Easily recognizable by their tiny pea-shaped leaves, 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, 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. 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 are 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.
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. Poor Watering Habits
Arguably the most important thing you can do to your string of pearls is to monitor its soil moisture and ensure you never go overboard with your watering habits. Why? Because this species’s biggest killer is root rot brought about by soggy soil.
What’s more? The beads of a string of pearls stores moisture for the plant, so rest assured it’s okay with sporadic watering habits.
What should be your watering program? From spring through autumn, do not irrigate the plant until you notice its soil is dry approx. 1 inch down. While at it, also avoid getting any drops of water on the leaves or stems.
During the winter season, cut back even more drastically on your watering efforts and only do it approx. once a month.
A great way to tell when a string of pearls is dehydrated is to look at its beads. They’ll usually start to wilt when the soil is too dry.
5. Too Much Direct Sunlight
Most owners of string of pearls make the mistake of thinking that simply because these plants are succulent, they need bright light. This isn’t entirely true.
The truth is the plants prefer areas where they can receive lots of natural sunlight, but they hate direct sunlight as it can scorch the pearls on the plant. The time to be extremely wary of this happening is during summer when the sun is out most of the day and is intence.
NOTE: Unfortunately, if you accidentally leave your string of pearls out in direct sunlight and they get scorched, there isn’t going back. All you can do at that point is trim the pearls off and propagate one of them (that’s if you can find any healthy nodes and stem.)
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.