How to Keep String of Pearls Alive After Sunburn

The String of Pearls is a unique vining succulent known for its visual appeal and tiny, pearl-shaped green leaves. Incorporating it into your home as a houseplant or featuring it outside on a patio is an excellent way to showcase its cascading vines and elegant leaves. 

This plant is native to Africa and can tolerate hot temperatures and moderate drought. But even though the String of Pearls is hardy and heat tolerant, it can be negatively affected by prolonged exposure to direct sun, especially if temperatures exceed 90 to 100°F (32 to 37°C). 

pring of Pearls’ leaves turns dark purple, it is probably sunburned. Keep your String of Pearls alive after a sunburn by relocating the plant to a slightly shaded area. If the plant does not recover after a few weeks, prune the damaged leaves from the plant. 

Can String of Pearls Get Too Much Sun?

While this unique plant was made for basking in the sun, if it receives too much direct sunlight for extended periods of time, it can become sunburned. When the String of Pearls becomes sunburned, its leaves will turn dark purple instead of their usual vibrant green. 

Like all succulents, the String of Pearls is remarkably drought resistant and heat tolerant. However, it is not indestructible. Several months of intense sun rays in climates with extended growing seasons can overwhelm the plant and burn the leaves. 

Western and southern-facing plants usually catch the most intense rays. Plants in a northern or eastern-facing window may not experience this problem. 

Succulents in subtropical and tropical climates are also more prone to sun overexposure. 

How Do You Revive a String of Pearls with Sunburn?

string of pearls hanging
Early detection is key to rescuing a String of Pearls that has been sunburned. Waiting too long to intervene could cause irreversible damage. As soon as you notice the plant turning purple, follow these steps:

 1. Relocate the plant 

If you notice yourself getting sunburned at the beach, the first thing you do is seek shade to protect yourself. The same is true for succulents. As soon as you notice signs of sunburn on your String of Pearls, move it to a different location. 

If the plant is catching too much afternoon sunshine, relocate it to a window with morning sun and afternoon shade. You can also rotate the plant if only one side is damaged. 

If your String of Pearls is getting burnt after catching rays outside in the garden, bring it indoors for a few weeks. 

 2. Watch and wait 

Once you have relocated the plant, give it some time. Usually, the plant will restore its own health once it is in the right environment. Continue to ensure the plant receives plenty of indirect sunlight and water it every 7 to 10 days. After 2 to 3 weeks, the plant should start to perk up and regain its natural green hue. 

3. Prune away damaged leaves 

If after a few weeks the plant is showing no signs of repair, you can remove the discolored, damaged leaves. Use clean scissors or gardening shears and remove the purple leaves from the stem. This will prevent rot from spreading and allow room for new growth.

String of Pearls Care Tips

While the String of Pearls is not a delicate plant, following some basic care tips when cultivating this succulent will save you time and frustration. 

Water Sparingly

Succulents conserve their water, making them drought resistant. While they require water to survive, they cannot tolerate excessive water pooling at the roots. Too much moisture can cause root rot and promote the growth of unfavorable bacteria. 

Water the String of Pearls every 7 to 10 days during the growing season and every 14 to 21 days during the winter. Let the soil dry out completely in between waterings. Do not add moisture to moist soil.

If the leaves start to shrivel or wrinkle, this is a symptom of drought. Wrinkled leaves on the String of Pearls should be thoroughly watered immediately. Although succulents do not require as much water as other plants, they still require water to live. 

Watch Sun Orientation

In most growing zones, the String of Pearls can be oriented to the afternoon or early evening sunlight. If the temperatures are so high and the sun rays so intense that the leaves start to burn, move it to a shaded area for a few weeks. 

If you are cultivating a String of Pearls indoors, be sure that it is in a room that receives several hours of indirect sunlight every day. Stalled growth can indicate a lack of sunshine during the growing season. 

Use Well-Drained Soil

Because these succulents conserve their water so well, they require well-drained soil. If the soil is too dense, it can prevent drainage and cause too much moisture around the root system. If the roots remain wet for too long, they are susceptible to root rot and other bacteria. 

Use a pre-mixed all-purpose soil or purchase cacti potting soil. You can also amend regular potting soil by adding perlite. Well-drained soil not only filters water, it provides pathways for oxygen to reach the root system. 

Use the Right Container

planting potThe String of Pearls has a shallow root system and cannot be planted more than one inch deep. Planters that are too large only provide more room for bacteria to spread. This plant needs a container that only exceeds its size by 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) in diameter. Also, be sure to use a container that allows for appropriate water drainage. 

Fertilize Appropriately

The String of Pearls does not typically need fertilizer to thrive, but adding a gentle succulent fertilizer during the growing season can boost its growth. If you use fertilizer, dilute it with water and do not apply it more than once every two weeks. Fertilizing too often can burn the leaves or the roots.


How Do I Know If My String of Pearls Is Drying Out?

Lack of moisture can cause the String of Pearls to become dehydrated. Signs that your String of Pearls is drying out include wrinkling, shriveling, or yellowing of the leaves. If the soil is dry and the leaves show signs of dehydration, thoroughly water the plant immediately. 

How Do I Know If My String of Pearls Is Overwatered?

Too much water can cause root rot and other diseases for this succulent. Yellowing leaves or other signs of damage – in conjunction with moist soil – can be indicators that the plant is receiving too much moisture. Do not water the String of Pearls more than once a week and be sure to let the soil dry out completely before watering it again. 

How Long Will My String of Pearls Live?

With the right care, a String of Pearls can live up to 5 years. But you can propagate more String of Pearls plants by planting cuttings in well-drained soil until they grow roots. Adding new growth to existing plants can also make the containers appear fuller. 


The String of Pearls is an elegant and aesthetically interesting succulent. This succulent requires sun but can become sunburned in extreme conditions. If the plant turns purple, relocate it to a shadier spot and give it time to heal. If it does not revive, prune away the damaged leaves. 

The right water, sunlight, soil, container, and fertilizer can make cultivating the String of Pearls successful and easy. Wait at least 7-10 days between watering and make sure it gets plenty of sunlight but avoid long periods of scorching rays. It’s important to use well-draining soil, use a container that is only 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) larger in diameter, and do not fertilize your succulent more than once every two weeks. 

With the right care, you can enjoy the String of Pearls’ cascading succulent vines for many years.