How to revive a dying String of Hearts

Last Updated: April 1, 2022

There are quite a few reasons why your String of Hearts might be starting to die. Either it’s getting the wrong care, is sat in the wrong environment or has simply been forgotten about. We are strong believers in reviving your plant and not giving up until we really have to. There was even a point where we managed to save an entire plant by just having one healthy leaf yet. Below you’ll find several different things you can try to revive your dying String of Hearts plant.

Watering could cause your String of Hearts to start dying

If you’ve been neglecting your String of Hearts and forgotten to water, then this will need to be first on your list when trying to revive your dying plant. But before you do anything, double-check that it actually needs watering because overwatering is also a major issue for String of Hearts plants as they really don’t need a lot. Check the moisture in the soil just by feeling it and only remove the plant if necessary. String of Hearts have very delicate roots so if you can tell how much moisture is in the soil through the finger or chopstick method, then that’s preferred. A moisture meter is also a great tool to use for this as it takes away the guesswork. 

If the potting mix is completely dry it will feel very dusty and crumbly. This indicates that your String of Hearts needs more frequent watering. But before you give your dying String of Hearts a big bucket of water, hold off for a moment as a rapid change of environment can actually shock your plant and this won’t help anything. There is a two-step process to reviving an underwatered String of Hearts. Firstly, fill up a bucket with room temperature water and soak your String of Hearts for around half an hour. Then let it drip dry in the shower or sink before popping it back in its pot. This helps to avoid the delicate roots from sitting in too much water as your plant will only take in what it needs. Then over the next few weeks, continuously check the moisture levels in the potting mix and water a little more frequently than you have been. If you feel as though the root system is still pretty dry, you can soak your String of Hearts again in the first week. 

It might also be that your String of Hearts is dying because of overwatering. If you find that the potting mix of your String of Hearts is waterlogged then you’ll need to replace it immediately. Don’t wait for it to naturally dry out as this risks more damage to the delicate root system and will make reviving your String of Hearts even more difficult. Trim off any rotten roots as these won’t be helping your plant anymore and you’ll want to encourage more healthy roots to grow. 

Now that the initial problem is sorted, it’s really important that you prevent any watering issues in future to stop your String of Hearts from dying. Luckily there are a few methods you can use to help prevent waterlogged or dry soil. Firstly, investing in a self-watering pot means that you can be sure that your String of Hearts is only getting the water it needs at the right time. We recommend this self-watering pot from Amazon which our plants love! A moisture meter is also a great way to know when the soil is ready to be watered and they are super affordable making them a must-have for every plant parent. 

We also recommend using terracotta pots instead of plastic ones as these let some of the water evaporate out of the sides. The plastic pots that you get from plant shops or nurseries are good for transportation and are cost-efficient, but aren’t always the best thing for your plants. It can make overwatering your String of Hearts a lot easier to do.

Caring for the leaves of your String of Hearts

When reviving your String of Hearts it’s important to pay attention to the vines and leaves rather than just the roots. As the String of Hearts has very delicate leaves and vines, we recommend removing any that are dry, crispy, yellow or mushy. Your String of Hearts will be wasting valuable energy trying to keep those alive, so you want to remove those dying parts of the plant so that your String of Hearts can focus on growing new, healthy vines and leaves.

Increasing the humidity can help revive a dying String of Hearts

Alongside watering, increasing the humidity is also a great way to revive a dying String of Hearts plant and get it back to tip-top condition. Our homes can sometimes have quite dry air, especially in the winter months where we often have the central heating on. Dry air can cause the leaves to be a little limp and droop down as well as turn brown and crispy. Luckily there are several easy methods to increase the humidity and help to revive your dying String of Hearts: 

Misting your String of Hearts’ leaves

One of the simplest ways to increase the humidity for your String of Hearts (and the rest of your humidity-loving houseplants) is to mist them with a spray bottle a few times a week. Make sure you do this in the morning so there is enough time for the water droplets to evaporate before nightfall. Once the temperature drops, the risk of leaf rot on damp leaves increases. 

Make a Pebble tray

If you’re up for a little DIY then this one is for you. Place your String of Hearts over a tray of small stones and add fresh water about halfway up the container. Over the day, the water from the tray will evaporate around your plant giving your String of Hearts above a little humidity boost. The number one thing is to not let the water level reach your plant pot as you don’t want the roots sitting in a puddle of water as they are very susceptible to root rot. 

Get the right placement

If you happen to have great lighting in your bathroom or kitchen, we recommend moving your String of Hearts in there. The running water from your showers and steam that comes from your cooking means these rooms have often have a naturally higher humidity level than the rest of your home. We find using a humidity/ temperature meter can really help you decide where to put your String of Hearts.

Invest in a humidifier

If you want to take the worry and guesswork out of getting the humidity level just right, then we have the perfect thing for you. Humidifiers are super affordable little devices that keep a consistent humidity level. You can find our current favourite humidifier on Amazon here. Our plants really love it and it not only helps to revive dying plants, but it keeps them healthy throughout the year too! 

Want to know more about raising the humidity level for your String of Hearts and other houseplants? Check out our humidity guide to find out everything you need to know!

Check the Lighting Conditions

It can happen that too much direct sunshine can burn your plant so if your String of Hearts has been left near a window for long periods of time, this might be why your plant has started to die. If you notice scorched, crispy leaves then it may be due to too much direct sunlight hitting the leaves. Move your plant further away from the window, and remove the scorched leaves. 

If your String of Hearts has been growing in darker areas of your home, then you probably need to adjust the light levels to revive your dying plant. Leggy vines or a complete lack of growth is a classic sign of not enough sunlight but be careful not to move your String of Hearts into direct sunlight as this will cause a whole range of other issues as we mentioned above. 

It’s important that you monitor the light levels and how they change throughout the day and year. Your String of Hearts might be getting the right amount of light in the morning or during winter but too much or too little light for the rest of the day or year. You’d be surprised how much the light level can change. To monitor the light level, and to be sure your String of Hearts is getting the right amount, use a light meter.

If you’ve established that your String of Hearts needs more light, but there isn’t a suitable spot in your home then we have a solution. We recommend purchasing a LED light to encourage new healthy growth. They are also great for your other houseplants if they don’t get as much light during winter so are a great investment. Oh, and you can also use them during the propagation process to provide the ideal environment. Our plants love this grow light from Amazon.

Temperature issues might be causing your String of Hearts to die

To help bring your String of Hearts back to full health, you need to make sure that there are no temperature extremes that might be slowly killing your String of Hearts plant. Radiators, heating vents, cookers and air conditioning systems can be harmful to your String of Hearts as they create hotspots and cool drafts. Ideally, you want them to be in a spot with temperatures between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a digital thermometer to keep an eye on temperature fluctuations to prevent any further damage to your String of Hearts. Whilst you might not notice a cold draft coming through the window, over time this can be quite damaging, especially during the night when temperatures drop. 

Pests might be why your String of Hearts is dying

One thing to look out for when trying to revive your dying String of Hearts is pests. It can happen that pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, scale insects and more can take hold of your String of Hearts and cause it to develop yellow leaves, a lack of growth and often drop a lot of leaves. Give your plant a once over to spot any signs of a pest infestation. If you’re lucky you may even be able to spot pests. Signs include white powder, webbing on the leaves or holes in the leaves. Use a magnifying glass to inspect the plant, looking at the undersides of the leaves and vine joints as this is where they like to hang out. If you spot pests or signs of pests, then it’s not the end for your String of Hearts as luckily there are a few different ways to get rid of them. 

Your first port of call to reviving your String of Hearts and getting rid of the pests is to remove the worst affected leaves. This will help to curb the infestation initially. Then you want to wash your plant down in the sink. If the infestation continues, you might need to replace the potting mix as this is where some pests lay their eggs. Alongside these methods, you should also treat your String of Hearts with neem oil or another insecticide to fight the infestation.

Repot into Fresh Soil

Alongside a lot of the methods above, you might also choose to replace the potting mix to help revive your String of Hearts. When replacing the soil, make sure to use a high-quality potting mix that is specially designed for houseplants as this will give your String of Hearts the right balance of nutrients. We recommend Miracle Gro’s houseplant mix.

Gently rub all the old soil from the root system by running your fingers through it. It’s important you are very careful when handling the roots of your String of Hearts, as they are very delicate. With a lot of other plants, we often say that it’s okay to break a few roots when repotting but try to avoid this with String of Hearts plants as they have a very small root system to begin with.

Avoid fertiliser to help revive your dying plant

There is mixed advice on whether or not your should fertilise your String of Hearts when trying to revive your dying plant. We always recommend steering clear of it, to begin with. Fertiliser is great at encouraging new healthy growth but it can also shock your plant if used incorrectly or when your plant is struggling. We recommend waiting about two months after making any changes to the environment or care routine before even thinking about using fertiliser. Only use if you don’t see any signs of unhappiness or distress.

Once your String of Hearts is ready to be fertiliser, you need to choose between liquid fertiliser or spikes that you pop into the soil. Our String of Hearts really loves this liquid feed from Miracle Gro which is available on Amazon. When fertilising your String of Hearts always use less than the recommended strength. There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to plant feed as size, maturity and environment will impact how much it needs. So using less than it says on the bottle is safer and avoids any risk of over-fertilising (which is higher as the roots on your String of Hearts are so delicate).

Reviving any of your dying houseplants can be a difficult, emotional process, especially if they have been neglected for months on end. If you find yourself always forgetting to take care of your houseplants, try adding watering to your calendar every week or asking a family member or housemate to help you out. Alternatively, it’s also worth looking into low-care houseplants as some really don’t need much care or attention to thrive. In fact, several plants prefer it if you forget about them! 

Don’t give up on your String of Hearts too quickly, they can look pretty dead but will actually start to grow new vines and leaves with the right care. So be patient, treat them well and they will hopefully reward you with plenty of new healthy growth soon!

Find out more about caring for your String of Hearts in our care guide.

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