Easily recognizable by their tiny pea-shaped leaves, a string of pearls are exceptional vining succulents whose leaves grow on trailing stems that aesthetically spill over the sides of hanging baskets and planters. Homeowners can use these hanging stems to propagate the plant since it does not live long without propagation.
That said, while this plant is a darling to own, something must have happened to yours (or your loved one’s), and you’ve been left wondering, “Why is my string of pearls dying?” Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Why is My String of Pearls Dying?
If your beloved succulent has run into some issues and is dying off, there may be a few reasons for that so, use the tips I’ve shared below to get to the bottom of the issue and get this elusive plant back to life again.
1. Poor Watering Habits
Succulents like the String of Pearls have specific watering needs that differ from typical houseplants. Overwatering or underwatering can lead to pearls plant dying.
Arguably the most important thing you can do to your string of pearls plant is to monitor its soil moisture and ensure you never go overboard with watering frequency. Here’s how watering habits might be affecting your String of Pearls:
Overwatering string of pearls
Pearl plants store water within their leaves. However, excessive watering can prove detrimental, manifesting in evident overwatering symptoms, including yellowing, shriveled leaves, and even a musty odour emanating from the soil.
These signs signal potential root rot and fungal infections due to an overly moist environment that compromises the plant’s roots, which can cause severe conditions or may even lead to dying strings.
To save your pearls plant, it’s imperative to allow the soil’s top layer to dry out before initiating the watering process anew. Opt for well-draining soil housed in a pot equipped with drainage holes to avert water accumulation.
When watering, strive for thorough saturation but maintain infrequent intervals between waterings to prevent root rot. Let the soil dry once. Importantly, facilitates the discharge of excess water from drainage hole of the pot to prevent waterlogged conditions and safeguard against root rot and disease.
Underwatering pearls plant:
While succulents are drought-tolerant, they still need regular water to thrive. If you’re not watering your String of Pearls enough, the leaves will start to shrivel and become wrinkled. The plant may become pale and lose its plump appearance.
Water the plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. When you water, do so thoroughly, ensuring that water reaches the roots. Pour water evenly across the soil surface until it starts to drain from the bottom of the pot.
2. Cold Temperatures Could Be The Culprit
Another thing that string of pearls hate is cold air. So, if you notice that your dying string of pearls is in a drafty spot or room that’s too cold, it’s time to rectify the situation.
Also, avoid placing the plant near doors or windows that are regularly open in winter or have cracks since the cold air could shock your beloved plants and cause them to start losing their pearls.
During their growing season of spring through autumn, the string of pearls plants prefer warm temps ranging between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’ve ascertained that the reason your string of pearls is dying could have something to do with low temperatures, your best bet is to move the plants to warmer areas in your home and start monitoring how the temperature in that space transforms throughout the different seasons and times of the day. You could use a digital thermometer.
3. Using Too Much Fertilizer
Using too much fertilizer in any plant is enough to cause damage to the roots, and string of pearls is no exception. After all, these are succulents whose native habitat is the East African natural desert habitat.
That basically implies they’re used to nutritionally unenriched soils, so you don’t need to feed them any nutrients.
That said, if you feel the need to give the plants some extra oomph from time to time, only feed them balanced plant food every several weeks throughout the growing season and do not feed it anything during winter.
Other great fertilizer options include organic manure and worm compost. Organic manure will enrich the soil with nutrients while ensuring the roots remain heathier, whereas worm compost is excellent for its nutrients rich nature.
If your concern is to simply make the string of pearls look fuller, prune back the plant from time to time, get rid of any beadles strands, and award the others a nice trim.
4. Check for Pest Infestation
If you notice the pearls on the plant have started turning yellow or some sort of residue has been left on your plant, chances are your string of pearls is under attack by pests. This plant is susceptible to spider mite and aphid infestation, so use a magnifying glass to see if you can spot any pests on the pearls.
Closely inspect the regions where the stems and pearls meet since that’s where these insects like to hide.
Note: if left untreated, the pests on your string of pearls will suck on the plant’s leaves, suffocate them, and slowly kill them. The good news? Eliminating these pests isn’t a hassle.
All you ought to do is take a cotton swab, dip it in rubbing alcohol, and use it to run the pests away. Before you do this, though, you’ll need to isolate the affected plant from all the others. If possible, place it in a different room for the time being.
If you were lucky to catch the issue relatively early on, reviving your string of pearls shouldn’t be a hassle.
5. Too Much Direct Sunlight
Many owners of string of pearls plants fall into the common misconception that their succulent nature automatically demands constant exposure to bright light. However, this assumption doesn’t hold entirely true. These unique plants do exhibit a preference for environments where abundant natural sunlight is accessible.
Yet, it’s crucial to understand that they thrive under conditions of bright indirect light, a shade that mitigates the potential harm of direct sunlight. The intense rays of direct sun have the capacity to inflict damage upon the delicate pearls adorning the plant, resulting in unsightly scorching. This vulnerability is particularly pronounced during the summer months when the sun’s presence is prolonged and its intensity heightened.
This susceptibility to intense sunlight calls for a vigilant approach, especially throughout the sun-drenched season. While providing enough light for healthy growth is imperative, it’s equally vital to protect the pearls from the harshness of direct sunlight.
Ideally, positioning the plant in areas where it can benefit from the gentle, indirect morning sun rather than the unforgiving midday rays can contribute to its well-being. The pearls, being a distinctive feature of the plant’s allure, are especially prone to the negative effects of direct sun exposure, necessitating careful management of light conditions.
Regrettably, should the unfortunate circumstance unfold where your string of pearls is accidentally subjected to direct sunlight and consequent scorching, the repercussions are irreversible.
Once the pearls have suffered damage, there’s no turning back the clock. At this juncture, the only recourse involves meticulously trimming away the scorched pearls and attempting propagation from any remaining healthy nodes and stems.
However, this step is contingent on the availability of undamaged sections for propagation. Hence, the key takeaway is the delicate equilibrium between ensuring ample natural sunlight and shielding the pearls from the detrimental impacts of direct sunlight.
If well taken care of, string of pearls plants rarely run into issues like pests and diseases. This makes them great to keep.
However, anytime in the future you notice yours dying and are at a loss for what you can do, simply come back to this guide, and use the list above to narrow down the possible issues that could be plaguing your string pearls plants.