Overwatered string of pearls is characterized by shrivelled leaves, mold, and ultimately, root rot. Ideally, the overwatered condition of the pearls plant is due to exposure to excess water, which may be due to poor plant care procedures. 

Overwatered String of Pearls

Severe overwatering scenarios are sometimes the reason behind dying string of pearls plants and you wouldn’t want to get to that extent.

If you have been wondering how best you can protect or redeem your plant from waterlogged conditions, this article will provide you with all the information you need to get started.

Why Your String of Pearls Might be Overwatered?

Some of the reasons why your string of pearls, also called the Senecio rowleyanus, is overwatered are inappropriate watering schedules, potting mix, pots, care procedures, pest alleviation methods, and environmental conditions. Let explore these causes of overwatering in more depth in this section.

– Too Frequent Sessions of Watering Your Plant

This is the most direct cause of an overwatered string of pearls plants. If you water string of pearls plants before their potting soil dries up, you are most probably putting yourself in a scenario to deal with a case of overwatering.

This is because you will be adding water to a growth medium that already has enough moisture to sustain your plant. As a result, the water that you add is excess so it will cause waterlogged conditions.

We normally recommend that you check the moisture levels of the soil before watering string of pearls plants. Adopting this habit will give you an idea of the applicable watering frequency that is suitable for your plant. 

You can do this by dipping your finger or a stick into the potting mix. If the tool that you inserted comes out dry, it’s a sign that your plant needs its next drink, but if stick soils appear, watering your plant may pose waterlogged conditions.

While overwatering is a sensitive issue when you are growing your string of pearls plant, also avoid depriving it of the water that it needs. This makes the string of pearls underwatered and you might notice the pearls shrivelling.

The string of pearls stores water but there will come a point where its moisture reserves are depleted and the pearls begin to shrivel. However, comparing an overwatered vs underwatered string of pearls, it is easier to revamp the latter than the former.

– Ignoring Environmental Changes

Environmental changes pose significant effects on the frequency at which you should water your string of pearls plants.

This is because these conditions determine the rate at which your plant and the potting mix lose water into the atmosphere. This is partly why the watering  patterns that you should follow are different for cold and hot seasons.

When environmental temperatures are higher, the rates of transpiration and evaporation are higher so your plants will require more water much earlier.

Under conditions of lower temperatures, the soil for your plant will remain damp for longer periods of time. A similar concept applies to light conditions. Light causes the pores on leaves, known as the stoma, to open, thereby aiding the release of water from your string of pearls plants.

Bright light also tends to increase environmental temperatures, so it also affects the speed at which the soil for your plants dries. Windy conditions also increase evapotranspiration.

This simply refers to the combined loss of water from the soil and plant, respectively. Failure to play around with various environmental factors will see you having to deal with overwatering cases on your plant.

Causes of Overwatered String of Pearls

– Inappropriate Care Procedures

It is important for you to understand the growth patterns of your string of pearls plants, otherwise you might risk overwatering it due to ignorance.

The string of pearls plant grows much more vigorously during the summer or spring. Its biological processes slow down during winter seasons and so does the growth.

Based on the growth information that we have provided you with, the string of pearls plants requires less water during the winter than in the summer or spring seasons.

This is because the water is used for the plant’s vigorous growth during the summer. If you are to give your plant the same amount of water in summer and winter, most of it will be excess during the latter.

Healthier plants are more likely to exhibit more efficient use of water than diseased ones. This explains why adopting expert string of pearls care is vital. For example, the beauties  prefer low-humidity conditions so there is no point in growing them in your kitchen or bathroom if you are growing them as indoor plants.

Otherwise, you will jeopardize the overall health of the plant, thereby compromising its water uptake abilities, a state that further supports overwatering.

– Pest and Disease Control Methods

How you water your string of pearls plants is as important as the amount of water that you give it.

If you water the plant from the top of its foliage, you risk exposing your plant to string of pearls mold. Pouring water directly onto the potting soil is a preventative measure that keeps your plant relatively safe from infections and pests that favor damp conditions.

In the event that your plant has already been affected by pests, for example, be aware of the fact that there are some pest control measures that promote overwatering on your plants.

Some sprays that need to be diluted with water may increase the dampness of your potting soil, thereby giving similar results to a watering session. The same applies to using the hosing method for clearing pests off your string of pearls plants.

If you maintain your watering schedule and still use pest control strategies that add more water, then overwatering is more likely to occur.

– Poor Drainage Attributes

Sometimes, overwatering is not a result of adding too much water to your plant but of a poor drainage system. Even when you don’t add much water, if it does not drain well, waterlogged conditions are a possibility.

There are two main aspects that determine the drainage properties around your string of pearls. These are the potting mix and pot that you are using.

Ideally, the soil for your plant should be structured in such a way that it should allow water to pass through. If the potting mix is highly compacted, it cannot drain excess water.

This could be due to using the wrong potting mix or using the same soil for too long without carrying out procedures that help to loosen it. Components such as clay make soils more compacted so they should not be available in large ratios.

Even with the best potting mix, overwatering will still occur if your pot has no or fewer drainage holes.

Each time you water your plant, excess water should be able to drain out so that the potting mix is moist, not soggy. Check to see if your pot has enough drainage holes as this might be the root cause of the overwatering situation that you are dealing with. 


How to Redeem Your Overwatered String of Pearls

Brown leaves or pearls turning yellow are signs that your plant is probably suffering from being overwatered. Good enough, we have explored the possible reasons why your plant might be undergoing this situation to make your troubleshooting procedure easier. In this section, we will discuss how to save overwatered string of pearls plants.

– Check the Extent of the Overwatering Effects

In most cases, the interventions or saving your overwatered string of pearls depend on the extent of the damage caused. Therefore, assess your plant and see if it can be redeemed. If your plant has been severely affected by root rot to the extent of damaging all its roots, the chances of reviving it are extremely slim.

You can see that your plant has sustained irreversible damage when it continues to wilt, despite you adding more water to its potting mix.

At this point, the string of pearls may turn brown or you may notice yellow leaves. If depriving the plant of water until its soil dries does not trigger improvement, it’s a probable sign that you might be dealing with a more severe situation. 

Solutions of Overwatered String of Pearls

– Cut Down on Water Application

Generally, the first port of call when you suspect a scenario of overwatering is to reduce the water that you apply to your plant. This does not necessarily mean that you should pour lower amounts of water during each watering session. 

Rather, it focuses on revising your watering frequency so that you make sure the potting soil is completely dry before the next “drinking day.” There Is no harm in letting your string of pearls stretch a bit longer, even after the soil has dried because this plant is dough-resistant.

Relatively longer stretches of time without catering your plant will give it more time to recuperate.

If the effects of overwatering were still mild, you will see the plant beginning to become more lively. If this happens, carry out other supportive procedures that will make the string of pearls grow healthier and completely survive the overwatered condition.

– Follow Recommended Watering Patterns

If you have been wondering how to water string of pearls plants, the rule of thumb is recommended watering schedules that generally keep it relatively safe from cases of overwatering.

Ideally, you should give your plant a drink once every two weeks. You, therefore, need to note down the day you water your plant so that you avoid too frequent irrigation.

Please, also remember that the rate at which the potting soil for your plant dries highly depends on the environmental factors under which your plant is growing.

Therefore, monitoring the moisture levels of your potting mix is of paramount importance. However, it is possible for the soil of your plant to be slightly wet, even two weeks after the previous watering, depending on the environmental conditions. 

You can water the string of pearls from the top or bottom, depending on your preference. If you decide to water your plant from the top, be sure to water directly onto the potting soil to avoid fungal infections that result if you directly pour water on the foliage. Also, irrigate deeply until the water begins to go out through the pot’s drainage holes.

– Identify and Use the Correct Potting Mix

The string of pearls prefers well-draining soils so any regular succulent potting mix can do the job well. We strongly recommend that you use the cactus potting mix due to its good drainage properties.

The potting mix that you use for your plant should predominantly include sand. Sandy soils have the ability to loosen the structure of any soil, making it less compact.

This improves the drainage attributes of the while potting mix. You can prepare a good growth medium for your plant by mixing potting soil with sharp sand at a ratio of 3:1, respectively.

– Use the Right Pot

Can you see stagnant water in the pot of your plant? If yes, gently tilt the pot and pour the excess water out.

If the potting mix for your plant is well-draining, it is more likely that the stagnant water is due to the inability to escape the pot. This calls for an improvement in the pot’s drainage capacity.

You might need to transfer your plant to a pot that has more drainage holes. Otherwise, you might need to create more drainage holes in the current pot. We recommend that you use terracotta pots rather than metal ones because the former is naturally porous and so, it is well-draining.

In some cases, your pot might have enough drainage holes but compacted soil particles may block them.

This situation causes your pit to be no better than the one without drainage holes because excess water will still be retained inside the pot. Use a suitable tool to poke the soil particles off the drainage holes in a bid to further aid better drainage.

– Explore Drier Pest Control Alternatives

Instead of using pest control methods that significantly add more water to your plant, you can use other drier interventions. For example, spraying Neem oil is unlikely to increase the moisture levels in your plant’s growth medium.

If you are of the notion that, for instance, hosing the pests off with a strong stream of water works best for you and your plant, consider carrying out the pest control procedures on the day that you scheduled for watering. This way, the pest control procedure will not stand out as a separate watering session.

– Apply Correct Care Procedures

Implementing correct care procedures start with understanding the survival needs of your plant.

The string of pearls is an indoor plant and this explains why it is less tolerant to direct sunlight. Exposing your plant to such conditions for long periods will cause damage to its pearls, a state that compromises the plant’s ability to efficiently use water.

As a strategy for hastening the removal of water from your potting mix, you can expose your string of pearls to bright sunlight sparingly.

The bright light will increase the temperatures around your plant, thereby increasing the speed at which water escapes from the soil through evaporation. Be sure to withhold water from your plant as you carry out this drying procedure.

– Remove Damaged Parts

The yellow, brown, or shrivelled parts of the string of pearls plant will not recover, even after a successful revamp.

On the other hand, your plant will continue to direct some of its resources, including nutrients, to these damaged parts, where they are nit even used. This causes a waste of resources that would have been, otherwise, used to help the whole plant completely recover.

We, therefore, recommend that you cut off all the plant parts that would have been damaged by overwatering. Before you carry out the pruning procedure, use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol to disinfect the tools that you will use.

Also, make sure you are wearing gloves as you handle your plant. All these safety precautions are meant to protect your plant from the transmission of infections that might otherwise cause more problems on your plant.

Be sure to remove all the damaged parts and save the healthy ones. It is also fine for you to reduce the foliage of your string of pearls if you feel that it is too much for the rooting system. This applies if part of your plant’s roots has been affected by rot, to the extent that you had to remove some of them.

– Deal With Root Rot

Once you have tried the interventions that we described earlier in this article without any success, check your plant for root rot. To do this, gently pull your plant from its pot and shake off any clinging soil. You can even wash the soil off so that you can clearly assess the state of your plant’s roots.

Brown, mushy roots are characteristic of root rot, while white ones are healthy. Evaluate the ratio of the healthy to the damaged roots. If more or all roots are damaged, the survival chances of your plant are very slim, while the opposite is also true. 

Use well-sterilized scissors to cut off all the affected roots, leaving the healthy ones. You may also consider treating the rooting system with a fungicide, to further protect the roots from more damage. Repot your string of pearls in a new pot with a fresh potting mix to avoid recurrences of the infection.

– Consider Propagating Your Plant

If you realize that your plant’s condition cannot be reversed, don’t lose heart, you can still have another string of pearls plant through propagation.

To propagate string of hearts plants, you need healthy cuttings from your dying plant, a four- or six-inch pot, and a cactus mix, among other things. Be sure to get your cuttings just below the leaf node and allow them to lie on a flat surface so that they heal.

Prepare your pot and add your potting mix until it’s full. Using a chopstick, create holes in the potting mix so that you can plant your cuttings in them.

Save Overwatered String of Pearls

Be sure to remove the top leaves from the string of pearls cutting prior to planting. Now, dip the cuttings into the holes that you prepared, making sure that three or four nodes will be buried under the growing medium.

Use your hand to compact the soil around your cuttings so that they are firmly held by the potting mix. Do not water the cuttings immediately after planting them. Rather wait for at least six days before giving them their first drink. If you have been wondering how to propagate string of pearls plants, this procedure is undoubtedly easy to follow.


Will bottom watering prevent String of Pearls from getting overwatered?

Bottom watering helps prevent overwatering in String of Pearls by allowing the plant to absorb water as needed. Avoid excessive moisture.

Can you grow a healthy String of Pearls from an overwatered plant?

It’s challenging to revive an overwatered String of Pearls, but with proper care, you can grow a healthy plant from it. Drain excess water and provide adequate drying time.

How much water do you put in a String of Pearls?

String of Pearls prefers a moderate watering approach. Water thoroughly but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Avoid waterlogged conditions.


Seeing your spring of pearls can be disheartening, especially if you were doing everything you can to take good care of your plant. Now, you know what to do in case you encounter that situation again.

Let’s have a recap of what we discussed in this article:

  • The overwatered condition in string of pearls plants may be due to unmonitored drainage properties, environmental conditions, and watering schedules.
  • You can diagnose overwatering in your plant by checking for yellow and brown leaves, as well as waterlogged conditions in the pot.
  • The moment you notice that your plant is overwatered, withhold water until your plant starts to improve.
  • Other measures that you can employ include removing damaged parts, treating root rot, using drier pest control interventions, and improving the drainage system of your pot.
  • In extreme cases of overwatering, your string of pearls may not survive so propagation might be the only way out.

From now on, you will not be dumbfounded when you face overwatering scenarios on your string of pearls. You will be in a better position to treat the condition and, more importantly, prevent it!


  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-personal-shopper/2022/02/27/best-indoor-plants/?sh=715d3b383ad6
  2. https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-grow-string-of-pearls/
  3. https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/string-of-pearls-senecio-rowleyanus/
  4. https://www.news24.com/home/gardening/plantofthemonth/succulent-of-the-month-string-of-pearls-20200909

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