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Can String Of Pearls Be Root Bound? (+When To Repot)

Root-bound is a condition where the roots outgrow the pot, and the pot has no space for further growth. Many plant owners like to make the plants root bound to force them to bloom. We are going to find out if the string of pearls enjoys being root bound or not.

The string of pearls doesn’t like to be root bound. Rootbound is a condition where the roots of the plants have no more space to grow and expand. That hinders the growth of your string of pearls and can lead to droopy leaves and a lack of oxygen and water supply in the plant.

The string of pearls has a shallow root system that does not become root-bound fast. The plant takes time to grow long roots and does not require frequent repotting.

However, the string of pearls can become root bound when they outgrow their current pot. If you can see the roots coming out of the drainage holes or the plant’s growth has slowed down, it might be the right time to repot the string of pearls.

If you wonder how to fix your root-bound string of pearls or when it is the right time to repot it, you are at the right place. We will discuss these in detail here.


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Can a string of pearls be root bound?

In their natural habitat, all the plants get enough space to grow their roots. But when they are in a pot, the roots have limited space and they can get root-bounded whenever they grow too long.

If the string of pearls is in a smaller pot or outgrows the current pot, it will become root-bound. It will cause slow growth and can make the plant weak if you don’t repot it.

Strings of pearls can take time to become root-bound, but they will not enjoy being root-bound as they will feel restricted.

If you have a root-bound plant, you will notice the following scenarios:

  1. The roots will start putting pressure on the pot due to lack of space, and the pot might break.
  2. The roots will not have sufficient room for growth.
  3. The roots will displace the soil.

Whenever your string of pearls is root-bound, it will lack water and nutrition.

The roots displace the soil and are not able to absorb as much water and nutrients anymore. The plant becomes weak, and it becomes prone to various other diseases.

If you don’t do anything about it, your plant can eventually die.

Do strings of pearls like small pots?

Most plants don’t like to be root-bound as they feel restricted, the roots can’t grow freely, and they don’t get sufficient nutrition.

The string of pearls plants are succulents with a shallow root system, so they don’t need a deep or large pot, but you should not keep them in a small pot.

In the case of a small pot, the plant will not just feel restricted, but the roots might also break the pot. If you want a healthy plant, you should choose the correct size pot for it.

Also read: What Happens If You Put A Plant in A Pot Too Big?

How to tell if a string of pearls is root-bound?

If you want to check if the string of pearls is root-bound, you need to keep your eyes out for the signs that the plant is giving out.

And you need to take the plant out of the pot and check the roots to understand if your plant is root-bound.



Signs of a root-bound string of pearls

Roots coming out of drainage holes

If you have a root-bound plant, your plant will lose its health and show the following signs.

  • Roots coming out of the drainage holes
  • Spiraling roots around the pot
  • Stunted growth
  • Yellow or shriveling pearls
  • Water draining too fast
  • Soil dries quickly
  • Dehydrated appearance

These signs can often relate to other problems in your string of pearls, but if your plant does not have any other problem, you should check its roots to see if it is root-bound.

How to check the roots of the string of pearls?

Go through the following steps to understand how to check the roots of the string of pearls.

  1. Collect all the plant stems and put them aside so that they stay out of the way.
  2. Take the plant out of its pot. Be gentle as the strings of pearls are delicate plants.
  3. Run a knife along the pot’s edges if the plant is stuck and doesn’t come out quickly.
  4. Check the plant’s roots to see if there is any problem after taking the plant out of the pot.

If the roots of your string of pearls are tangled around the soil and have taken up most of the soil of the pot, you know you have a root-bound plant.

There are different stages of a root-bound plant. If you notice that the roots have started wrapping around the root ball, it is just the initial stage of a root-bound plant.

Whereas, if the roots have started forming mats around the root ball, the plant is root-bound, and in case you cannot see any soil due to the mat, the plant is severely root-bound.

If you notice that the plant is severely root-bound, it needs repotting as soon as possible.

How to fix a root-bound string of pearls?

Once you know you have a root-bound string of pearls, you will need to fix the issue. There are two ways to do it. 

  1. You can repot your string of pearls
  2. Propagate the plant

Repotting is the suggested way to eliminate a root-bound string of pearls but propagating is another way to deal with this problem.

Let’s look at the methods to fix a root-bound string of pearls.

Repotting a string of pearls

How and When to Repot Senecio String of Pearls

The string of pearls doesn’t need repotting frequently, but it needs repotting, especially when it gets root-bound.

Using one size bigger pot allows the plant to have more space for growth.

Adding new soil mix also helps replenish the lost nutrients and helps the plant absorb water and nutrients from the soil.

It would help prepare a new soil mix, get a new pot or container and keep some sterilized pruners to clip off the damaged parts of the plant.

Here are the ways with which you can repot a string of pearls.

  1. Choose a pot that is one size bigger than the previous one to get enough space for growth.
  2. Take the string of pearls out of its current pot. Be gentle as any damage can be harmful to the plant.
  3. Remove the soil from the roots.
  4. Check the roots and prune any damaged part that you notice on the roots.
  5. Take the new soil mix you had prepared and fill 1/3rd of the pot with it.
  6. Place the plant and add soil on all sides of the plant to have no air pockets.
  7. Water the plant after repotting to help it settle down.

The string of pearls doesn’t need frequent repotting, so once you have repotted it, you don’t need to worry about repotting it for a few years.

Propagating a string of pearls

How to Propagate Senecio String of Pearls!

If your string of pearls has become too bulky and thick, propagating them would be a good idea as you will not need a bigger pot for that.

You can get two plants out of one and maintain the same size if you don’t want to move a size bigger.

Here are the steps of propagating a string of pearls.

  1. You can take stem cuttings from below a leaf node and set them aside for a few days.
  2. Fill a new pot with succulent or cactus mix.
  3. Take the cuttings, place them on the soil, and put a few leaf nodes inside the soil.
  4. Getting the roots out can take a lot of time. Make sure to provide sufficient water and light to the cuttings.

Soon you will notice that the cuttings will start growing new stems and fill the pot with new ones.

How do you know when to repot string of pearls?

The strings of pearls are succulents with a shallow root system, so they take time to grow and fill the pot.

You should avoid repotting these succulents frequently as that can disturb the growth of the roots and the plant.

You can check your string of pearls and inspect its root system every year. You can consider repotting if you notice that the plant has become root-bound.

You should repot the plant during the growing season, such as summer or spring, as they become dormant during the winter.

Best soil and pot for a string of pearls

Choosing the wrong soil can cause various problems in your string of pearls, so you should always choose the right kind of soil.

When you use the correct soil, it will add all the required nutrients and help the plant grow fast.

The string of pearls needs well-draining soil as it doesn’t like to sit on the water. You can get a good cactus mix from the market or prepare a well-draining soil mix for your string of pearls.

If you don’t have a cactus mix in hand, You can mix the following ingredients to create a well-draining soil that adds nutrition to your string of pearls. Add some water to make the potting mix a little moist.

This soil will add enough nutrients to your string of pearls and allow good aeration, beneficial for the root system.

Along with the soil, choosing the right pot is vital for the health and growth of the plant. If you are repotting, you should use a pot one size bigger than the current pot.

Using a bigger pot will retain more water than needed, which is not ideal for these plants.

The string of pearls needs good aeration, so you should use terracotta pots that allow oxygen to pass between the air and the pot.

You should avoid using plastic and metal pots as those can cause problems such as overwatering.

Also read: What Kind Of Soil Does String Of Pearls Need?


If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


Final thoughts

The string of pearls doesn’t need frequent repotting as they have a shallow root system and take time to grow. However, you should check the plant’s roots every year to find out if the plant is root-bound or not.

It would be best to consider repotting the string of pearls depending on whether your plant is root-bound.

If the roots start replacing the soil, and there isn’t much space for the roots to grow then, you should repot the string of pearls.


Ref: WikipediaMissouri Botanical GardenUniversity of Wisconsin.