Why is my String of Pearls Dying? Explained

String-of-Pearls-succulent-Pixabay
String of Pearls succulent (Source: Pixabay)

Is your String of pearls dying or degenerating?

Let us face it, the beads attached to the strand that gives it a vibrant appearance simply cannot go unheeded.

In such a situation, I know it sounds bitter than I may say to face degeneration of the plump and lush green beads of the String of pearls.

And, it is especially hard to accept the String of pearls dying when you want more of them.

Generally, unfavorable environmental conditions like lighting issues, temperature extremities, watering issues, nutrition deficiency, low humidity are responsible for the String of pearls dying. Additionally, wrong pot size, potting mix, pests, and diseases infestation also cause their degeneration. 

String of pearls
String of pearls

Sneak a peek at your String of pearls to identify the signs of their degeneration and resolve them in time.

But, you need to know the causes behind them and ways to tackle them.

This article has mentioned reasons, solutions, and preventive measures for dying of the String of pearls.

So, read along to explore what your String of pearls is going through.

Can I Save a Dying String of Pearls?

The symptoms that your String of pearls shows might have traumatized you hard. But, hey, do not get overwhelmed.

I know, going through the severity of your plant can be hard than it sounds, but you can always save your plant if the problem is mild.

That being said, a dying string of pearls might require more of your attention than a normal plant. Thus, you will need to provide them with intensive care from the day you notice negative signs in your plant.

Beware of the plant’s symptoms to care for them in time.

If the plant shows mild degeneration symptoms, you can easily fix them.

Generally, the culprits behind the degeneration of String of pearls include watering, lighting, fertilization and diseases, and pest infestation.

Confused between String of Tears and String of Pearls. String of Tears vs String of Pearls will help you to differentiate better!

Why is my String of Pearls Dying? Explained

Have you not been able to find out the exact cause for the degeneration of your String of pearls?

Well, there are several culprits behind your String of pearls dying.

If only a few balls show degenerating symptoms, it is common. When the leaves mature enough, they might fall off from the stem.

You need not worry about such a case as it is a natural phenomenon.

But, if more of the balls are affected, or the signs of degeneration persist in a segment of the stem or the whole strand, you need to pay special attention.

The most prominent cause for a string of pearls dying is unfavorable environmental conditions. Thus, fixing the environment helps troubleshoot most of its problems in most cases.

Common Symptoms of Dying String of Pearls

  • Yellowing and Falling Leaves/ balls
  • Mushy foliage or balls
  • Stems appear limp and weak
  • Discolaration of foliage
  • Roots become limp and mushy
  • Pests infestation
  • Fungal Infection
  • Falling strands of stem
  • Foul order from soil
  • Shrinking/wilting of leaves or balls

Here are some possible causes to why your String of pearls is dying?

Also, I have mentioned the solutions and preventive measures for the same.

1. Overwatering

A common issue with all the succulents is overwatering. Succulents store water in their leaves as they grow in a low water environment in nature.

The String of Pearls stores water in the tiny, shiny balls or foliage.

When you overwater them, the ball absorbs water, and when they saturate, they might burst. Another issue that overwatering brings is root rot.

Being succulents, strings of pearls do not require much watering. They do well in moderate watering.

When the soil gets waterlogged for a long period, it invites fungal infection and thus causes root rot. If not treated in time, the infection spreads throughout the entire plant.

Overwatering plants
Overwatering plants (Source Pexels)

The leaves appear yellow, shriveled, mushy, and limp when the plant is overwatered.

Solutions

  • Remove the mushy leaves and stems.
  • Inspect the roots of the plant. If the roots are mushy and limp, remove them with a sterilized knife. Then, re-pot the plant in a pot with enough drainage holes using a new potting mix.
  • Make sure to completely dry out the soil before watering.
  • Water the plant only after the ball slightly starts to shrivel.

Preventive Measures

  • Establish a proper watering schedule. Water the plant once in two weeks in summer and once a month in winter.
  • You can also use a hygrometer or moisture meter to measure soil moisture and water the plant accordingly.
  • Do not leave the soil soggy.
  • Empty the saucer every time after the water drains out of the pot.
  • Use a well-draining pot to support proper drainage.

Quick Hack- Insert a stick or your finger 2-3 inches deep. If the stick feels wet or if the soil is attached, Leave it for a few days. Water only after the soil dries completely.

2. Underwatering

Is your String of Pearl getting adequate water for its proper growth?

Well, if you have doubts regarding these questions, your String of pearls might have been subject to underwatering.

Underwatering in a string of pearls causes drying, fading, and browning of the leaves/ball, gradually spreading throughout the entire plant.

Furthermore, it causes a reduced photosynthesis rate and thus reduces plants’ physiological function.

When there is no moisture in the soil, plants cannot absorb essential nutrients and minerals present in the soil. As a result, it often leads to stunted and dull growth.

Moreover, when the plant receives adequate water, its leaves appear green, plump, shiny, and full of moisture.

In contrast, if the plant is underwater, the ball dries out and loses moisture present inside it. Thus, the shrinking of the balls is a tell-tell sign that your plant is underwater.

Dry and Cracked Soil because of Underwatering
Dry and Cracked Soil because of Underwatering

Solutions

  • Water your sting of pearls immediately until the water does not drain out.
  • Take a shallow container and fill it with tepid water. Drench the pot of your String of pearls into the container until the water bubble stops appearing at the top of the soil.
  • The soil cannot absorb water properly if it is pulled away from the pot. So, gently push the soil around the perimeter to ensure proper water absorption.

Preventive Measures

  • Always water the plant thoroughly until the water does not drain out of the drainage holes.
  • Water, the plant immediately after the ball, starts shrinking.
  • You can also use self-watering pots to prevent the drying of the rootballs.
  • Water, the plant after the top 50% of the soil, dries out.

Are you in search of Mini Watering Cans? End your search with;10 Cute Mini Watering Cans for Indoor Plants

3. Insufficient Light

How much light does your String of pearls receive? Is it placed in a well-lit space or a low-light space?

The amount and intensity of the light your plant receives are directly proportional to its healthier growth.

The String of pearls thrives well when exposed to 6-8 hours of bright indirect light.

Also, it is best if you can provide them with a few hours of direct morning or afternoon shade.

Insufficient light in a string of pearls is accompanied by muted and leggy growth. In low light conditions, the plant goes to the survival mode; therefore, they appear limp and weak.

Furthermore, in insufficient light, chlorophyll cannot perform well. As a result, the plant loses its dark green pigmentation and turns yellow.

In addition, the problem causes reduced photosynthesis. Thus, the plant starts losing its leaf and stem to cope with low energy.

Also, if the plant is moved from a brighter location to a low-light location, it starts degenerating. Finally, the plant might die if the lighting condition could not be improved.

String of pearls near window
The String of Pearls near the window

Solutions

  • Shift the plant from a lower light space to a brighter light space. But, while doing so, be careful not to transition them haphazardly as it might shock the plant.
  • Place your plant near an eastern, western, or south-facing window.
  • Ensure to provide them a couple of hours of morning light or afternoon shade for quick recovery.
  • Re-adjust the plant back to a brighter space if you have shifted it to low-light space.
  • Artificial grow lights can also be used if your plant is subject to insufficient light. Providing 8-10 hours of Fluorescent light is sufficient for your String of Pearls.

Preventive Measures

  • Always ensure to shower your plant with bright indirect light.
  • Introduce the plant to artificial light when the intensity of the light is low, especially in winter.
  • Avoid sudden plant shift from a brighter space to low light space and vice versa.

4. Extreme sunlight

While the String of pearls requires bright and sufficient light, they do not do well in the scorching sun.

High-intensity sunlight causes red and brown scars around the edges, discoloration, drying and withering of foliage.

Furthermore, when the plant is exposed to extreme sunlight, moisture loss from the leaf (Transpiration) becomes high. As a result, the plant starts drooping and degenerating.

On outdoors, there are high chances that the plant is withered. The problem is most common during hot summer seasons.

Dried-and-brown-edge-in-succulent-because-of-extreme-sun-exposure
Dried and brown edges in succulent because of extreme Sun exposure

Solutions

  • Deadhead all of the burned and discolored foliage.
  • Re-adjust the plant to a brightly lit space where direct sun rays do not fall upon it.
  • Place your plant about a feet distance from the window to avoid direct rays.

Preventive Measures

  • On outdoors, you can hang them on the patio and trees under shades.
  • Draw a drape or light curtain in your window to prevent direct sunlight.

YES! the color of light affects the plant’s growth. What Light Color is Best for the Plant’s Growth? is here to solve your queries

5. Temperature Extremities

Another factor responsible for your String of pearls dying is temperature extremities.

Generally, extremely high and low temperature and frequently fluctuating temperature stress the plant.

The ideal temperature for the String of pearls is 60-72 degrees Fahrenheit. 

When the temperature falls below 55 F, cellular activities in the plant ceases. Also, extremely low temperatures might cause the bursting of the cells, thus disturbing physiological activities.

Similarly, extreme high temperature increases the rate of transpiration.

To cope with the water loss, the plant tries losing its leaves to reduce the surface area for transpiration. Hence, leaves and stems wilt and thus fall off.

The next culprit for the String of pearls is fluctuating temperature. It is hard for your plant to adapt according to the fluctuating temperature.

The stress thus caused results in the String of pearls dying and degeneration.

Well grown String of Pearls on a hanging pots in an Unfluctuating Environment
Well grown String of Pearls in an Unfluctuating Environment (Source: Etsy)

Solutions

  • Cut off damaged and degenerated stems and foliage as they do not revive back.
  • Increase humidity around the plant. It helps to reciprocate moisture loss because of the high temperature.
  • Relocate plant if it is kept near drafty space.
  • Avoid placing your plant near windows during extreme cold as the temperature fluctuation is high.
  • Add mulch such as straw and dried grass on top of the soil. It provides insulation and thus prevents heat loss from soil.
  • You can also use heating pads to protect them in winter.

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid placing your plant near drafty areas, heating and cooling vents like radiators.
  • You can also use heating pads to protect them in winter.
  • Creating a greenhouse effect using transparent plastic is another way to protect the plant from cold.
  • A sunny location is a double no, especially during summer.

6. Low Humidity

Generally, succulents do not crave high humidity. But, the String of pearls is an exception to it.

The String of pearls adores humidity above 50% of the relative humidity.

The humidity requirement for a string of pearls is close to indoor humidity. Nonetheless, you might need to work a bit in maintaining its ideal humidity.

Humidifier is placed near a Plant
Humidifier near a Plant (Source: Amazon)

When the humidity is low, it results in a high transpiration rate. The excessive loss of water from the plant might stress the plant. Further, moisture loss causes the String of pearl’s leaves to shrink and wither.

In addition, if the humidity cannot further be improved, it causes yellowing and falling off foliages.

Solutions

  • Cut off shriveled leaves as they take up extra energy.
  • Place your plant in a high humid area like a bathroom. But ensure the place has sufficient natural light.
  • Provide your plant with a shower. It helps them to rejuvenate quickly.
  • Group your plants with other plants as it increases humidity through natural precipitation.
  • Use a humidifier for effective results.
  • You can also place wet pebbles tray under the pot.

Preventive Measures

  • Pay attention to humidity if your area experiences dry winter.
  • Mist the leaves once a week in the morning.
  • Use a hygrometer to measure humidity and act according to the requirement.

7. Fertilizer Issues

One of the factors that helps conduct the proper photosynthesis process is minerals and nutrition.

When the plant is deprived of essential micro and macronutrients, it exhibits stunted growth. Also, leaves turn yellow, limp, droopy, and withered.

However, your String of pearls is not a heavy feeder. It thrives well with light fertilization. Hence, always ensure to dilute your fertilizer to half of its strength before using it.

Vermin Compost Manure
Use Worm Casting for Your String of Pearls (Source: Pexels)

Excessive fertilizer causes the accumulation of salts which results in the burning and drying of foliage.

Moreover, It is best to fertilize them with an organic fertilizer like worm casting, animal manure, and chicken litter.

Solutions

  • Fertilize your plant immediately with organic or synthetic fertilizer like liquid fertilizer or N.P.K in the ratio 5-5-5.
  • However, remember to water your plants before fertilizing them. Moisture enhances the absorption rate of nutrients.
  • Drench the pot in tepid water in case of excessive fertilization.

Preventive Measures

  • Fertilize your String of pearls twice or thrice a week in the growing season.
  • Loosen the top layer of the soil as proper aeration helps absorb nutrients and moisture readily.
  • Always ensure to dilute the solution as overfertilization causes root and leaf injuries.

8. Root Injuries and Root Rot Diseases

You might be aware that succulents have exposed and tiny roots. So does the String of pearls.

Since the roots are susceptible, you should be careful while moving them. There is a high chance of root injuries when you move your plant.

Similarly, root rot is another prominent cause for the String of pearls dying. Generally, overwatering and fungal and bacterial growth are responsible for root rot in the String of pearls.

Common Symptoms of Root Rot

  • Yellowing and discoloration of foliage
  • Wilting and liming of leaves
  • Stunted growth
  • Stem appear mushy and brown
  • Foul order from soil and roots
  • Yellow or brown mushy roots
  • Degeneration of roots which slightly spreads to the leaves and stem
Root rot
Root rot (Source: Unsplash)

Solutions

  • Inspect the root of the plant. If the roots are slightly injured, remove the injured part and re-pot in a new potting mix.
  • If the roots appear slightly yellow, it has undergone rot. First, remove all the mushy parts.
  • Let the roots dry afterward re-pot them immediately in a new potting mix.
  • However, if the roots appear dark brown and mushy, the root has undergone severe rot. Unfortunately, it might be difficult to revive the plant.

If you cannot save your plant, you can always propagate them.

Propagate your String of pearls taking one of the healthy strands of the stem.

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid frequent shifting of plant from a location to other.
  • Water your plant according to the need, and do not leave the soil soggy.
  • Ensure proper soil aeration to prevent fungal growth.
  • Apply fungicides to your plant once a year.

9. Pest Infestation

Another most prominent reason for your String of pearls dying is pests infestation.

Generally, you can see signs of pest infestation at its early stage as the ingestion depicts tell-tell signs. When treated in time, you can easily get rid of them.

However, if neglected, the plant might die and fail on the incidence of infestation.

Here are common pests found in strings of pearls.

Pests feasting on a leaf
Pests feasting on a leaf (source: Pixabay)
Common Pests Symptoms
Mealy bugs1. Stunted growth
2. Limping, wilting and falling off foliage.
3. Tiny web like structure might appear on foliage.
Aphids1. Stunted and dull growth
2. Yellowed and dead foliage.
Scales 1. Withered and shrunken leaves.
2. Brown or white bumpy structure appears on leaves.
3. Discoloration in stems and leaves
White flies1. Yellowing of leaves
2. Coating of clear sugary liquid
3. Stem blanching

Solutions

  • Immediately remove all the infected parts using sterilized pruning shears or blades.
  • You can gently scrape off pests using a blunt knife. But, be careful as the stems are thin and susceptible to getting cut.
  • Saturate a cotton ball with diluted isopropyl alcohol and gently dap over the infected surface.
  • You can also spray soap water if the infestation is low.
  • Spray your Pearl with neem oil or other horticultural oils.
  • However, apply synthetic insecticides if the infestation is severe.

Preventive Measures

  • Inspect your String of Pearls to check the signs of pests infestation.
  • Spray your plant with soap water weekly.
  • Avoid soggy and waterlogged soil.
  • You can gently shower the plant to remove eggs and pests from the plant.
  • Avoid grouping your String of pearls with other infected plants.

Want to learn more? Here is a detailed article on How to Identify Insect Eggs on Leaves and Treat Pest Infestation?

10. Wrong Potting Mix

It is essential to have the right potting mix for your String of pearls.

The String of pearls needs a light, nutrient-rich potting mix. Wrong potting mix leads to high compaction, low aeration, low water infiltration, stunted growth, and high moisture absorption.

All of these are enemies of your String of pearls. Therefore, always choose a chunky pointing mix rich in organic matter and essential minerals.

It is ideal for maintaining a slightly acidic pH range between 6.6 to 7.5.

Avoid high soil compaction as it disables proper drainage and causes issues relating to waterlogging. Also, when the soil particles are densely packed, it reduces pores, thus reducing air pockets and soil aeration

Further, soggy soil incites bacterial and fungal growth. All of these might lead to the death of a string of pearls.

White Mold On Soil due to Water Logging
White Mold on Soil due to Water Logging (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Follow the recipe below for making your own potting mix.

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

Solutions

  • Immediately change the potting mix.
  • Remove injured roots and leaves.
  • Use cacti and succulent mix for your String of plants.

Preventive Measures

  • Once a week loosen the top layer of the soil without disturbing the plant.
  • Use a soil mix that contains perlite, peat moss, charcoal, sand, or any other light substance.
  • Avoid using pure garden soil as the compaction is high in it.
  • Re-pot the plant once the soil gets compacted.

Tips to Maintain Ideal Soil pH for String of Pearls

  • Collect and use rainwater to water string of pearls as it helps maintain acidic pH.
  • You can also add coffee grounds to your potting mix.
  • Add a mulch of pine needles or bark to the potting mix.
  • Cottonseed Meal and organic compost also help maintain the soil’s acidic pH.
Proper potting mix for your string of pearls (Source: Unsplash)
Ideal Potting Mix for the String of pearls (Source: Unsplash)

11. Wrong Pot Size and Material

What is the correlation between pot size, point material, and dying of String of pearls?

Well, the size of the pot and the material you use play a vital role in the growth and health of the plant.

When the pot is extremely small for the root ball, it might choke the plant. As a result, your String of pearls might die.

In contrast, when the size of the pot is large, it brings two issues. The first is waterlogged soil, and the second is stunted growth.

When the pot is large, it takes a long time to dry up its soil. As a result, it might bring bacterial and fungal growth, leading to root rot and the death of the plant.

Similarly, a large pot equals a large space for roots to spread.

In such a case, the plant invests most of its energy to rooting development, ignoring the growth of the shoot. As a result, your plant might exhibit unhealthy growth or stunted growth.

Next is the relation between pot material and plant growth.

The plant thrives well when using a material that supports well aeration, proper draining, and quick moisture absorption.

But, when the point is not breathable and has poor drainage, it chokes roots. Hence, your plant might appear yellowed, wilted, limp, and dull.

Terracotta Pots with drainage hole. (Source: Amazon)

Solutions

  • Inspect the drainage holes of your pot. Then, immediately, change the pot if it does not have drainage holes or if the drainage holes are fewer.
  • Use a pot about 2 inches larger than the size of the root ball.
  • Generally, a 5-6 inches pot is ideal for a medium-sized string of pearls.

Preventive Measures

  • Try using breathable pots like terracotta and clay pots.
  • Avoid using plastic and metal pots for your String of pearls.
  • Use a well-draining pot.

12. Frequent Misting

How often do you mist your String of pearls?

Frankly speaking, misting is the easiest and simple way to increase humidity around the plant. But, the String of pearls generally can thrive well in indoor humidity.

As they are native to southwest Africa, where the climate is not extremely humid, you can lessen the frequency of misting them.

Frequent misting on the crown of the plant increases the chances of rot. It is a sign of frequent misting if you see limp and soggy stems and foliage.

Misting plant leaves
Misting plant leaves (Source: Pexels)

Solutions

  • Place the plant in a slightly dry space where a few hours of morning light falls upon.
  • Deadhead infected foliage and stems.
  • You can also propagate the stems that are about to undergo crown rot.

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid misting your String of pearls at night.
  • Mist your plant once a week, only in the morning.

Tips to Keep String of Pearls Healthy

It is always best to be on a safer side rather than to work on it after the problem arises.

Besides, the String of pearls is not that hard to care for. On the contrary, it is one of the easiest plants to care for. So, it is easily possible for you to keep your String of pearls out of problems in general.

Here is the necessary condition that you need to fulfill for a healthy growing string of pearls.

Parameters Favorable Condition
Sunlight6-8 hours of light
Temperature60-72 degrees Fahrenheit
Wateringonce every two week in summer and once a month in winter
Soil Type Light, porous, nutrient rich with pH 6.6 to 7.5
Humidity About 50% of the relative humidity
Fertilization Diluated fertilizer Twice or thrice a week in the growing season
String-of-Pearls-succulent-Pixabay
A Healthy String of Pearls (Source: Pixabay)

Below are a few additional tips you can follow to keep your String of pearls healthy.

  • Rotate your plant once a week to obtain an excellent growth rate.
  • Opt for artificial light when the intensity of light is low.
  • Water your plant according to the requirement rather than following a tight schedule.
  • If your plant is growing leggy, place it in a bright space.
  • Prune back your String of pearls once a year for bushier growth.
  • Use the pruned to propagate plants instead of tossing them off.
  • Re-pot your plant in 1-2 years.
  • Always place the plant in the same depth as it was in the earlier pot while re-potting them.
  • The best time to propagation time for your String of Pearls is Spring and early Summer. Avoid propagation in winter.
  • Avoid overhead watering to prevent the rotting of stems and foliage.

Conclusion

If you can get lush green stands full of vibrant beads, why not opt for them?

After all, the String of pearls is an easy plant to care for. The plant does not demand high care and attention.

So, bring the String of pearls in your home and let its stem hang on your bookshelf or near the window.

The unfavorable environmental condition is the most prominent reason for your String of pearls dying; follow the aforementioned preventive measures to grow them problem-free.

Also Watch,

If you want to keep your string of frogs happy, read this article : String of Frogs Growing Guide. 

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