root rot disease is mostly caused due to overwatering, over-fertilizing, and use of improper soil mix.
When the soil gets waterlogged or soggy, it prevents the growth of beneficial bacteria and prevents Oxygen from entering the root system.
It will cause your plant to suffocate, resulting in root rot disease.
Symptoms: Stunting, wilting, discoloration of foliage, and rotting smell from the roots.
Fungus: Pythium species and Phytophthora species
Treatment of Plant Infested with Diseases
In severe cases of root rot, you can do nothing to treat your plant. It would be best to dispose of your plant in a safe place to prevent the disease from spreading.
But if the disease has not spread much, you can follow the instructions below to save your plant from dying:
- Remove the plant from the soil and cut off the mushy roots with sterilized scissors.
- Repot it in a clean pot with well-draining soil and adequate drainage.
- Water it only after 2-3 hours of repotting.
- Place the plant in bright, indirect light.
- Don’t water it more than necessary.
Preventions from Disease Infestation
- Watering should be done properly. Check the moisture level of soil before watering.
- Plating your string of frogs too deeply into the soil can also result in root rot.
- Always use a potting mix that has good drainage and aeration.
- When resing the old pots, clean them thoroughly with a solution of bleach to kill off the fungal spores.
- Use sterilized potting mix and clean pots for planting your string of frogs.
11. Repotting your String of Frogs
Repotting a plant is an important element for caring as it helps to encourage the overall growth of the plant.
You can repot your string of frogs every once in a year or two or when the plant starts to overgrow the pot.
Repotting should be done either to change to potting mix or move the pot to a larger size.
The string of frogs generally likes to be slightly root-bound, so there is no need for frequent repotting.
Repotting your string of frogs is fairly easy, although you need to be sure not to damage the trailing vines while repotting.
- Gently take off the plant from the pot.
- Turn the pot upside down and tap on the base of the pot gently with your palm to get the plant out.
- Check for any signs of damaged or rotten root signs before replanting.
- Prune them if necessary.
- Next, choose the right-sized pot where you plan to grow it.
- Fill about one-third of the pot with potting mix soil.
- Place the plant gently in the pot.
- Cover the plant with soil till it reaches just an inch below the brim of the pot.
- Press the soil firmly with the palm of your hands.
- Your plant is now ready to grow in the new pot.
Keep the following things in mind while repotting your plant
- Early spring and early summer are the best time for repotting.
- Avoid repotting in winter as it can stress the plant.
- When repotting, use a pot size that is only an inch bigger than the last one.
- You can use fresh potting soil every time you repot to refresh the nutrients.
- Make sure that you don’t damage the roots while repotting.
- Add some fertilizer to the soil after repotting as it can help to boost the growth.
- Water the newly repotted plant regularly to encourage growth.
12. Propagating Your String of Frogs
Propagation is the method of multiplying the plant through the use of plant parts.
Many methods are used for propagating a plant nowadays.
Steam cutting, leaf-cutting, air layering, and seeding are some of the most common ones.
I prefer to use the stem-cutting method of propagation as it is an easy and economical propagation method.
It also encourages rapid growth and can be done in both soil or water.
Mid-spring to summer is the best time for propagating your string of frogs as your plant will be at its active growth phase during these times.
Propagating during these seasons will give the most rapid results.
But you can technically propagate your plant any time of the year, although the root will take more time to develop at other times.
The set of instructions below will help you propagate your string of frogs:
Step 1: Getting the Tools Ready
Get a pair of clean scissors, pruning shears, or a sharp knife.
Always remember to clean and disinfect your tools properly before use.
You can sterilize the tool you are using by rubbing it with alcohol on both sides to kill off any harmful bacteria and fungal spores.
You can also boil the equipment in water for a few minutes or heat it over a flame to sterilize your tools.
Step 2: Choosing where to Cut
Choosing where to cut the plant is an important aspect of propagation.
If you cut down the plant parts randomly, then the success rate of propagation will drop drastically.
While choosing the stem you want to cut for propagation, choose one that consists of a node and at least a few leaves.
Cut a few inches below the node for the best results. Avoid sawing-off motion while cutting as it can damage the plant tissues.
The cutting should be made at a 45-degree angle to cover the most surface area. Plus, it will help to encourage the rapid growth of the plant tissues.
Always aim for a quick and clean cut to avoid any damage to the plant.
Step 3: Setting up the Growth Medium
Stem propagation can be done in both water and soil.
You can choose any between the two of them depending on what you find easier.
But you should know that propagation in water is easier than in soil. Not only does the root develop rapidly, but propagating in water also has fewer chances of contamination.
Water Propagation Method
If you are planning for water propagation method, follow the steps below:
- Put the cutting you have taken in a clear vase filled two-thirds with clean water.
- Make sure that the stem is not touching the base of the vase when placing it.
- Put enough water to the level that it covers the node of the stem.
- Some people like to use a rooting hormone in the water to encourage rapid growth.
- Keep the cutting in a well-lit window where it receives indirect sunlight.
- Check for any signs of algae or murkiness on water.
- Change the water every few days to prevent algal growth.
- Wait till the root grows about 3-4 inches long.
- Lastly, transfer the fresh cutting into a pot a few inches bigger than the root system.
Soil Propagation Method
Propagating the cutting in the soil is also similar to propagating the cutting in water.
However, the roots take more time to develop in soil than when you propagate them in water.
You won’t have to go through the hassle of transferring your plant into the new soil.
Follow the instructions below to propagate your stem cutting in soil:
- Fill up two-thirds of the pot with an appropriate potting mix that is light and drains well.
- Place the stem cutting a few inches into the soil.
- You should place the cutting in a way that the soil covers up the node of the stem.
- Keep the plant in a well-lit, moist place where it is not exposed to direct light.
- You need to allow the roots to grow 2-3 inches long.
- Watering should be continued from this stage and you can slowly get on with other necessary requirements.
Learn how to propagate your Mini Monstera: How to propagate Mini Monstera?
13. Trimming and Pruning your String of Frogs
The string of frogs is an aggressive grower that needs constant pruning now and then.
Without routine pruning, your plant will easily be overgrown and start looking messy and untidy.
Pruning and trimming a plant have two main purposes.
First, it will help to keep the plant looking tidy and busy. Secondly, pruning encourages new growth and helps prevent the nutrients from being leached by dead plant parts.
The best time to prune any plant is at its active growth stage. For your string of frogs, the ideal time for pruning is mid-spring to summer.
You should avoid pruning in the winter as it will stress the plant and have a negative impact.
To keep your string of frogs healthy and vigorously growing, the following things must be done while pruning:
- Remove dead, damaged, and diseased plant parts.
- Remove the plant parts that are growing away from the support.
- Direct the growth of the plant.
- Limit the growth of the plant.
Follow the steps below to prune your string of frogs:
- Get a pair of pruning shears or a sharp knife. You need to sterilize it properly by rubbing it with alcohol on both sides to prevent contamination.
- Look for vines that are growing away from the support or the ones that have a messy look.
- Follow step 2 on all sides and mark the ones where you want to cut.
- Select a node where you want to make the cut.
- Cut back your vine an inch below your desired length.
- Make sure that the cut is clean, as a stub can attract pests and diseases.
- Don’t prune more than one-third of the plant’s foliage at one time.
14. The String of Frogs Toxicity
Even if your plant looks harmless, it can potentially be toxic to your pets and children which is something you need to keep in mind.
Almost all of the plants falling into the Moraceae family are said to be toxic to the touch.
The sap of the string of frogs can cause phytophotodermatitis which is a skin inflammation problem.
When ingested. it can cause irritation on the mouth and various gastrointestinal issues.
In case your pet has ingested the plant or has been exposed to the plants’ toxins, then you may see the following symptoms:
- Irritation and itching of the skin
- Redness of the skin
- Pawing the face
- Diarrhea and decreased appetite.
- Abdominal pain
- Dermatitis skin contact
- Vomiting and convulsions
- Inflammation of the skin
Contact your local vet or call the APCC at (888) 426-4435 if you see any of the above symptoms in your pet.
Exposure to the milky sap of the plant shows symptoms of rash, blisters, and black or reddish scar on the skin.
The first line of defense against phytophotodermatitis is to prevent the exposure of toxins to the body in the first place:
- After pruning and propagating the plant, take a shower and bathe as soon as possible.
- Do not incinerate these plants as they can serve to spread the toxins.
- Wear gloves and protective equipment before handling this plant.
- Apply sunscreen on the affected area as it can help to prevent the spread.
If you have somehow been exposed to the toxins, protect the infected area from heat and moisture, as it can only worsen the allergic reaction.
Seek medical treatment immediately if you start seeing the symptoms worsening.
Here are some tips on how to reduce exposure to its toxins:
- First, place the plant out of reach of children and pets.
- You can use a pet repellant spray to keep the pets away from your plant.
- Teach your children not to go near this plant.
- You can keep mothballs or Neem plants around the plant area, as the smell is known to repel pets.
- Sprinkling coffee grounds near the plant can also help to repel pets.
Tips for a Growing String of Frogs
These tips below can help you keep your string of frogs healthy and thriving.
- Watering with tap water or distilled water will give the best results.
- Before watering your plant, check the moisture level of the soil with the finger dipping method.
- The string of frogs is a vigorous grower, so you will want to prune the plant regularly.
- Remember to keep the plant away from places with cracks and crevices, as it can easily seep through those openings.
- Misting the plant using spray bottles frequently and placing a pebble tray will prevent spider mites.
- Avoid the use of oversized pots as they can easily drown the plant’s roots, making it susceptible to root rot.
- Regular inspection of your plant for pests and diseases is suggested.
- A well-draining potting mix with adequate aeration should be used to avoid water-logged and soggy soil problems.
- When using chemical fertilizers, always remember to use half the recommended dosage on the label.
- Due to its trailing habit, you can also use this plant as a ground cover.
- Always place the plant near shade to avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
Check out this instructional video on String of Frogs.
FAQs About String of Frogs
Is the String of Frogs a Rare Plant?
The string of frogs is considered to be a bit more rare the variety of plants of the Ficus genus.
However, due to this plant being widely coveted because of its unique frog-shaped leaves, it has been heavily propagated to meet the market demand.
Why is my String of Frogs Turning Brown?
Browning of the leaves can occur due to various factors like under watering, low humidity, and too much sunlight.
Exposure to direct sunlight is the most likely reason for this. You can avoid such by keeping the plant a few feet away from the window.
Maintain a proper watering schedule and keep the humidity level at around 40-50%.
Why does my String of Frogs Keep Dying?
The string of frogs can be easily overwatered. A proper watering schedule and a well-draining potting mix are essential requirements for caring for your string of frogs.
The soil should be allowed to dry off properly between waterings to prevent your string of frogs from dying of root rot disease.
How do you Keep a String of Frogs Alive in Winter?
If the plant is outdoors, you need to bring it indoors to protect it from the cold.
If it is not possible, then cover the soil with adequate mulch and use a frost blanket or any form of cover to protect it from cold winds.
Avoid fertilizing totally and water once every 2-3 weeks in the winter times.
The string of frogs is a great plant for beginner gardeners and also for all levels of plant lovers.
This plant is easy to grow, easy to care for, and will reward you well if you put some effort into fulfilling its care requirements.
You will surely adore the cute little frog-shaped green leaves when properly cared for.