The String of Pearls is one of those houseplants which can be easy to look after if everything is exactly right. They are sensitive plants and can begin to die quite quickly if something isn’t right. Below we have outlined all the different reasons why your String of Pearls is dying as well as how to fix the issue and hopefully revive your plant.
Overwatering and root rot
String of Pearls plants have very shallow roots which makes overwatering a real concern. Plant parents often keep them in a big pot but they really don’t need much space. If your String of Pearls is in a pot that is too big, it will take a very long time for the soil to dry out between waterings. This will often lead to waterlogged soil which means the roots will start to rot.
You want to make sure that you are using cactus and succulent potting mix as it contains the right ingredients and minerals for your plant. It will be well-draining and aid aeration of the soil which is super important for a String of Pearls plant.
If you think you may have overwatered your String of Pearls then you must inspect the soil first before making any changes to your routine. You want to make sure that this is definitely the problem as the same symptoms can occur for various things. Carefully take your plant out of the pot and inspect the roots and soil. If the potting mix is soggy and clumpy then it is most likely overwatering that is causing your String of Pearls to die.
To solve the issue, remove and replace all of the potting mix. You might want to downsize the pot as less soil means it’ll dry out quicker in future. Carefully remove as much of the old potting mix from the root system so that it can start to recover. If the roots are badly damaged then trim away the worst affected areas. This will encourage your plant to grow new roots and not waste precious energy trying to keep the rotting ones alive.
If your String of Pearls is very dry then it may be underwatering that is causing the issue. Again you want to be 100% sure this is causing your plant to die before you increase how much you water your String of Pearls. Take the plant out of the pot and see if the potting mix is bone dry. It will start to feel very powdery if there is no moisture.
To start to revive your plant you need to be very careful about introducing water again. Plants can get quite shocked if their environment suddenly changes (yes they are quite like humans in that way!) so you need to give it little bits of water once or twice a day to get some moisture into the soil.
The worst thing you could do in this situation is go the other way and start overwatering your String of Pearls because that will also cause it to die on you.
Although you might think that because the String of Pearls is a succulent, it needs bright light – this isn’t actually totally true. Yes, they like areas of the home with plenty of natural sunlight, but direct light can actually scorch the pearls on your plant. This is especially common in summer when the sun is a lot stronger and is out for most of the day.
Move your String of Pearls to a spot in your home that doesn’t get any direct sunlight and your plant should start to recover. Unfortunately, once the pearls are scorched by the sun there is no going back. We recommend trimming them off and propagating them if you can get a healthy stem and node.
Another thing that String of Pearls hate is cold air. If the pearls on your plant are starting to fall off then it might be because the room is too cold or they are in a drafty spot. Avoid placing them near any windows or doors that have cracks or are regularly open in winter as the cold air will shock your plant and it will start to lose pearls.
The best thing to do is move your plant to a warmer area of your home and monitor how the temperature changes throughout the day and throughout the various seasons using a digital thermometer. You are looking to reach their ideal range of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius) during the day (of course it will drop a little at night).
If you notice the pearls on your plant starting to turn yellow or there is some kind of residue on your plant then pests might be the problem. String of Pearls are susceptible to an aphid or spider mite infestation. Use a magnifying glass to try and spot any pests on the pearls. Look closely where the pearls and stems meet as that’s where they like to hang out.
Over time pests can suck on the leaves of your plant, suffocating them which slowly kills your String of Pearls. If you spot a pest infestation the first thing you need to do is isolate your plant from any others in the room. Make sure it is at least 1 metre away from any other plants as pests can spread if the leaves are close. Then you want to wash down your plant and treat with an insecticidal spray.
If you have caught the issue relatively early then you should be able to curb the infestation and revive your plant. However, pests can very quickly cause your plant to die so act quickly!
Those are the most common reasons why your String of Pearls plant is dying. If you want to learn more about looking after your plant then check out our String of Pearls care guide or our downloadable ebook for everything you need to know about caring for houseplants.
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