String of Hearts are known to be pretty hardy houseplants that don’t need too much care, but they can start to show signs of distress if their environment isn’t ideal. The main reasons why your String of Hearts might be suffering are overwatering, not enough sunlight, nutrient deficiency, cold temperatures and pest infestation.
How overwatering can cause damage to your String of Hearts
If you notice that your String of Hearts is turning slightly yellow it is most likely due to overwatering. String of Hearts don’t need to be watered often, we go for once every 7-10 days in summer and even less in winter. They really don’t like being sat in water so you need to ensure that the pot has good drainage.
Overwatering can very quickly lead to root rot which is very harmful to your String of Hearts. Not only does it cause the leaves to turn yellow, but it will also mean that the plant is unable to take up water or nutrients, meaning your plant may begin to die pretty quickly. If you think that you may have overwatered your String of Hearts it is best to replace the soil straight away rather than just sit and wait for it to dry up over time. Better to be overly cautious, and replacing the soil will do no harm to your String of Hearts.
Make sure to check the moisture in the soil before you water. There are two really easy ways to make sure that it definitely needs water. First check the moisture at the top of the soil, if it is still damp then wait a few days before watering. You can also lift up your string of hearts carefully to check the weight of the plant before and after watering. You will then start to be able to gauge how heavy the soil is when it is dry vs waterlogged. If you can’t quite get to grips with these two methods, or want to be super accurate with your care and watering schedules you can always pick up a moisture metre. These handy little devices can give you all sorts of data and make houseplant care a breeze.
Your watering schedule should change throughout the year depending on the growing seasons. String of Hearts go dormant in winter so don’t be alarmed if there is not much growth happening. This also means that the amount of water needed dramatically increases so it becomes a lot easier to accidentally overwater in these darker months. So just make sure to be extra cautious when watering your string of hearts in winter. If you’re particularly worried that you might over water you String of Hearts it could be worth investing in a good quality self watering plant pot, these take all of the trouble out of the process and will make sure that your plant isn’t resting in stagnant water – eliminating the risk of root rot or other watering based issues.
Not Enough Sunlight
Why sunlight is so important for saving your String of Hearts
String of Hearts love bright sunshine and can struggle in anything less! Make sure you place them somewhere they receive several hours of bright light. Don’t worry if they get direct light as unlike most other houseplants, they cope pretty well with this. If your String of Hearts is getting too little sunshine, it will become leggy and there will be large gaps between any new leaves growing on the stems. So make sure that you place your string of hearts in the brightest spot in your home to give it the best environment possible.
If you’re struggling to find a spot with better lighting or if you live in an area that doesn’t get a whole lot of natural light through the colder darker months, it could be worth looking into and investing in a quality grow light. These are great year round, especially for young cuttings or propagation projects.
Your String of Hearts might also be struggling to survive because of a lack of nutrients. It is worth changing out your succulent soil every year as well as feeding your plant every few months in the growing season. A lack of nutrients won’t kill your String of Hearts instantly but it may prevent it from producing any healthy growth and over time it can cause more severe issues.
You can safely fertilise your String of Hearts every couple of months throughout the growing season, though we’d only recommend half of the package dose. We find that fertiliser pellets or spikes are the easiest to use, these are our favourites.
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How increasing the temperature can save your String of Hearts
Another cause of yellowing leaves in String of Hearts can be cold temperatures and drafts. They really dislike cold air so make sure that it is not placed near doors or windows that may be drafty. Even though the temperature of your home may be perfect for your String of Hearts, the drafts coming in from outside may be colder and harm your plant’s health. You can always pick up a digital thermometer to check the spot your String of Hearts is sat for piece of mind.
A slightly less common reason why your String of Hearts might be dying is pest infestation. Although we have never experienced this, it can happen that mealybugs take hold of your plant. As the leaves and stems are quite delicate it is not always possible to wipe the leaves like we would recommend with other plants so your best option is to treat your String of Hearts with organic insecticide to fight the infestation. Make sure to check over your other plants in the room to see if any other plants have pests. Make sure to keep your string of hearts (and other infected plants) a good distance away from any of your other houseplants as you don’t want the infestation to spread.
These are the main reasons why your String of Hearts might be dying or showing signs of distress. The most common reason is overwatering but it is worth double-checking your plant’s environment to spot signs of the other causes listed. Make sure to correct the problem immediately and your String of Hearts will hopefully return to its healthy self!
Written by Joanna Turner