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Why Is My String Of Pearls Plant Dying?

Common issues that string of pearls plant owners face are overwatering, insufficient light, pests, poor air circulation, and poor nutrient absorption.

Senecio rowleyanus, commonly known as the string of pearls, is a beautiful and unique succulent that can thrive with proper succulent care. If you notice your string of pearls shriveling or brown leaves, it could be a sign that you need to adjust your care routine.

Like most succulent plants, this plant likes well-draining soil, bright indirect light, and not to be overwatered.

How Do You Know If A String Of Pearls Is Dying?

Several tell-tale signs will let you know your string of pearls house plant may be dying. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • If the leaves of your string of pearls plant are turning yellow and falling off, this could be a sign of overwatering or root rot.

  • If your plant looks limp and droopy, it may not be getting enough water or sunlight.

  • Brown or black spots on leaves may indicate a fungal or bacterial infection, or it could be caused by pest damage.

  • If your plant is not growing as quickly as it should, this may be a sign of nutrient deficiencies or inadequate light.

  • If you notice a foul smell coming from the soil or leaves, this could be a sign of root rot or other bacterial or fungal diseases.

Yellowing may be caused by too much water or not enough light.

What Causes A String Of Pearls To Die?

Several common problems can cause a string of pearls to die. If caught and remedied soon enough, you may be able to revive your plant.


Overwatering is a common way to kill a string of pearl houseplant. When the plant receives too much water, the soil remains saturated, and the roots become waterlogged. This excess moisture can lead to root rot, a fungal disease that can cause the plant to die. Root rot prevents the plant from absorbing nutrients, which can cause the leaves to wilt and turn yellow or brown.


Use well-draining potting soil and do not let the plant to sit in standing water will prevent overwatering. Allow the soil to dry out partially between waterings, and do not water the plant until the top inch is dry to the touch. Use a pot with drainage holes and avoid watering the plant from the top, as this can lead to water pooling in the leaves and stem. A terracotta pot is ideal for succulents as it allows extra moisture to evaporate.

Not Enough Sun

If the plant does not get enough light, it may not be able to absorb water properly and may become more susceptible to root rot. String of pearl plants require bright, indirect light to thrive, but not direct sun.


Place your plant in a well-lit area of your home. Avoid placing it in full sun as this can cause sunburn and brown, shriveled leaves.


An underwatered string of pearls plant has shriveled leaves that become dry and brittle.


Give your plant a thorough watering, ensuring the soil is well-draining and allowing excess water to drain. Wait until the top inch of the soil feels dry before you water it again.

String of pearl plants prefer a humid environment, so increasing humidity levels around the plant can help it recover from underwatering. You can do this by using a humidifier, misting the leaves with water, or placing a tray of water near the plant.

Pest infestations

String of pearl plants can be susceptible to pest infestations such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. These pests can damage the leaves and stem of the plant and cause it to weaken and eventually die.


Different pests require different treatments, so it is important to identify the problem infesting your plant.

To prevent the infestation from affecting other plants, isolate the affected plant from the rest of your indoor garden. Remove any leaves or stems severely damaged by the pest infestation, as these are unlikely to recover and can spread the infestation to other parts of the plant.

Insecticidal soap is a safe and effective treatment for many common indoor plant pests. Spray the plant thoroughly with insecticidal soap, covering all parts of the plant, including the undersides of leaves and stems.

Poor air circulation

Poor air circulation can cause too high of humidity levels, making the plant more susceptible to fungal diseases and pest infestations.


Open windows or doors to increase the flow of fresh air around the plant. You can also use a fan to circulate air around the room. Ensure no objects, such as curtains or furniture, are blocking the airflow around the plant.

Dust and debris can accumulate on the plant’s leaves, reducing their ability to absorb air and light. Wipe the leaves regularly with a damp cloth or give the plant a gentle shower to remove any buildup.

Inadequate nutrition

String of pearl plants require adequate fertilizer during the growing season to thrive. If the plant does not receive the right balance of nutrients, it may turn yellow or wilt.


Regular fertilization gives string of pearl plants the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Use a balanced fertilizer for indoor plants.

Make sure your string of pearls plant is planted in nutrient-rich soil that can provide it with the nutrients it needs to grow. You can also add organic matter to the earth to improve its nutrient content.

Good light is essential for plants to grow and absorb nutrients. Make sure your string of pearls plant is getting adequate, bright, indirect light, as too little light can lead to poor nutrient absorption.

Overwatering or underwatering affects the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients, so water your plant properly and provide adequate drainage to prevent waterlogging.

Yellowing or stunted growth can be signs of nutrient deficiencies in the plant. If you notice these signs, adjust your fertilization or soil conditions accordingly.

Transplant shock

When a string of pearls plant is transplanted into a new pot, it may experience transplant shock. This can cause the plant to wilt or drop leaves as it adjusts to its new environment.


Ensure your plant gets enough light, but avoid exposure to direct sunlight, which causes further stress. Check the soil moisture regularly and water the plant when the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch. Do not overwater the plant, as this can make transplant shock worse.

Increase the humidity around the plant by placing a humidifier nearby or a tray of water near the plant. This prevents excessive water loss through the leaves and helps the plant recover more quickly.

Do not fertilize your plant for at least a few weeks after transplanting, as this can further stress the plant. Transplant shock can take some time to resolve, so be patient and continue to provide your plant with proper care. With time, your plant should recover and start to grow again.

Shriveled leaves can be a sign of too much sun or not enough water.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you save a dying string of pearls plant?

To save a dying string of pearls plant, you should start by addressing the root cause of the problem. If the plant is overwatered, reduce the amount of water and improve aeration in the soil mix. If the plant is underwatered, increase the amount of water and adjust the watering schedule.

If the soil mix is too heavy and not draining well, repot the plant in a more appropriate soil mix that contains perlite or pumice for better drainage.

If the plant is affected by pests, such as aphids, use neem oil to treat the infestation. Appropriate care, including proper watering, light, and soil mix, can revive a dying string of pearls plant.

Is string of pearls sensitive to chlorine in tap water?

If a string of pearls plant has been exposed to chlorine, the leaves may appear brown, shriveled, or mushy. Chlorine is a harsh chemical that can damage the leaves and root system of a string of pearls plant, leading to plant death.

To prevent chlorine damage, avoid using chlorinated water for watering your string of pearls plant. Instead, use distilled water or allow tap water to sit out for at least 24 hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate before watering.

Should I cut the dead stems from my string of pearls?

If your string of pearls plant has dead stems, prune them to promote new growth. Dead stems will not recover, so it’s best to remove them to allow the plant to focus its energy on healthy stems and leaves. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut the dead stems at the base of the plant.

Be careful not to damage healthy stems or leaves during the process. Regular pruning can help keep your string of pearls plant healthy and prevent it from becoming leggy or overgrown.

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