Senecio rowleyanus, commonly known as "String of Pearls", is a succulent plant belonging to the Senecio genus in the Compositae family. It is characterized by its spherical shape, with leaves measuring approximately 0.5 cm in diameter. The leaves display a distinct longitudinal line of transparency, which becomes more pronounced when the leaf is filled with water. The string of pearls plant features elongated, trailing stems that can reach up to 1 meter in length. It is often cultivated in hanging baskets, allowing the stems and leaves to cascade downwards gracefully.

However, like any plant, the string of pearls is not immune to occasional troubles that can leave plant parents scratching their heads. From drooping strands to yellowing leaves, troubleshooting common issues with String of Pearls requires a keen eye and a bit of know-how. This guide will explore some of the most encountered problems and provide practical solutions to help your String of Pearls thrive and flourish again.


Overwatering String of Pearls: Why and How to Deal with?


Overwatering poses a frequent challenge for individuals caring for String of Pearls plants. Originating from arid regions, these lovely succulents are susceptible to harm when subjected to waterlogged environments. When the soil remains excessively moist or soggy, the plant's roots are deprived of essential oxygen, increasing the risk of root rot. This can cause the previously vibrant green beads on the stems to turn translucent or soft, and overall plant health and vigor may rapidly decline.

Ensuring the well-being of your String of Pearls plant requires allowing the soil to dry out thoroughly between watering sessions. This particular succulent thrives in a well-draining succulent soil mix, and excessive watering can result in root decay and compromised vitality. To prevent such issues, it is crucial to assess the moisture content of the soil before proceeding with watering, proceeding only when the soil feels dry upon touch. By following this practice, you will encourage the growth of robust roots and prevent the occurrence of waterlogged conditions.


If you have overwatered your String of Pearls plant, here are some steps to address the issue:

  • 1. Drainage treatment: Remove the plant from its container and check the roots and soil moisture. If you find any root rot or excessively wet soil, carefully remove the String of Pearls and gently shake off excess moist soil. If there are visibly rotting roots, trim off the damaged parts.
  • 2. Drying treatment: Place the String of Pearls in a well-ventilated area where the soil can gradually dry out. Refrain from watering until the soil has fully dried out. This will help prevent further root rot.
  • 3. Adjust watering frequency: Reassess your watering frequency and ensure the soil is completely dry before the next watering. Overwatering is a common issue with String of Pearls, so allowing the soil to partially dry out between watering is important. Click here to learn how often to water succulents indoors.
  • 4. Trim damaged parts: If you notice yellowing, softening, or visibly rotting leaves, you can trim off the damaged parts. This helps prevent the spread of disease.
  • 5. Provide proper light: Position the String of Pearls in a well-lit area, ensuring indirect sunlight and avoiding direct exposure to intense sunlight. Appropriate lighting conditions will aid in the plant's healthy recovery.
  • 6. Monitor and adjust care: Continue to closely observe your String of Pearls, noting the condition of the leaves and soil moisture. Adjust your watering frequency and amount gradually based on the plant's response to meet its needs.

Why is My String of Pearls Getting Yellow and Dropping Leaves?


The leaves of the String of Pearls appear limp and wrinkled. They lose their plumpness and become soft to the touch. Instead of the usual round and turgid appearance, the leaves become thin, narrow, and slightly translucent. They may also show signs of discoloration, turning yellow or brown. The shriveled leaves can give the hanging succulent plant a withered and unhealthy appearance. The strings of pearls, which are usually firm and succulent, may lose their vitality and droop. The overall growth of the plant may be stunted, and the stems may appear weak or droopy.


Promptly addressing yellowing or shedding leaves on your String of Pearls is essential as it serves as a clear indication of potential health issues. The leaves may exhibit a pale yellow or brown hue before ultimately detaching from the plant. Such symptoms often signify that the plant is undergoing stress or encountering unfavorable growth conditions.

There are several possible causes for yellowing or dropping leaves in String of Pearls, including:

  • Under watering: Insufficient watering can cause the leaves to lose their vibrancy and exhibit a yellow coloration. Insufficient moisture deprives the plant of necessary hydration, resulting in stress and leaf shedding.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: String of Pearls requires a well-balanced supply of nutrients. Inadequate fertilization or nutrient deficiencies can manifest as yellowing leaves and hinder overall plant health.

Watering and sunshine have been mentioned above, and the article will not repeat them here. Let's talk about fertilizing. To fertilize your String of Pearls, choose a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer for succulents. Dilute it as instructed and water the plant beforehand. Apply the diluted fertilizer to the soil, avoiding the leaves. During the active growth period, fertilize your String of Pearls every 2 to 4 weeks, but discontinue fertilization during the winter dormancy phase. Monitor for signs of over fertilization and adjust accordingly. Follow the fertilizer packaging instructions for specific guidance. Or click here to learn more about succulent fertilizer.

Why is My String of Pearls Shriveling Up?


The leaves of the String of Pearls plant exhibit a drooping and creased appearance. They lose their plumpness and become soft to the touch. Instead of the usual round and puffy appearance, the leaves become thin, narrow, and slightly translucent. They may also show signs of discoloration, turning yellow or brown. The shriveled leaves can give the succulent plant a withered and unhealthy appearance.


There are various reasons why the leaves of a String of Pearls plant may have Shriveled Leaves:

  • Underwatering and overwatering: String of Pearls requires sufficient watering to keep their leaves plump and hydrated. When the soil becomes excessively dry, the leaves may begin to shrivel. It's important to water the plant when the upper layer of soil feels dry, ensuring that the water thoroughly saturates the soil. Afterward, allow the soil to partially dry out before watering again to avoid overwatering, as this can result in root rot, which impacts the leaf condition. 
  • Excessive sunlight exposure: Like most succulent plants, String of Pearls thrives in bright, indirect light and may experience leaf shriveling when subjected to strong, direct sunlight. Position your plant in an area that receives abundant indirect light, or employ a sheer curtain or shade cloth for plants to shield it from intense sunlight.
  • Nutrient deficiency: Adequate nutrient supply is crucial for the health of String of Pearls, as insufficient soil nutrients can cause leaf shriveling. Proper fertilization methods have been previously discussed in the article.

How to Get Rid of Mealybugs and Aphids on String of Pearls?


Similar to numerous indoor plants, String of Pearls is susceptible to troublesome pests. Among the commonly encountered insects are mealybugs and aphids. Mealybugs are diminutive, cotton-like creatures that congregate in the plant's crevices, whereas aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects that tend to gather on fresh growth or the undersides of leaves. If neglected, both pests can inflict considerable harm on the succulent plant.


To determine if your String of Pearls is affected by pests, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • 1. Presence of white, cottony masses or tiny, oval-shaped insects (mealybugs) on the plant's stems or leaves.
  • 2. Clusters of small, green or black insects (aphids) on the new growth or undersides of leaves.

To combat pest infestations on your String of Pearls, consider the following methods:

  • Isolating affected plants: If you detect indications of pest presence, it is crucial to promptly separate the infested plant to impede the infestation from spreading to neighboring plants.
  • Treating with insecticidal soap or neem oil: The usage of insecticidal soap or neem oil is a verified technique for addressing the plant that has been impacted. Adhere closely to the product instructions and administer the solution to every part of the succulent plant, encompassing the lower side of the leaves. These treatments effectively suffocate and eradicate pests.
  • Regular monitoring and prevention measures: Maintain vigilant monitoring of your string of pearls plant to detect any indications of pests. Conduct routine examinations of the leaves, stems, and soil. Moreover, incorporate preventive practices like frequent leaf cleansing and refraining from excessive fertilization, as pests are often drawn to plants under stress or weakened.

Why is My String of Pearls Rotting?


Leaf rot is a prevalent problem that can impact String of Pearls and is commonly triggered by excessive moisture and inadequate airflow around the leaves. When the leaves remain consistently damp, it creates a favorable setting for the growth of fungal or bacterial pathogens, resulting in the deterioration and decomposition of the plant's leaves. If left unattended, leaf rot can rapidly propagate, posing a risk to the plant's overall well-being. Click here to learn how humidity affects succulents.

To prevent leaf rot in your String of Pearls, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Using well-draining soil: Choose a soil mixture designed for succulents when planting your String of Pearls. Opt for a well-draining soil blend that is specifically formulated for these types of plants. This soil composition enables efficient drainage, minimizing the chances of water accumulation and potential problems associated with excessive moisture.


  • Avoiding overwatering and promoting good air circulation: Be mindful of your watering practices and allow the soil to partially dry out before watering again. Avoid excessive watering, as it can result in too much moisture buildup around the leaves. Also, encourage proper air movement around the plant by ensuring sufficient spacing between adjacent plants and preventing overcrowding.

How to Propagate String of Pearls?


Propagation of String of Pearls can be a thrilling method to enhance your collection of plants or distribute them to others. Two popular techniques exist for propagating String of Pearls, namely stem cuttings and division. Both approaches can yield positive results, so choose the one that best aligns with your preferences.

  • Stem cuttings: Locate a healthy, trailing stem on your String of Pearls plant. Using clean scissors or pruning shears, carefully cut a section of the stem that is at least a few inches long. Make sure the cutting has several sets of leaves.  
  • Division: Alternatively, you can divide your String of Pearls plant if it has multiple trailing stems. Handle the plant carefully as you extract it from its pot and separate the stems by gently and cautiously pulling them apart. Ensure that each division has some roots attached.

If you are using stem cuttings, remove the lower sets of leaves from the bottom inch of the stem. This bare section will be inserted into the soil or propagation medium. If you are using divisions, ensure each division has some roots intact.

Prepare a container by filling it with soil that has good drainage properties or use an appropriate propagation medium like a blend of peat moss and perlite. Place the string of pearls cutting or division into the soil or medium, making sure to cover the exposed portion of the stem or ensuring that the roots are adequately buried.


Position the container in an area that receives ample, gentle light without direct exposure to the sun, as it may harm the fragile leaves. Create a warm and moist atmosphere to facilitate the growth of roots. You may employ a plastic bag or a propagation tray equipped with a transparent cover to preserve moisture.

When watering string of pearls plant, give the right amount of water to avoid drowning the roots and damaging the plant. Water the soil lightly to keep it evenly moist. Stay mindful of how much water you give and adjust as needed for stronger, healthier plants.

Keep an eye on the cuttings or divisions for signs of growth. It may take a few weeks to several months for roots to develop. During this time, avoid overwatering to prevent rot. Once roots have formed, gradually acclimate the new plants to their growing conditions.

Click here to get extra tips on succulent propagation.

How to Grow String of Pearls From Pearls?


If you're really curious about this, you can read our other blog:

How to Make String of Pearls Fuller?


To ensure optimal cultivation of String of Pearls, it is important to timely trim the long stems and leaves based on their growth rate. This practice helps prevent the stems from growing excessively and causing a dispersal of nutrients that can lead to a thin and weak appearance. Regularly trimming the plant can maintain a more balanced growth and promote a fuller and healthier appearance for your String of Pearls.

Other tips for how to make String of Pearls fuller you can read our other blog:



To ensure the vitality and well-being of your String of Pearls, it is crucial to nurture and observe the plant actively. By promptly attending to any concerns that emerge and taking proactive measures to provide the necessary care, you can delight in the presence of a robust and exquisite plant.

3 thoughts on “Common Issues With String of Pearls Succulent and How to Fix Them

Joni Lund

Thank you for leading me to this blog. I ordered one that came smashed I tried to revive but no luck. You sent me another and it is very nice. I read the care and watering. It would have been good to send a link to the blog with it. I still wasn’t sure if I should water it, though it was dry. I presume it is rooted. Should I put a bag over it until it appears to be growing?

March 30, 2024 at 01:48am

Useful blog. I shared this with my mom and she appreciated you guys provide this. Thanks.

March 5, 2024 at 00:41am

This blog is really helpful for me because I love string of pearls very much, but they prone to shrivel and die in the end. Thank you.

March 5, 2024 at 00:41am

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