As long as the environment and care routine is right, you’ll have no problems caring for your String of Pearls and they actually become quite low maintenance plants. However, as soon as something isn’t quite right, they can become pretty fussy and may begin losing their leaves/pearls. But don’t worry, as long as your plant hasn’t lost all of its leaves, there is still hope and a good chance you can still revive it and bring it back to full health. Below we will be going through each of the different reasons why String of Pearls plants lose their leaves, so you can figure out which is affecting your plant and how to fix it.
Cold temperatures often make String of Pearls plants lose their leaves
One of the most common reasons why String of Pearls lose their leaves is due to inconsistent temperatures, particularly cold temperatures. If your plant is exposed to low temperatures (the ideal temperature for String of Pearls is between 18°C – 24°C), it can often cause them to go into shock and some leaves will drop from the plant.
Over time, if your String of Pearls is consistently exposed to really low temperatures, it can cause plant death as not only can’t they grow well in these conditions, but the risk of root rot is much higher as it’ll take a lot longer for the potting mix to dry out after watering.
Cold drafts can be caused by a range of things but doors or windows with small cracks are your plant’s worst enemy. If they are too close to drafty windows or doors then the cold air from outside during winter can be pretty damaging to your String of Pearls and will more often than not cause them to lose some leaves. But it’s not just wintertime that you have to be careful about cold drafts; String of Pearls will struggle if too close to any AC vents so move them at least 1m away to prevent leaf drop.
We really recommend buying a digital thermometer to check the temperature around your String of Pearls.
Waterlogged soil can also cause leaf drop
Too much water can also lead to your String of Pearls losing leaves. If you notice the stems and leaves are a little softer than usual this may be because the pearls are filled with water and about to burst or fall from the plant. Waterlogged soil can also cause root rot which means your String of Pearls isn’t able to get all the nutrients it needs and becomes unstable and droopy. String of Pearls plants have very delicate roots so this can be a big problem quickly.
To figure out if overwatering is the cause of the loss of leaves on your String of Pearls, check the moisture levels in the soil immediately. If the soil is quite waterlogged and clumpy then replace it with fresh dry mix which will allow your String of Pearls to begin the process of recovery and growing new healthy leaves. Trim away the rotten roots and hold off on watering as much as you did before. This should help prevent your String of Pearls from losing too many more leaves in future.
Top tip: waterlogged soil can give off a damp, musty smell so give your plants a smell every now and again to help you spot the issue before your plant loses any leaves.
A consistent lack of sunlight
String of Pearls thrive in bright, indirect light and will struggle with anything less. Insufficient light levels will start to cause your String of Pearls to shed some of the older leaves to keep their energy reserves for the new healthy growth. It’s just a process of prioritisation as your plant will want to continue growing and developing even if the light levels aren’t high enough. This is actually one of the most common causes of leaf drop for String of Pearls.
Luckily, this should be quite an easy fix as you need to find a spot in your home that has a little bit more natural sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight (especially in summer) as you don’t want to burn the leaves on your String of Pearls. If you aren’t able to find a good spot with ample sunshine, then you might want to think about investing in a grow light to supplement light levels and prevent your String of Pearls from losing any more leaves.
A slightly less common reason why your String of Pearls’ leaves might be dropping is a pest infestation. It can happen that pests such as mealybugs, spider mites and scale bugs take hold of your plant. This does become more common if your String of Pearls is spending any time outdoors so make sure to give your plants a full check when moving them indoors to stop the spread of pests among your houseplants.
If you find pests on your String of Pearls it’s important you give your plant a thorough wash in the shower. Keep the water pressure low as they have very delicate vines and remove the worst affected areas to curb the growth of the infestation. You should also treat your String of Pearls with an organic insecticide and neem oil to get rid of the pests.
Those are the four most common reasons why String of Pearls plants lose their leaves. When your plant loses its leaves it’s a way for it to tell you that it’s shocked or stressed so it’s important to find out what is causing it and make the right steps to not only fix the issue but prevent it from happening again. If the problem is getting quite bad then we recommend taking a small cutting of your String of Pearls (one that is healthy with no signs of pests or other problems) so that if the worst happens, you still have a little bit of healthy plant you can grow.
To learn more about how to take care of your plant (and avoid more leaves falling off or other issues occurring), check out our String of Pearls care guide.