The string of pearls is a flowering succulent, and succulents have different soil requirements than most plants. There are many factors to consider while choosing the right soil mix for your string of pearls. With that in mind let’s find out what kind of soil does string of pearls needs?
The string of pearls needs well-draining soil that does not retain water for long. Any cactus mix will be ideal for your string of pearls, but it is preferred to use sandy soil for excellent growth. Experts recommend using well-draining and well-aerated soil to replicates their natural environment.
What you should not do is use regular potting soil. Many beginners make the mistake of using regular potting soil, but that does not work well for this plant. Regular potting soil tends to retain water that might keep the roots wet for longer than required.
We will go through all the details about the soil requirements of your string of pearls so that you don’t end up making any mistakes.
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Why do you need to choose the right soil for your string of pearls?
Plants get their water and nutrients from the soil, and using the wrong soil mix can be detrimental to their health.
While choosing the right soil mix for your string of pearls, keep in mind the following aspects.
- The soil should provide the required nutrients to the plant.
- The soil should be able to hold the required moisture and drain out the excess water.
- The soil should be well aerated and let air pass through its pores that will help to keep the roots healthy.
Signs that indicate that you are using the wrong soil mix
Plants have various ways to show signs whenever there is any problem. If you are using the wrong soil mix, the plant will show some of the below-mentioned problems.
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If you are using the wrong soil mix, it will retain water, due to which the leaves will burst from not being able to handle so much water.
Even when you provide appropriate water, the wrong soil mix will create an environment that matches overwatering, thus causing shriveled leaves.
Falling leaves are an indication of root rot. Root rot can happen when your string of pearls sit on water for too long, and the roots start rotting.
When you are using the wrong soil mix, it will hold too much water, due to which root rot can happen.
Dried up plant
If you use a soil mix that is not ideal for your string of pearls, the soil can become water-resistant.
If the soil becomes water-resistant, it will not absorb the water, and the plant will not get enough moisture, due to which it will dry up.
What soil is best for string of pearls?
Unlike most other houseplants, the string of pearls comes from dry regions of South Africa where they get much less rain which has made them drought-resistant, and the quality of the soil is also poor.
Using a soil mix similar to the natural environment of the plants helps them thrive even when grown as indoor plants.
Due to the string of pearl’s drought-resistant nature, it does not like to sit on the water. Letting it sit on excess water can cause root rot.
So, the very first factor to consider is well drainage and how fast the water can drain away from the soil.
Whenever you water your string of pearls, excess water should come out from the bottom of the pot with the help of the drainage holes.
The soil should let air flow inside it. A soil that promotes good airflow allows the extra water to drain away and keeps the roots healthy.
Best soil mix for string of pearls
Now that you know what kind of soil is best for your string of pearls let’s check out how you can create the best soil mix for it.
There are many soil recipes, and you can choose from any one of these and create your customized soil mix. Or you can get one that is already available in the market.
- Organic cactus and succulent soil mix
- Professionally formulated for use with both jungle and desert cacti
- Provides the drainage cacti need to flourish; ready to use; pH balanced
- Complete package directions provide useful growing information
- This product measures 4 quarts
If you already have cactus and succulent mix, you can use that along with perlite to improve the drainage.
You can use:
- One part cactus mix
- One part perlite
Mix these ingredients well. This soil mix will help both drainage and aeration in the soil.
Many plant owners recommend using sandy soil. You can create such soil mix by adding the cactus mix to coarse sand.
- Two parts cactus mix
- One part coarse sand
Adding something like pumice to the cactus soil can help the water drain out fast, as that is what you need for the string of pearls.
Pumice works as a substitute for perlite, and it is ideal for maintaining the structure of the soil. Start by trying this:
- 75% cactus mix
- 25% pumice
Adding pumice allows more aeration by making the soil chunky and well-draining.
If you don’t have cactus mix handy, you can use this recipe to create the ideal soil mix for your string of pearls.
- Two parts potting soil
- One part perlite
- One part grit
Mix these components along with a little bit of water. Add it to the pot after making sure that the composition is not wet.
Let’s understand the benefits of the ingredients.
Potting soil: Using potting soil can work as a good base for your string of pearls. You should not use compost as that will not work well for this plant. Using organic potting soil that has peat moss, bark will add nutrition to the plant.
Perlite: Perlite is a type of volcanic glass that contains large particles that create air pockets in the soil and promote better airflow.
Grit: Grit not only helps in the drainage but also helps improve the soil structure.
Does string of pearls like acidic soil?
The string of pearls can tolerate different pH levels, ranging from neutral to acidic. The ideal pH for them ranges between 6.6 to 7.5.
The string of pearls is not very picky in terms of pH levels, but you need to maintain a pH level of at least 6.6 for the optimum growth of this plant.
Any pH level below 6.6 will be too acidic for the string of pearls and can even burn the roots.
When should I repot my string of pearls?
The string of pearls doesn’t need repotting often. These plants can go without repotting for a long time.
You should consider repotting if you notice any of the following issues:
- Rootbound plant
- Pest infestation
- Thick and bushy plant
- Slow growth
- Root rot
A rootbound plant cannot absorb moisture and water from its roots, and the roots grow too big for the current pot and have no space for movement or action.
You need to take the plant out of its current pot and check if the roots or if you notice that the roots are coming out of the drainage holes from the bottom of the pot, you know you have a rootbound plant.
When a pest infests your plant, the only way to get rid of all the pests is to repot the string of pearls.
Even when you treat the pests, the soil can have infections that can lead to pest infestation or the spread of fungal or bacterial infections.
When you have a thick and bushy plant, it will not have enough space to grow, and to give it more room for growth; you need to repot it in a larger pot.
Slow growth is a result of a rootbound plant. If you are using the wrong soil mix that does not provide sufficient nutrients to the plant, you will notice slow growth.
In both cases, if you repot the plant, it will get a fresh soil mix and more space that will replenish the nutrients in the soil and help the plant to grow again.
Repotting is the easiest and only way to treat root rot. Overwatering causes root rot. When the plant sits on the water for too long, the soil becomes mushy and starts rotting.
It is a severe disease in plants, and you need to get rid of the damaged parts and repot the plant in a new pot using a fresh soil mix.
What kind of pot to use for string of pearls?
When repotting your string of pearls, you should always choose a pot bigger than the current pot.
Make sure that you only go one size up. Choosing a pot that is a lot bigger than the current one will store more water and will have more chances of root rot.
Using terracotta pots would be very beneficial to the health of your string of pearls. These pots let the air pass from outside to the soil and vice versa that helps to keep the roots healthy.
The string of pearls is a succulent vine, so it needs space to trail the stems. Make sure to choose a spot that allows it to trail off its branches.
One of the most important factors while choosing the right pot is, it should have drainage holes that will let the excess water drain out of the system.
If the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, you can make the drainage holes by making holes at the bottom of the pot.
Also read: What happens if you put a plant in too big of a pot?
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How to repot a string of pearls?
Repotting should always be done during the growing season when the plant can adjust to the changes with more ease. Consider repotting your string of pearls during the summer or spring season.
Avoid repotting during the winter as that is the dormant period for the plant, and the plant can go into shock or have stress due to the transplantation.
Let’s take a look at how we can repot a string of pearls.
- Choose a pot that is one size larger than the previous pot. Make sure that it has suitable drainage holes.
- Prepare a fresh soil mix by using any of the recipes mentioned above.
- Put some soil in the pot and prepare the base to place your string of pearls.
- Please take all the plant’s trailing stems and place them together to keep them out of the way.
- You need to lift the plant out of the pot very gently so that the roots don’t suffer any damage.
- In the case of a rootbound plant, trim the roots to encourage new growth. Also, prune all the damaged parts of the plant.
- Place the plant inside the pot. Add some soil on all sides to ensure that the plant is placed tightly inside the pot.
- Water the plant thoroughly till the water starts draining out of the drainage holes. It will save the plant from stress or shock.
To sum everything up, a string of pearls is a succulent that needs well-draining soil that can drain excess water fast and provide aeration to the soil to keep the roots healthy.
You can use a succulent or cactus mix and add some perlite or pumice to enhance the drainage capacity of the soil. If you don’t have a cactus mix, you can customize and create a soil mix that fits your string of pearls.
You can mix one part cactus mix and one part perlite and use it as the soil mix for your plant. It will be a suitable soil for your string of pearls that will provide the required nutrients and allow the excess water to drain away.
Repot the plant whenever you notice slow growth, rootbound plant, or root rot. Repotting should be done during the growing season and water thoroughly after repotting so that the plant can settle in and not have any stress.
Ref: Wikipedia, Missouri Botanical Garden, University of Wisconsin.
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