Being succulent, the string of pearls survives in extreme conditions such as droughts. These plants may not be demanding but ignoring the plants for long can cause lead to several issues. Fertilizing is a vital requirement for all plants as fertilizers add nutrition to the soil that helps in their growth. But do string of pearls need fertilizer? How often? Let’s find out.
As a general rule, you should fertilize your string of pearls with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength once a month during the growing season. However, you must avoid fertilizing during the winter months as these plants become dormant and don’t need fertilizers in winter.
People new to indoor gardening make the mistake of giving too much or too little fertilizer to the string of pearls. But not anymore! We are here to help you understand all the aspects of fertilizing your string of pearls.
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Does string of pearls need fertilizer?
The string of pearls can do without fertilizers, and many plant owners report that they don’t use fertilizers for their string of pearls but if you want to see robust in your plant, fertilizing is a good idea.
Fertilizing your sring of pearls during the growing season can add micronutrients and macronutrients to the soil, which are very beneficial for the plant.
Nature adds the lost nutrients to the soil in their natural habitat, so the soil gets fertilized naturally. But if you don’t fertilize the string of pearls, the soil will keep losing nutrients over time, and the plant will become weak due to lack of nutrients.
The fertilizers also contain essential vitamins for the growth and overall health of the string of pearls.
So, if you are contemplating whether you should add fertilizers to your spring of pearls, we recommend it. Other than the growth and health of the plant, the fertilizers will also help the plant fight diseases and other problems.
If you do not provide sufficient fertilizer to your string of pearls, you might notice the following issues.
- Slow growth
- Weak roots
- Leggy growth
These problems can often occur due to a lack of nutrients. In such cases, you need to add fertilizers that can provide proper nutrients to the plant.
What can I feed string of pearls?
Choosing the correct fertilizer for your string of pearls can be daunting, but we are here to help you.
Before we suggest any fertilizer, you must understand what to look for in the fertilizer for your string of pearls.
Fertilizers contain vital micronutrients and macronutrients that play an essential role in providing nutrients to the soil.
Fertilizers contain powerful micronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. All fertilizers come with these, and you can check the ratio of these micronutrients on the label.
Using a fertilizer that has a balanced NPK ratio of 10:10:10 is ideal for these plants. If you are using a stronger 20:20:20 fertilizer, make sure to dilute it and then apply it to your plants.
You should not use slow-release fertilizers for your string of pearls as they can be too harsh for these succulents.
Let’s understand how the micronutrients help plants.
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Nitrogen helps in the process of photosynthesis by breaking the protein down. It also contributes to the other functions of the plant.
Lack of nitrogen can cause slow growth, yellow leaves, and older leaves falling from the plant.
Phosphorus helps in the growth of the roots along with improving the immunity of the plant. Phosphorus contributes to the cell division process and helps to transfer energy to various parts of the plant.
Phosphorus deficiency can lead to slow and stunted growth in plants.
Besides helping the plants in photosynthesis, potassium encourages root growth and builds cellulose.
Lack of potassium affects the new leaves, and the leaves turn yellow and fall off the plant. The root system gets affected and causes slow growth in the roots.
What fertilizer to use for string of pearls?
There are various types of fertilizers for you to choose from. Different fertilizers have different application methods. Make sure to check the labels and apply them according to the instructions.
Let’s check out a few types of fertilizers that are available.
Liquid fertilizers: Liquid fertilizers are the best fertilizers that are easy to apply and don’t take time. These fertilizers should be diluted in water and then applied to the string of pearls so that the plant can better absorb the nutrients.
Liquid fertilizers are light on the roots and get evenly distributed in the soil whenever you water the plant. You don’t need to apply a lot of it as strings of pearls are not heavy feeders.
Manure tea: If you want to avoid chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, you should try manure tea as this is organic. You can prepare manure tea or purchase ones that are available in the market.
To prepare manure tea, you need to seep manure in water and then ferment and cure it. It can take 24-36 hours to prepare this. After all the processes are complete, you need to store the product in small sacks.
You need to seep these bags in the water and give it to the string of pearls while watering.
Granular fertilizers: Granular fertilizers need to be handled with care in the case of indoor plants. You can mix it in the soil or sprinkle it on top of the soil and water the plant.
Make sure that the fertilizer is getting spread in the soil. Watering after adding these fertilizers helps to activate those.
These are cheap, and you can store them for a long time without any worry. When you sprinkle these on top of the soil, make sure to keep the layer light.
If you don’t have any fertilizer handy, you can use any of these to supplement fertilizers.
Charcoal: This might not be fertilizer in itself, but adding charcoal to the soil can help your string of pearls in various ways. It lowers carbon dioxide, encourages root growth, and helps improve the airflow and drainage system.
You should add charcoal if your pot doesn’t have drainage holes, as this will help control the moisture.
Eggshells: Eggshells are very easy to use. You need to wash the eggshells well and make sure it doesn’t have yolk left in it. After that, you can sprinkle it on the soil or crush them and mix it in the soil.
Eggshells add calcium and potassium to the soil that is beneficial for both the soil and the roots.
Epsom salt: Epsom salt encourages growth and helps in the creation of chlorophylls. You can add one tablespoon of Epsom salt to one gallon of water and apply the mixture to the string of pearls. Using this mixture once a month will be sufficient for the plant.
Do string of pearls like coffee grounds?
Coffee grounds can be very beneficial if used in the right way. On the other hand, it can be hazardous for the plant due to its acidic nature and can hamper the soil quality when misused.
Adding coffee grounds directly to the soil is not a good way of using it. This method can be very harmful to your string of pearls.
But since coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and plants need a lot of nitrogen, many people want to use coffee grounds on their string of pearls.
There are different ways of using coffee grounds. Let’s discuss some.
- Add coffee grounds to your compost. Composting will help to break down the coffee grounds and reduce their adverse effects. Adding coffee grounds will add nutrients when you add the compost to the string of pearls.
- You can soak the coffee grounds in water for one or two weeks and stir the water every few days. When the coffee breaks down, the nutrients will get mixed in the water. You can apply that as liquid fertilizer.
- You can prepare mulch by adding organic matter such as leaves or wood chips and a handful of coffee grounds and then apply it to the soil.
When to fertilize string of pearls?
There is a divided opinion on when you should fertilize your string of pearls. But in general, you should fertilize the string of pearls at least once every year. It will help to revive the lost nutrients and improve the growth of roots and the plant.
Since strings of pearls are succulents, they don’t need a lot of fertilizers. However, many plant owners state that they like to fertilize their string of pearls more often during the summer and spring months when the plant is growing.
Avoid fertilizing during the winter months as the plant goes into dormancy and doesn’t require fertilizer during the winter months.
How often to fertilize string of pearls?
The string of pearls is succulent and needs less fertilizer than most of the plants. The reason is that this plant is native to dry regions of South Africa, where the soil quality is poor, and there is very little rainfall.
Many people don’t fertilize their string of pearls at all, but adding a little fertilizer can make a lot of difference to the growth and health of your string of pearls.
Make sure that you are not using large quantities of fertilizers, as that can burn the roots and kill the plant.
Use an excellent diluted liquid fertilizer rich in nutrients and minerals, and apply that to the plant during the summer and spring seasons. Consider fertilizing your string of pearls at least once or twice during the growing season.
What happens when you over-fertilize your string of pearls?
Over-fertilizing is one thing that you should avoid, mainly because these plants are light feeders, and too much fertilizer can be hazardous for their health.
If you have over-fertilized your string of pearls, you will see these signs:
- Stunted growth
- Burnt roots
- Brown foliage
- Weak plant
Over-fertilization affects the roots and makes the plant weak, and that attracts more diseases.
How to fix an over-fertilized plant?
Overfertilized string of pearls develops a weak root system, and the plant might even die if you don’t treat it on time. Here are some ways of fixing this problem.
- Take out the plant from the pot and check if there is any problem with the plant.
- In case of damages, get rid of the damaged leaves and roots by pruning them.
- If you notice any salt build-up on the soil, scrape out the topsoil and get rid of it.
- Soak the remaining soil with water thoroughly. Repeat this many times to get rid of the fertilizer from the soil.
- If nothing helps, you need to repot the plant using fresh soil in a new pot.
What happens when you under-fertilize your string of pearls?
Fertilizing the string of pearls helps the plant to grow fast and remain healthy and strong. Lack of fertilizers will give rise to various problems. Some of these are:
- Slow growth
- Leggy growth
- Breakage of stems
To avoid these problems, you need to fertilize your string of pearls during the growing months.
Even though strings of pearls don’t need much fertilizer, you should still fertilize the string of pearls at least once or twice during the growing season, which is the summer and spring months.
Avoid fertilizing during the winter months as the plant remains dormant during that time, and the unused fertilizer can burn the roots of the plant.
The strings of pearls are light feeders, so use a diluted liquid fertilizer that is nutrient-rich and well-balanced so that the plant can get the most benefits from it.