When to Repot String of Pearls? Explained!

Has your string of pearls outgrown the size of the pot? If so, your plant might need repotting.

But, a major question might arise as to how to repot a string of pearls? Relax your nerves. I am here to share my knowledge and experience of growing and repotting a string of pearls.

I am among the one who has killed many string of pearls. And every time I killed my string of pearls, it was generally because of root-bound issues.

Unfortunately, I could not read the tell-tale signs that my plants were showing demand for repotting.

Generally, the ideal frequency of repotting string of pearls is once every 1-2 years. When repotting well-draining soil with a pH level between 6.6 and 7.5 works well. 6 inches pot for baby and the pot with 2-3 inches larger than the previous will be a great fit.

string of pearls plant
String of pearls in the hanging pot (Source: Etsy)

If you don’t want to kill your string of pearls like mine, you need to keep going with this article.

Here, I have implanted all information about How’, When’, and Why’ to repot string of pearls.

How Big does String of Pearls Get?

Ever wondered about the size of your lush green string of pearls?

Known as Curio rowleyanus, a string of pearls belongs to Asteraceae and is native to the drier parts of southwest Africa.

It trails on the ground with its stem and forms dense mats. On the foliage profile, the plant has teardrop-shaped leaves, instead of spherical ones.

If you have noticed the plant, it has specialized leaves in the form of small peas ranging about 6 mm or 14 inch diameter in size.

The leaves contain a small tip at the distal point and a thin band of dark green tissues.

Besides, a string of pearls has trumpet-shaped flower clusters of tiny white flowers with colorful stamens. These clusters can extend up to 13mm or 12 inch in diameter.

If you want to know more about flowers of a string of pearls, you need to visit “String of Pearls Flower: Everything You Need to Know.”

Talking about growth rate, the string of pearls is a moderate to fast-growing plant.

Generally, a string of pearls reaches 2-3 feet in height and grows up to an inch (2.5cm) a month and about 5-15 inches every year.

Senecio Rowleyanus in the hanging pot
Senecio Rowleyanus in the hanging pot (Source: Etsy)

However, the growth rate will all depend on favorable conditions such as sunlight, watering, fertilizer, and others.

As a string of pearls is succulent and features trailing stems, it grows well if it finds a good supporter. You can provide it with a good hanging basket if you want it to expose its aesthetic look.

The string of pearls grows fast during spring and summer and goes under dormancy during winter.

The plant can live up to 5 years if it gets good care. Moreover, if you want your string of pearls to have good shape and size, it needs pruning.

The string of pearls accepts pruning during the growing period in summer and spring.

Is my String of Pearls Root-bound?

What does it mean to be root bound? And, do plants love to be root bound?

First, let me address what root bound is.

Root bound is the condition where the plant’s roots are entangled heavily, and the roots outgrow the pot, meaning, the roots do not have additional space to grow and occupy the entire pot.

There is no common rule of thumb regarding plants’ inclination to be root-bound. However, some plants love slightly rooting bound, while others detest it.

The string of pearls comes under the plants that do not like to be root bound.

Root bound palm tree
Root bound palm tree (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Root bound is a dangerous sign for the plant’s growth and can multiple symptoms.

  • The plant starts choking in a lack of air circulation
  • This cause a dull and weary appearance.
  • The plant’s balls or leaves become discolored and yellowed.
  • This leads to leggy growth and loss of chlorophyll pigments.
  • Its ball starts to fall off, droop, limp, and wilt.
  • The plant will suffer the root stress leading to stunted growth.

If you are wondering what you should do with the root-bound string of pearls, the only suggestion that exists is to repot them.

When to Repot String of Pearls? Explained

Repotting a string of pearls is not a game at all. First, you need to know whether the plant needs repotting, and secondly, you need to pick a perfect time.

Generally, it is advisable to repot the string of pearls once every 1-2 years, depending upon the size of the plant.

Senecio_rowleyanus_potted
Senecio rowleyanus in pots (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The need for repotting for your string of pearls also depends on the place where it is kept. A string of pearls growing outdoors on the patio needs frequent repotting compared to one growing indoors.

It will be best to report a string of pears in early spring after the winter or during summer.

If you find repotting your string of pearls startled, you can get some ideas from the plant’s signs.

Signs Your String of Pearls Need Repotting

Follow these signs to know if your string of pearls needs repotting now!

1. Overcrowded String of Pearls

When any strand is exposed to the soil and gets a favorable environment for rooting, it roots and develops a separate root system. The plant thus can be propagated and grown separately.

However, if you let them grow in the same pot, they might be overcrowded.

Overcrowded roots can cause root-bound which further brings inadequacy of nutrition to throw the plant under survival mode.

2. Roots Poking out of the Drainage Holes

Another best sign indicating the repotting requirement of a string of pearls is the root growing out of the drainage holes.

When the roots develop enough outsizing the pot, they start creeping out of the drainage holes in search of growing this space.

3. Root Injuries and Root Rot

As the roots of a string of pearls are not strong enough, they are prone to injuries. When you move the plant frequently, the root might get injured.

Next is when the roots are overcrowded, the roots might get injured because of choking.

String of pearls has roots scanned
String of pearls has roots scanned

In either case, the plant gets stressed, and exhibits stunted growth.

Similarly, another sign of repotting is root rot. A string of pearls is succulent that is prone to overwatering a string of pearls resulting in soggy soil and inviting root rot.

4 High Soil Compaction

Soil compaction generally denotes the high density of the soil which results in poor soil aeration.

When the soil particles are pressed tightly, it leaves little to no space for air to circulate. Hence, your plant might get choked and injured.

Best Soil and Pot for a String of Pearls

When repotting, you may need to consider the right home and enough food for your plant.

Best Soil for String of Pearls

If you own a string of pearls and don’t give its proper soil, it can give up growing in no time.

I advise you to use chunky, sandy, and well-aerated soil but a string of pearls also accepts a regular garden soil to grow a string of pearls.

The string of pearls needs well-draining soil with pH levels ranging from 6.6 to 7.5. 

String-of-Pearls on the window sill
String-of-Pearls on the window sill (Source: Flickr)

Pro Tip– Add coffee grounds, pine barks, and cottonseed meal to increase soil pH level for string of pearls.

If you are searching for a commercial potting mix for your string of pearls, consider using a cactus and succulents mix.

Here is a list of a few commercial potting mixes that you can use for your string of pearls.

Alternatively, you can also make your potting mix for your string of pearls. Here is the DIY recipe I follow to grow the string of pearls.

  • Mix 1 part of Cactus and succulents mix
  • 1 part perlite or pumice
  • 1 part of organic compost
  • 1/2 part of peat moss/ coconut coir
  • And, 1/2 part of coarse sand

Pro Tips– You can add barks, wooden chips, charcoal, rice husk, dried leaves, and grass, etc. to make potting mix light.

Best Pot for String of Pearls

Though the string of pearls is native to tropical regions, it has leaves that have already enough moisture.

Thus, terracotta and unglazed ceramic pots with 6 inches pots for the baby or recently propagated string of pearls. 

Hanging plant with multiple pots
Hanging plant with multiple pots

Besides, the pot should be 2-3 inches larger in diameters than the original pot when repotting a string of pearls.

Steps to Repot String of Pearls

Repotting is a way to rejuvenate your dull, leggy, and unhealthily growing plants.

Before you start reporting, you need some essentials except pot and potting mix!

ItemSpecification
Pruning Shear or ScissorGet a sharp pruning shear or scissors to cut the healthy part of the plant.
Gardening glovesThese are entirely optional.
PlanterSelect one of the recommended pot above
Rooting PowderThe rooting hormone helps to boost root growth.
Plastic bagUse a black plastic bag to cover the newly propagated plant to retain humidity, moisture, and warmth.
Disinfectant or rubbing alcoholIt will come in handy to sterilize the tools.

These tools help you successful repotting! Now follow the steps.

Step 1: Determine Repotting Need

First, inspect rootbound, which you can do by checking the drainage holes.

Next is to check for soil quality, texture, structure, and health. If you find the soil highly compacted, finer in structure, and smooth texture, you will need to replace it.

Generally, you need to replace the soil every two years to ensure soil and the better health of a string of pearls.

Step 2: Uproot the Plant

Now, uproot the plant without damaging the rootballs and the upper shoots. So how to do it?

First, fold all of the strands of the string of pearls to the top and let them sit on the soil. Ensure that none of the strands are falling off the pot.

Once you are done, your plant is ready to be uprooted. Well, there are two different ways you can uproot the plant.

First Way

Cut your pot into two halves from either side and remove the plant from the soil.

Second Way

Slowly press inwards and pat at the sides of the pot to separate soil from the pot. Also, press the upper ends of the pot to loosen the soil.

Now, lay the pot on the ground and take the plant out slowly by tapping from the bottom and either side of the pot.

Hanging plant repotting process
Hanging plant repotting process

Step 3: Inspect the Root Rot and Trim

Once you have uprooted the plant, it is time to inspect for root rot. Look for the mushy and soft roots. If you find them, cut off all of such parts with sterilized pruning shears.

Also, spread some antifungal powder to the roots if you find any signs of bacterial or fungal growth in the soil.

At this point, you can also trim some of the healthy roots if you do not want more of them. However, ensure that you do not trim off more than 20% of the roots.

Step 4: Fetch a New Pot with Poting Mix

Now, prepare the potting mix for your string of pearls. You can use a commercial mix or the recipe I suggested above.

Layer a few pebbles at the base of the pot and fill the pot with some of the potting mixes.

Spread the potting mix evenly at the bottom and sides of the pot. Press and fix potting mix at the sides of the pot.

Step 5: Transplant the Plant into the New Pot

Once you have made all of the necessary arrangements, it is time to transplant your plant.

Place the plant at the center of the new pot. Ensure to place the plant at the same depth as in the earlier pot.

Fill the pot with the potting mix from the sides and gently press the potting mix such that there are no large air pockets in the potting mix.

Step 6: Unfold the Strands and Water the plant

Now, unfold all of the strands and water the plant thoroughly. Now place it in a well-lit space and enjoy the cascading effect of your string of pearls.

You can also watch the video below if you need further visual help for repotting a string of pearls.

Tips to Care for Newly Repotted String of Pearls

When taking care of a newly repotted string of pearls, you may need additional tips. Thus, you can follow the instruction below for the same!

  • Rotate your plant once a week for balanced growth.
  • Introduce the plant to 1-2 hours of direct morning sunlight or afternoon shades.
Hanging plant with care requirements
Hanging plant with care requirements
  • Use grow lights if the intensity of the light is low.
  • Do not forget to take them indoors during frosty nights.
  • Fertilize your newly repotted plant twice a month with a diluted liquid fertilizer or an organic fertilizer.
  • Avoid placing your newly potted string of pearls in drafty areas or cooling vents like radiators, heaters, etc.
  • Keep well-draining and porous soil with pH ranging from 6.6 to 7.5.
  • Spray your newly repotted plants with soap water once a week to knock off any attack of pests and diseases.

If your string of pearls is stuck in growth and dying, you can visit my another article “Why is my String of Pearls Dying? Explained”to get proper guidance!

Conclusion

Go ahead and give a little of your care to your string of pearls and repot them to obtain healthy beady strands.

Always be careful not to injure the roots while uprooting the plant. Some of the beads might fall off while repotting, but, hey, it is normal for some balls to fall off.

Also, you need not worry if the plant appears sickly or dull after repotting. Give the plant some time to adjust to the newly introduced environment.

Finally, enjoy repotting your vibrant string of pearls!

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