Why Is My String Of Pearls Plant Dying? Problems and Solutions

Why Is My String Of Pearls Plant Dying? Problems and Solutions

String Of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) is a succulent plant with shiny, round, and pearl-shaped leaves. Many people own it as an indoor plant, but some also prefer it outdoors because of its long trails hanging around the walls. The string of pearls is not easygoing like other succulents. Plant lovers usually find trouble keeping this plant alive as it is trickier and very delicate. One of the most common questions people ask is “Why is my string of pearls plant dying”? In this article, we will cover this major issue and also tell you about the tips by which you can take proper care of this plant.

string of pearls plant dying, Why Is My String Of Pearls Dying?

1. Why Is My String Of Pearls Dying?

You may find out different reasons for String for Pearls Plant dying. Let’s see what they can be:

1.1. 10 Most Common Problems With String Of Pearls

  1. Too much Direct Sunlight

The string of pearls prefers bright but filtered sunlight. Direct and harsh sunlight is harmful because this plant isn’t made for bright direct sunlight. When a string of pearls is in contact with direct sun, they get sunburnt. Even if you have a string of pearls outside, don’t place them where unfiltered light is available.

  1. Light is Insufficient

Although the string of pearls doesn’t like direct sunlight, it still needs bright light to thrive. Check if you have placed the plant where it isn’t getting enough bright but indirect sunlight. The most common cause of a string of pearls plant dying is that lighting for the plant isn’t sufficient. 

  1. Drainage Issue

If your string of pearls isn’t doing too well, check if the drainage of the pot is working properly or not. If the drainage holes are clogged and extra water isn’t draining, you may need to change the pot. When the water stays inside the pot for a long time, it will develop root rot.

Also Read: Do You Need Drainage Holes in Pots?

  1. Overwatering

If the leaves of the string of pearls are getting yellow, you may want to check the amount of water you are giving it. Most of the time, being overwatered is also why the string of pearls is dying. The overwatering will slowly make the roots of the plant incapable of growing, and the plant will not grow bigger as it should., ultimately dying from the root rot.

overwater string of pearls, mushy pearls, dying plant
  1. Underwatering

Underwatering is another cause of a string of pearls plant dying. When you do not water the plant enough, the pearls or leaves start shrinking and wrinkly. Moreover, the roots don’t get enough water to grow. hence the plant dies.

Also Read: String-of-Pearls — All About Watering Them, or Not

  1. Too Much Soil

Sometimes we dig plants too much into the soil and don’t like it. It can be the reason with String of Pearls too. The string of Pearls doesn’t have very large roots; if they are planted too deep into the soil, their roots will remain wet for too long and result in the string of pearls plant dying slowly.

  1. Pests

Every plant gets pests once in its lifetime, but they can always be controlled with proper pesticides. Pests and other small insects are common on plants like String of Pearls. The most common of these pests are mealybugs. If you detect a white powdery substance on your plant’s leaves, that is probably those bugs. The secretions from these pests put the plant at risk of fungal or bacterial infections. You can see if there’s any ‘pesty’ activity around your plant by the presence of many ants on the said plant.

  1. Unsuitable Soil

The lush pearls of the plant are happy when placed in the right soil. If the soil is not well-draining enough, it will remain moist for too long. Meanwhile, the soil will not get a chance to dry out if you keep on watering. The string of pearls doesn’t like moist and damp soil. This produces mold and bacteria on the plant, which makes the roots of the string of pearls weak. Moreover, weak roots are more at risk of root rot. therefore, always use a well-draining soil like a cactus potting mix for a string of pearls.

  1. Cold Temperature

The string of Pearls isn’t made for cold temperatures. If right now it’s cold in your area and the plant is outdoors, immediately locate it in a place where it won’t have to face harsh weather. Even if you have put it indoors, ensure your air conditioning is not at a very low temperature and the plant is getting enough light. Cold temperatures can cause the leaves of this plant to drop and become dead.

shrink string of pearls, wrinkle on pearls, underwatered plant
  1. Wrong Amount Of Fertilizers

Even though the string of pearls does not need fertilizer exclusively, giving it to them if you want can be advantageous to them until and unless you aren’t giving the wrong amount of fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can seriously damage the plant’s roots, and they will die within days. Try to fertilize the plants only twice a year but with appropriate suitable fertilizers.

1.2. Symptoms That String Of Pearls Is Dying

The string of pearls is a delicate plant, and when something is wrong with it, the round plump leaves start showing symptoms like:

  • Browning

When the pearls start to brown, it means the damage has been done. Mostly it is because of water issues, but sometimes not getting enough light can also be a reason. Although the string of pearls likes bright sunlight, the browning of the pearls also indicates that the plant is sunburnt. Browning of the pearls can be due to many reasons, which must be identified by analysis of the plant and surrounding conditions.

  • Shriveling

Sometimes, the leaves or pearls start to become small in size and wrinklier. This indicates a lack of moisture or underwatering. The pearls start to become crips, small and brown starting from the top of the plant and gradually reaching downwards. And intersting thing is that shrivelling alos occurs due to overwtaering. When overwatered, the pearls burst open hence having a wrinkly look.

  • Mushy

If the plant pot doesn’t have enough drainage or the soil is not well-draining, the soil it retains water. The pearls or leaves of the plant become soft and lose their shape. It is a clear indication of root rot and string of pearls plant dying due to overwatering.

difference i mushy, brown and shriveling string of pearls

2. How To Take Care of a String Of Pearls?

Problems with plants only happen when we do not properly care for them. They only need some basics to grow into beautiful plants, and here we will tell you how you can prevent the String of Pearls plant from dying by taking proper care of it and giving it what it needs and deserves.

  • Sunlight

The string of Pearls loves dry but warm environments. So you need to place them somewhere where they can get bright indirect sunlight. It doesn’t matter if you are placing the plant indoors or outdoors; the sunlight is very important for it. In summer, you can easily give String of Pearls sunlight by placing them on the east side of your home or wherever they are. Whereas, in winter, when the sunlight isn’t available, place them near the window where they can get natural bright light.

  • Water

The string of Pearls is not fond of overwatering, and doing so can damage their delicate pearls. The recommended time for watering them is when you feel the soil has dried about 1.2cm. You can water them twice a week but not too much in summer. In winter, the only way to keep your string of pearls plant alive is by watering them once a month.

One good way to avoid overwatering or underwatering is to water the String of Pearls through the Bottom Watering technique. Put the pot in a water bowl and wait 10-15 minutes.

string of pearls plant dying, bottom watering string of pearls

Also Read: How to Bottom Watering Plants? An Effective Technique For Watering Plants


This plant remains fresh at room temperature in the summer. The average temperature of a room is 70-80 Fahrenheit, and it’s best for the String of Pearls Plant. Never let these plants be in a place where there is too much cold for them to bear. i.e., in air conditioners or outdoors when there is frost.

It is recommended that you keep this plant indoors in winter because the average temperature recorded in winter is 50-60 Fahrenheit. Too much cold can make the leaves sulky.

  • Humidity

The string of Pearls is native to dry areas, so they don’t require too much humidity to grow up to their full potential. Room Humidity (about 40%) is sufficient for them, so you do not need to do any extra(or artificial) measures to provide them with humidity.

healthy string of pearls
  • Soil

The string of Pearls needs well-draining soil because the extra water won’t get out without it, and the plant will have to fight for its life. Your soil preference for a string of pearls should be a succulent and cactus potting mix.

3. How To Save A Dying String Of Pearls?

If you find any symptoms discussed above, you can retrieve the plant if the plant has not been completely dead. You can save a dying string of pearls by following ways:

3.1. How To Revive Overwatered String Of Pearls?

When your string of pearls gets overwatered, you should immediately repot it. Propagation is not only the safest but also the best option if the string of pearls has been overwatered. You can do it by following the steps:

Step 1: See what has remained of your almost-dying string of pearls. Anything which is still green is worth fighting for.

Step 2: Now remove all the dead parts of the plant. It can be leaves, stems, mold, etc.

Step 3: Wait for its stems to dry properly, but they are thin and do not need a specific time to dry.

Step 4: Now, it is time for the plantation. Take out a pot with fresh soil in it. Place one end of the stem of the string of pearls plant into the soil. It doesn’t matter which end you stick in because the root will develop from either side.

Step 5: You can put the stem in the soil in any way you want. It can be horizontal or vertical. But if you want the string of pearls to trail, stick in only one end of the stem.

Step 6: Now give it a proper environment to grow, and you will have a healthy, beautiful plant regrowing in no time.

propagation of string of pearls, how to save dying string of pearls,

3.2. How To Revive Underwatered String Of Pearls?

You can easily revive an underwatered string of pearls by giving it the amount of water it requires. You have to place the plant in bright indirect sunlight, with the plant almost soaked in water. It will take some time for the water to drain and dry but let the plant take its time. Hopefully, it will come back to its original shape. From then, you can stick to watering it once in two weeks in summer and once a month in winters. Bottom Watering is an effective technique for the String of Pearls plant as save it from root rot.

3.3. How To Revive Sunburnt String Of Pearls?

The sunburnt String of Pearl is probably because it is in direct contact with the sun. This is something extremely unfavorable for the plant. You must immediately change its location so it won’t get direct sunlight. However, it needs bright light so putting the plant near the window is probably best. Make sure you remove all the dead and sunburnt pearls so the plant can try to grow again.


1. How to know if my String of pearls is healthy?

Healthy String of Pearls have round, plump and firm pearls. If you observe any change in their appearance, like pearls tuning brown, wrinkly or mushy, then it means the plant is slowly dying.

2. How to Differentiate Between Underwatered and Overwtaered Pearls?

Generally, the symptoms are same for underwtaered and overwtaered pearls. However, you can access the watering conditions of the palnt. If you have not watered the plant for more than 2-3 weeks and the pearls are shriveling or turning brown, then the cause is most probably underwtaering. however, if you have recently watered the plant and the pearls are shrinking or turning mushy, then the reason is overwatering.

3. Do string of pearls like to be misted?

Tropical palnts love moisture, But String of pearls prefers low humidity as it is from the drier parts of southwest Africa. therefore, tehre is no need to mist the pearls. Moreoevr, frequent misting of this plant, can result in root rot.


String of pearls are always favorite of people who love succulents. This plant is also the one that dies quickly if you are not taking proper care of it. In this article, we told you about the problems your plant may face while it is growing up and how to overcome them. Reviving or saving string of pearls plant dying may look hard but if you put your whole heart and soul into it, you can make the plant come back to life.

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