Why Is My String of Pearls Going White? (and How To Fix It)

The String of Pearls is an elegant vining succulent characterized by tiny, green, pearl-shaped leaves. Native to Africa, the String of Pearls is a hardy, heat-loving plant that grows beautifully in hanging planters. Its moderate climate requirements make the String of Pearls an excellent houseplant to cultivate indoors. Its cascading vines and vibrant color make it a visually interesting design piece as well. 

While a healthy String of Pearls is bright green in color, sometimes the leaves can turn white or develop white spots on them. Your String of Pearls’ leaves can turn white due to pest infestation, mold, lack of sunlight, overwatering, or over-fertilization. The good news is that neem oil, sunshine, moderate watering, and fertilizing will reverse the leaves’ color damage. 

How Do You Bring a String of Pearls Back to Life?

If your String of Pearls is lacking in nutrients, the first indication will be discoloration in the leaves. You may notice white spots appearing on the green leaves. After that, you may notice the leaves drying out and turning yellow or brown. 

The String of Pearls’ lack of nutrients could be caused by a number of scenarios, such as:

  • Too much moisture
  • Dense soil blocking airflow to roots
  • Too little sunlight
  • Pest infestation

Fortunately, even if the succulent is showing signs of distress through drying or discoloration, it is usually still possible to revive it. Observe your succulent and its environment and use the process of elimination to identify the problem. 

Water

watering plantsObserve its soil to see if it is too moist or too dense. If you continue watering the String of Pearls before the soil has dried, the plant will start to lose its color. Succulents need well-drained sandy soil to thrive.

They are designed to conserve water and withstand moderate drought conditions. Giving them too much moisture can cause mold or root rot. Soil that is too dense can cause issues with air circulation and lead to the plant not having enough breathable air. 

Sunlight

Observe its orientation to the sun. Succulents require an abundance of indirect sunlight. A diffusion of the intense rays from southern- and western-facing windows is the best way to ensure it gets enough nutrients from the sun. Place the String of Pearls on a surface set slightly back from a southern- or western-facing window for best results. 

Pests

Observe evidence of infestation. Yellowing or wilting leaves are evidence that insects may be eating away at the roots. Some of the most common culprits are aphids and mealybugs. Use a gentle insecticidal soap or neem oil to prevent these garden bugs from making their home in your String of Pearls. 

String of Pearls Care Tips

As with most things in life, it is easier to prevent sickness in a plant than it is to revive a dying one. Knowing the String of Pearls’ care requirements and carefully monitoring its environment can drastically reduce the succulent’s risk of white spots or wilting leaves. Follow these care tips to support your String of Pearls’ success.

  • Use well-drained soil. 

Succulents require well-drained soil. Blend sand or loam into the topsoil or purchase premade cacti or succulent potting mix. The right soil will prevent the dirt from becoming too dense and will allow better airflow to the roots. Well-drained soil will also prevent water from pooling at the roots, causing root rot. 

  • Do not water the String of Pearls too often.

The String of Pearls is drought resistant, meaning that it conserves its moisture well enough to go longer in between irrigation. Let the soil dry out completely in between irrigation. If the soil is not dry, it does not need water. Most succulents should not be watered more than once a week. 

  • Give the String of Pearls access to plenty of sunlight. 

This succulent is native to Africa and loves the hot sun. While it can tolerate some shade, the String of Pearls needs several hours of indirect sunlight each day. Not enough sun will cause the succulent to wilt. Keep the String of Pearls in a sunny room or near a window for best results. 

  • Repel insects with neem oil. 

The String of Pearls is vulnerable to mealybug and aphid infestations. Use neem oil or a succulent insecticide to prevent insects from moving into the plant. 

  • Do not fertilize too often. 

The String of Pearls is a hardy succulent that does not have stringent fertilization needs. If you choose to use a fertilizer, use a 2-2-2 and make sure you dilute it first. Only fertilize it during the growing season (spring and summer) and do not apply fertilizer more often than every two weeks. 

How Often Should I Water My String of Pearls?

If a String of Pearls is receiving too much or too little water, the beads will start to shrivel up, losing some of their plumpness. Adjusting your watering routine will reveal whether the succulent is experiencing a water deficit or surplus. 

Sometimes, water may contain fluoride or chlorine that can damage the succulent’s roots. Try to use distilled or filtered water to irrigate the String of Pearls every 10 to 14 days. Do not just follow a watering routine without also checking the soil, though. 

If the soil still feels moist 14 days after its last watering, do not give it more water just because the calendar indicates it is time for irrigation. Similarly, if the soil feels dry just 7 days after watering, go ahead and give it a drink of filtered water even though it is ahead of schedule. 

FAQs About String of Pearls

Why Are My String of Pearl Stems Drying Out?

string of pearl succulents
Dried-out String of Pearl stems are a symptom of dense soil. Succulents require well-drained sandy soil that encourages proper airflow to the roots. If the soil is not sandy or loose, it can become impacted and block oxygen from reaching the root system. 

Why Is My String of Pearl Growing Upwards?

A String of Pearls vine typically cascades elegantly downward when it is healthy. However, if the succulent is not receiving enough indirect sunlight, the vines may grow upward. Lack of sunshine can cause the vines to reach toward the sun – literally. Place the succulent in a sunny location where it will not have to reach toward the sky for nutrients. 

Why Are There Ants on My String of Pearls?

When given the opportunity, ants will make their homes in the dirt, regardless of any plants that may already be inhabiting it. A few ants will not cause any problems. Ants are a vital part of the ecosystem and their tunnels can provide increased airflow for succulents. 

However, if too many ants are living in the soil, you can use a gentle insecticide designed for houseplants or neem oil to repel ants and other insects. 

How to Make String of Pearls Look Fuller

A String of Pearls can be cultivated from cuttings. To make the succulent appear fuller, cut back the vines to their desired height. Place your cuttings in the soil at the top of the plant. After a few weeks, they should grow roots and produce more growing stems. This new growth will give the plant more fullness.

Summary

The String of Pearls is an elegant and aesthetically pleasing succulent that is easy to cultivate indoors. This plant requires well-drained soil, several hours of indirect sunlight each day, moderate watering, and gentle fertilizing during the growing season. Too much moisture, too little sunlight, or an insect infestation can cause white spots to appear on the succulent. 

If your String of Pearls is turning white, yellowing, wilting, or growing upward, these are indications that the succulent is lacking important nutrients. Observe the plant to determine what care adjustments should be made. 

Trim the vines and use the cuttings to grow new shoots. With the proper care and cultivation, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of a healthy String of Pearls for several growing seasons.