An overwatered string of dolphins or Senecio Peregrinus’ leaves yellows up rapidly, shrivels, wilts, and the entire foliage becomes mushy. The leaves can also become squishy and transparent due to excessive water in its system.
Root rot is the most dangerous effect of overwatering your string of dolphins as it gives birth to serious growth and appearance problems.
If you find your dolphin plant in an overwatered state, do not hesitate to take these step-by-step care tips to save it.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- Why Is the String of Dolphins Overwatering Happening?
- How Do You Fix an Overwatered String of Dolphins?
Why Is the String of Dolphins Overwatering Happening?
The string of dolphins overwatering is happening because of factors like soil drainage, weather shifts, pot drainage, watering frequency, catch dish, and pebble tray positioning that is not well-managed. Bear in mind that overwatering symptoms are a result of excessive and prolonged moisture present in the soil.
– Soil Drainage
If the soil or growing medium drains slowly, the string of dolphins will get exposed to prolonged sogginess. Each time you irrigate the plant, it takes more time for excess moisture to find its way out of the pot due to compacted waterways.
Soils that take a long to release excess water make perfect Phytophthora, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia breeding places. Always remember, the longer the soil stays excessively soggy, the more these unwelcome guests multiply.
Rot-causing organisms start feeding on the root mass which reduces their efficiency. There are situations where you find your string of dolphins looking dull and wilted regardless of the availability of rich soils and enough moisture.
This situation is a result of dead or damaged roots that are failing to take up enough water and nutrients that are necessary for the entire plant’s upkeep.Some of the dolphin succulent overwatering issues emanate from oxygen starvation. Oxygen reaches this plant’s roots through the growing medium’s air spaces that lead to the bottom of the pot.
However, air circulation within the growing medium declines when the spaces between the soil granules are water-packed. Lack of airflow within the soil encourages the thriving of rot pathogens which eventually become your plant’s biggest threat.
– Weather Shifts
Watering frequency and intensity should change as the weather switches. During the growing period, the string of dolphins succulent loves to be watered much more frequently as they easily get affected by underwatering. This plant’s active development period stretches from spring to summer and, during this period, it needs more water to support its rapid growth. Also, temperatures and sunlight are generally at their peak during the growing season which causes high evapotranspiration to take place.
To compensate for the excessive rate of water loss, you should water regularly making sure that the soil is well-soaked up. However, as the weather becomes cooler, the string of dolphins plant starts to stunt its development. If you do not put this change in atmospheric conditions into consideration and keep following the same watering frequency throughout the seasons, overwatering takes place. As evapotranspiration falls, watering should also be cut back accordingly to avoid the overstaying of water in the soil.
Another factor to consider is humidity level changes. If you choose to move your string of dolphins into high-moisture places, you should note that the soil takes longer to dry up which ultimately calls for reduced irrigation. If you continue applying water to the plant successively without considering moisture level shifts, you are most likely to expose your plants to prolonged waterlogging. This situation causes the string of dolphins leaves to start turning yellow and fall off.
– Pot or Container Drainage
Poor pot drainage is dangerous to the string of dolphins’ well-being. The string of dolphins succulent grow best in pots and soil that drains well keeping the soil slightly moist at the same time. If the pot denies excess water-free passage out of the system, water-logging will not spare your plants.
The roots become successively drowned in excessive moisture which causes them to be regularly oxygen starved. As a result, you will notice the leaf edges and tips of the string of dolphins turning brown.
The entire plant will begin looking dull with its leaves discoloring. Please note that despite reducing the watering intensity and frequency, if a plant is sitting in a poorly draining container, the soil that is close to its base remains soggy for long periods.
We advise that you use terracotta containers as they support the drainage of excess moisture through their porous walls. Also, keep an eye on the pot’s drainage holes from time to time as they occasionally get blocked by debris and potting soil moldings.
You should keep them efficient by plucking them open on a regular basis using any suitable fungi-free tool. Try to be careful not to disturb the root mass on the way.
– Watering Frequency
You should be mindful of the frequency at which you water your spring of dolphins. When you water your plant, be sure to give it a good soak until you see water escaping the pot through the drainage holes.
However, if you exercise this watering method without ascertaining the soil’s readiness for the next irrigation session, excessive and prolonged moisture saturation takes place.
You should water string of dolphins plants at most once a week during the active growing period. During winter, consider cutting back the irrigation frequency to once a month due to dormancy and unfavorable moisture loss conditions.
However, this irrigation pattern can change slightly according to available environmental conditions at any given time. Although these succulent plants do well with more watering, keeping them in successively damp conditions proves to be a major drawback to their well-being.
Another important point to note is that frequent deep watering reduces the concentration of essential nutrients in the growing medium. As the soil gets soaked up and starts draining out excessive water, nutrients are also lost.
This gives birth to malnutrition and the string of Dolphin plant’s foliage starts appearing sickly which makes it susceptible to pests and diseases. You will notice the string of dolphins turning yellow as it can no longer maintain its natural green leaf color in a malnourished state.
– Catch Dish and Pebble Tray Positioning
A catch dish is placed just below a potted plant’s container to hold the drained water. If it is positioned too close to the base of the pot and the string of dolphins roots accesses the water, overwatering becomes the result.
In some cases, the base of the pot may become mistakenly submerged in drained water. This situation is not welcome as it causes the same overwatering problems as using poorly draining soil and container.
The same effects of overwatering also appear on your string of dolphins if you do not use pebble system properly. Once the roots get in contact with the water, they begin to absorb moisture excessively which in turn over-saturates the leaf cells. Plant cells do not last long as they burst if they are successively kept oversaturated.
When plant cells erupt, chlorophyll will disappear and get replaced by dark lessons that appear on the leaves. Chlorophyll is that green matter that is found in the leaves and is useful in the sunlight absorption process. A plant that lacks chlorophyll will not be able to absorb enough sunlight for photosynthesis. The plant will become leggy and discolored due to a lack of sunlight.
How Do You Fix an Overwatered String of Dolphins?
You can fix an overwatered string of dolphins by revisiting its growing needs and making adjustments. Other steps can be to trim bad roots and replant the whole plant. Remember, you are fighting a situation where your plants are being exposed to too much water.
This means that every action that you are going to take should add to the determination of proper watering practices for your overwatered plants. However, it is quite hectic to save a highly neglected string of dolphins plant due to their advanced overwatered state.
– Situation Evaluation
We strongly advise you to study the overwatered string of dolphins plant and its environment. In some instances, you just have to reduce irrigation so that it becomes proportional to the immediate environment’s water loss drivers.
Keeping in mind that, if water loss and the environmental system are antagonistic or do not match, overwatering problems will remain. If your string of dolphins is seriously affected by overwatering, extensive action needs to be done. This includes removing the plant from its old pot, trimming bad roots and foliage, preparing a fresh well-drained potting mix, and repotting.
However, some extents can be irreversible for instance, if rot has engulfed the entire root system and has extended to the plant’s stem. This scenario calls you to propagate string of dolphins plants that are overly affected by overwatering using the remaining healthy stem cuttings.
– Irrigation Reduction
Reducing the watering frequency is the first step you should take in saving a lightly overwatered string of dolphins. If you are irrigating your string of dolphins more regularly than necessary, you should extend the period between waterings a little bit.
This gives the potting mix ample time to drain and evaporate. To quicken water loss, you can transition the plant to a well-ventilated and warm spot.
Place the overwatered plant in an open space that has access to sunlight. As the soil dries, the air spaces that were once occupied by water will open up which ultimately increases oxygen circulation. A medium that has access to excellent oxygen presence is not ideal for pathogen manifestation. This in turn keeps the string of dolphins’ roots healthy and fully functional.
Please, do not forget to give attention to the environment as you adjust the irrigation schedule. Watering during the hot and cooler seasons should be differentiated. Also, high and low-humidity situations should be treated differently. Ensure that watering is significantly lowered during the cooler seasons as the plant needs only minimal moisture to survive.
– Loosen the Growing Medium
Air circulation and excess water drainage are vital in an overwatered string of dolphins plant care. If your assessment results are showing that compaction of the soil is the culprit, you should get a garden fork or any other suitable tool and loosen it up.
Loose soil has more airways and that reduces the chances of rot pathogen manifestation. Also, when you irrigate the soil, the water easily finds its way out of the potting system leaving the soil moist.
Loosening up the growing medium bears good results when the string of dolphins is showing slight overwatering symptoms. This plant starts to produce new, healthy leaves and begins to grow significantly due to increased oxygen, water, and nutrient absorption by the roots. If the overwatered plant does not respond satisfactorily, you should now check its roots for rot.
– Check the String of Dolphins’ Roots
Please try to be careful when removing an overwatered string of dolphins from its container. Further root damage can make your attempt to save the plant more hectic. In this case, you should only consider removing the plant from its spot if it fails to respond positively to watering reduction and soil loosening.
Gently tap the pot on its side or bottom as you hold it upside-down until the plant slips from the container. Once the plant is out of its pot, shake off all particles of the previous potting soil from the roots, or better still, use water.
In cases of roots rot, the potting mix will be contaminated with pathogens which can cause similar problems in the future. You should use running water to clean the plant and place it in a dry place with good air circulation to lose excessive moisture.
It is easier to notice darkened and mushy roots when they are dry with no particles of the previously used potting soil remaining.
– Trim Bad Roots and Discolored Leaves
The pruning process is very important in the overwatered string of dolphins care. At this point, removing all the parts of the plant that are much of a burden to it is a great idea.
Bear in mind that, if pruning is done during the onset of the growing season, the plant will have enough time to recover as the development-enhanced period progresses. Pruning should be done using disinfected tools to stop the possible transmission of fungi to the struggling string of dolphins.
Neatly cut off all dark and mushy root strands making sure you leave only the unaffected ones. Neat cuts make it easier for the plant to heal and regrow new roots. If the cuts are deep and uneven, healing takes a long time making the roots more exposed to fungal inversions.
Bear in mind that it is not ideal to prune the string of dolphins in winter as the wounds remain open for a long time due to the prevailing plant development conditions.
Remember, your main motive is to offer your overwatered string of dolphins a new start so, take this opportunity to trim all discolored leaves. Pest-infected and diseased leaves should also be removed to eliminate any chances of recurrence.
However, if rot has reached the stem, pruning will not work here. Propagating string of dolphins plants whose roots and stems are rot affected is the way to go although you can also opt to discard the entire plant if no signs of life are left.
– Downsize the Foliage
We advise you to downsize the foliage to match the quantity of the remaining roots. This can be done through the use of a pair of scissors or pruning shears dipped in an alcohol solution for disinfection. If the foliage and roots are kept proportional, they both grow without burdening each other.
The little water and nutrients that are absorbed by the remaining healthy roots will be enough to spearhead the recovery process.The speed of recovery is unlikely to impress you if the size of the root mass is small and the foliage is huge.
This situation may tempt you to fertilize the plant more often to support the ill-looking foliage and speed up recovery. This however puts the string of dolphins’ roots at risk of burning as they fail to handle these harsh conditions.
If this happens, the whole process of recovery will be jeopardized.
– Replant the Overwatered String of Dolphins
Prepare well-draining soil for your string of dolphins. You should mix two parts of potting soil, one part perlite or pumice, and one part sand. For your convenience, you can buy commercially available succulent or cactus mixes. Although any other pot with adequate drainage facilities can do, terracotta containers remain the best due to their high-quality drainage abilities.
Fill the pot with the potting mix and create an opening in the middle. Place the string of dolphins in the opening and firmly fill in the gaps with leftover soil. Ensure that the plant stays upright. Deeply water the soil and keep the soil slightly moist.
Place the plant in a position that has a temperature range of 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29 degrees Celsius). If you place it outdoors, it becomes prone to sunburn so, ensure that the recovering string of dolphins gets a minimum of six hours of sunlight exposure daily while indoors. South-facing windows are however the best spots to place a needy string of dolphins. In a few weeks, new growth will start showing up and the string of dolphins recovery will be underway.
Having your string of dolphins’ leaf tips turning brown and the entire foliage yellowing is not a sight you would appreciate. Recapped below are vital extracts of this overwatered string of dolphins plant care guide.
- An overwatered Senecio Peregrinus’s leaves yellows up rapidly, shrivels, wilts, and the entire foliage becomes mushy.
- You should change the watering frequency and intensity as the weather switches.
- Be mindful of the way you position catch dishes and pebble trays because if, by any way, the roots or base of the pot touches the water, overwatering results.
- In severe scenarios, you should do away with darkened and mushy roots. Also, prune damaged and diseased foliage.
Overwatered dolphin succulent grows new, healthy leaves much more quickly when the recovery process is undertaken during the growing season. Get into action and watch your lovely plants flourish!
- Jon Rowland and Hannah Madden. November 21, 2022). String of Dolphins Propagation: Water or Soil. WikiHow.
Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.com/Propagate-string-of-Dolphins
- (March 13, 2023). Root Rots of Indoor Plants. UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND EXTENSION.
Retrieved from https://extension.umd.edu/resource/root-rots-indoor-plants
- Pythium root and stem rot. Michigan State University.
Retrieved from https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/pythium-root-and-stem-rot