Overwatered string of hearts is very susceptible to problems like yellowing leaves, root rot, stunted growth, leaf loss, malnutrition, and death of the whole plant.
Once you notice any of these signs, you should quickly take action to solve them before they become irreversible.
It is, however, important to follow the specific string of hearts plant watering needs to keep it out of overwatering troubles. If you are looking for detailed information pertaining to the revival of your overwatered string of hearts plant, read through this guide.
- Why Is the String of Hearts Overwatered?
- How to Save an Overwatered String of Hearts
Why Is the String of Hearts Overwatered?
The string of hearts or Ceropegia woodii becomes overwatered when certain factors like poorly drained containers, use of water-holding soils, too frequent watering, and changes in environmental conditions are not well taken. If one of these factors is not kept right, overwatering will result, despite most of them being well-monitored.
– Poorly Drained Containers
Using a poorly drained pot on your string of hearts is equally dangerous as growing it in waterlogging soil. You may have used a well-draining soil mix in potting your plant, but a poorly drained container does not let out excess water, thereby posing danger to the plant.
Despite the topsoil having dried out, the underneath soil will remain wet. Your chain of hearts plant’s leaves turn yellow under such conditions and if its stay is prolonged in such an environment, the roots begin to rot.
Generally, you should water string of hearts plants once or twice every week during the growing season to curb overwatering but, this does not work well when you are using pots with poor drainage holes.
The water that is applied to the soil will remain in the pot and drains more slowly than normal. You may notice the plants looking sick with their leaves discolored despite being given all other plant care needs.
Despite having acquired a pot that has adequate draining holes, they may have been blocked by the soil or debris. You should therefore use a screwdriver or any other suitable tool you can get to reopen the holes.
– Using Water-holding Soils
If your plant is grown in poorly drained or compacted soils like clay, overwatering will result. Once water is applied to the poorly drained soil, it takes longer for it to drain off, thereby causing the roots to sit in continuously damp conditions for a long time.
Considering that the natural habitats of the string of hearts are drier, this plant hates being grown in damp soils. Its roots become vulnerable to rot if corrective measures are not taken quickly.
You must bear in mind that organisms that cause root rot manifest and survive in soggy soils. The latter means that these organisms multiply rapidly and if they go untreated for a long time, they cause detrimental damage to your string of hearts plant.
When the roots get damaged, water and nutrient uptake decline, further leading to discoloration, as well as ill-looking foliage, and stunted growth.
Try to be gentle when watering string of hearts plants to avoid compacting the soil. Allow the water to sip through the soil and out of the pot gently. Another thing to note is that if you repeatedly use the potting of your plant over long periods of time, it might become compacted. This closes the air spaces that would make it easier for water to pass through.
– Too Frequent Watering
If you do not follow the recommended one to two times watering a week for the string of hearts, your plant will face growth problems. If you water the plant much more frequently than required, the moisture content in the soil becomes excessive.
You should also know that when the water goes through the growing medium, it gradually washes away some essential nutrients causing deficiencies to your heart of string’s plant. This means that the more frequently you apply water to the soil, the more nutrients get washed out leaving your plants malnourished.
Limited irrigation allows the chain of hearts succulent to use up available nutrients effectively and the soil’s fertility remains high for a lengthy period.
If drained water is left to settle on the surface on which the pot is seated, your string of hearts will become exposed to high chances of being overwatered, because you keep on irrigating it. Overall, the soil needs and surfaces should dry up completely before it is watered again.
You will notice your string of hearts shedding off, turning yellow, black, or brown, and having a mushy and soft texture it may collapse any time soon.
During spring and summer, the chain of hearts becomes more vibrant and attractive, but if you see it looking sickly and unappealing during this period, overwatering could be holding it back. If you notice the plant dying despite giving it enough nutrition, light, and temperature, you may also have probably overwatered it.
– Changes in Environmental Conditions
When watering the string of hearts, you should be attentive to changes that occur in the immediate environment. Remember, that during winter, if you maintain the same watering frequency that you use during the spring and summer seasons, overwatering results.
Keep in mind that cooler temperatures reduce water loss from the plants and soil, so the growing medium will remain wet for a long time, because it’s hard to dry the soil. Generally, the heart of strings does not need too much water for its upkeep, therefore, a single watering fortnightly during winter should be fine.
In this case, if you are not attentive to the plant’s surroundings, and keep irrigating it two or more times a week, you will be overwatering your beauty.
– High Humidity
Another environmental condition that you should monitor is humidity. If the moisture in the air is high and you water the heart of strings regularly, you will saturate the soil unnecessarily. As a result, the plant’s leaves begin to turn yellow and fall off.
Changes in sunlight intensity also mean that your watering schedule should change. In low sunlight conditions, water loss falls, and you must cut back on the watering frequency. Too much watering in low light conditions will also lead to overwatering, and your plant will be stressed.
How to Save an Overwatered String of Hearts
To save the plant, cut back the irrigation frequency, reduce relative humidity levels, prune the yellow leaves, transplant the plant into well-draining potting soil, and place the plant in a place with indirect sunlight. You have to check for root rot, repot the plant, and expose to normal care conditions.
– Cut Back the Watering Frequency
The fact that your chain of hearts plant is suffering from exposure to too much moisture implies that watering should be cut back significantly. Being a drought-tolerant plant, the string of hearts would appreciate drier conditions for its development.
Keep a schedule and water your plants once a week during spring and summer as part of the corrective steps. In fall or winter, the string of hearts will be less due to minimal growth, therefore, you should irrigate it once every two to three weeks.
In the beginning phase as you limit irrigation gives the potting soil ample time to dry out between watering, thereby reducing overwatering chances. You should consider the levels of humidity in your environment because moisture levels that are above 60 percent call for less watering.
However, the easiest way to test whether it is time to water the soil is by dipping your finger into the soil. If the top two inches are dry, the soil is ready for watering, this of course it after it has recovered from the major shock.
For more accurate and effective soil wetness/dryness testing, you should use a moisture meter. Your chain of hearts will start showing signs of recovery if the correct irrigation schedule and procedure are maintained.
– Reduce Indoor Moisture Levels
We recommend that you reduce the relative humidity around your string of hearts to about 40 percent. Such moisture levels help this plant to transpire faster, a state that allows it to take more water from the potting medium.
You should not worry about having the plant take more water as it will not be affected by edema. Edema is the swelling of plant tissues that is caused by excess water.
When the string of hearts is grown indoors, humidity can be reduced through the use of a dehumidifier. You may invest in a small dehumidifier, as it is an important gadget that draws excess moisture from the air and is very effective when caring for drought-tolerant plant species that are grown indoors, and saves your plant’s life.
If your chain plant is being placed or grown in high moisture places like bathrooms and near kitchen sinks, you must move them out for drier air access. Remember, the main objective of dehumidifying the environment is to enhance improved water uptake by the plant and increase transpiration.
Dehumidifying consequently stops the pooling of water in the root zone, thereby curbing root rot. It is also important to keep the soil well-aerated to allow oxygen to reach the root system.
There is no need to supplement humidity when growing the string of hearts indoors. Being a drought-hardy plant, the chain of hearts prefers drier air conditions. High humidity can easily lead to overwatering of this succulent, therefore, do everything you can to avoid it.
– Avoid Direct Sunlight Exposure
You should not relocate your string of hearts outdoors for direct sunlight exposure when you encounter an overwatering situation. It is best if you keep it away from the direct sun which scorches its leaves in no time.
The reason is simply because the sudden change of sunlight intensity will burn the leaves of your string of hearts and shock the plant at the same time.
For the best results, we, therefore, recommend you carry out all the overwatering reversal procedures while this succulent is out of direct light, and place it in a place with indirect light, where it will receive but not get burnt.
– Check for Root Rot
The most devastating effects of overwatering emanate from root rot, which emanates from the waterlogged soil in the plant’s pot. You must thoroughly inspect the roots, but be sure to displace the plant first in order to see everything properly. If the string of hearts has black or mushy roots, you should remove them.
Dead or rotten roots stop absorbing water and nutrients, leading to wilting, discoloration, and stunted plant development. A string of hearts plant that is mildly affected by rot has a higher chance of bouncing back if corrective steps are taken as soon as possible.
You should use sterilized cutting tools to remove the rotten or dead roots because they have been degenerated. In severe circumstances, a substantial amount of roots will be dead, and the remaining few ones will not be able to support the plant. This extreme situation simply implies that the entire string of hearts plant should be discarded.
– Prune all Discolored and Dead Leaves
The next step is to prune off all yellow leaves, including the ones with red or brown spots that result from edema. Although it is impossible to revive rotten roots or yellow leaf marks, it is possible to save overwatered string of hearts plants
The string of hearts yellow leaves cannot turn back to their healthy color or appearance so, they should be removed. As with root trimming, you should also use disinfected tools to cut off any unwanted chain of hearts plant leaves.
Avoid making deep cuts when pruning as they may shock your plant. Neat and clean incisions make it easier for the plant to grow new leaves especially if the chain of hearts revival is done during the growing season. The string of hearts will now direct most of the available energy and resources to the development of new healthy foliage.
– Repot the String of Hearts
After checking the string of hearts’ roots and trimming the unwanted ones, it will be time to replant it in a new potting mix. This will help your beloved plant to start afresh with no growth or survival hindrances.
Repotting should be done using well-drained soil in a container with sufficient holes for drainage. To commence the repotting process, you should gently uproot the plant and clean off any wet soil holding on to its bulbous roots.
Leave the uprooted plant on a dry surface to air dry for a few hours. This helps the plants to lose more moisture, thus preparing them for irrigation after replanting.
You can consider using a succulent soil mix that is specially made to aid optimal drainage for drought-tolerant plants like the chain of hearts. Please note that you should never reuse the previous potting mix as it may be infected by rot-causing organisms and have a low nutrient concentration.
Now, fill a one to two-inch diameter pot with the new potting mix making sure it reaches the three-quarter level. Do not use a pot that is larger than the last one to avoid drowning the plant’s roots. Plant the string of hearts ensuring that the roots are fully covered with soil and water it one to two times a week.
If you are troubled by seeing your string of hearts leaves falling off, you can also consider propagating it so that it starts over. You can easily propagate string of hearts plant as you can just use some healthy parts of the unwanted plant.
The best propagation method for a once overwatered string of hearts is soil propagation where you can limit the water content in the growing medium. Water propagation is also effective but, you should reserve this method when propagating overwatering troubled plants.
– Expose to Its Normal Care Conditions
Place the recovering chain of hearts in a place that has access to bright indirect sunlight. If the leaves have large variegation gaps on their surfaces, your string of hearts is not getting enough sunlight.
Adequate sunlight leads to dense leaf variegation on the string of hearts plant. Just make sure that the soil dries up before you irrigate the plant.
You should know that it is far better to keep the string of hearts underwatered than overwatered, so you should be very attentive to the plant.
In addition, you can make sure that the temperature around your plant is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below 41 degrees Fahrenheit discourage the development or regrowth of the string of hearts’ foliage and roots.
When you notice the chain of hearts plants growing new leaves, it means that it is recovering well, and you should add fertilizers to the soil to boost its development. Under normal circumstances, the string of hearts does not need any nutrient supplementation.
However, you can fertilize it once or twice a year during the growing season only. If these growing conditions are well maintained, you shall see your beloved string of hearts returning to their vibrant form.
It is also unfortunate that when this plant losses its bottom leaves, it will not replace them anytime sooner. The loss of bottom leaves can also be caused by too much watering, therefore, you should monitor your plant’s irrigation requires carefully. We advise you to water the soil once or twice a week and ensure sufficient drainage is put in place.
– Upgrade the Quality of Water
Water quality is another thing that adds to the string of hearts problems. You should use filtered or distilled water to irrigate the string of hearts. The chemicals that come with bad quality water accumulate in the soil, increasing the salt concentration, which in turn burns the plant’s roots.
Avoid growing the string of hearts in humid places so, we recommend that you grow this plant in low-moisture rooms. As the string of hearts matures, its base leaves become fewer, especially if it is watered inconsistently.
Once you water the string of hearts correctly, your chain of strings plant has reduced chances of collapsing.
However, if your plant is already facing overwatering issues, closely following the information in this article will help you to revive it.
Let us review some important points we have covered in this guide.
- Overwatering is caused by using water-holding soils, unmonitored changes in environmental conditions, too frequent irrigation, and poorly drained containers.
- The watering frequency of the string of hearts is also controlled by changes in certain environmental conditions like temperature, humidity, and sunlight intensity.
- If the string of hearts does not show any signs of recovery, you should consider repotting the plant but first, you should check and prune off all dead roots.
- After repotting, expose your plant to the normal string of hearts’ care needs, making sure that you use quality water to irrigate it.
If you avoid overwatering, your string of hearts would really appreciate that but, close management is required to help it bounce back if it is already struggling from too much moisture.
Consider following this recovery guide and restore your beautiful succulent’s vibe!
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