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Why Is My String Of Pearls Getting Mushy? (Causes+What To Do)

The string of pearls plant is famous for its pearl-shaped leaves that hold water in them to help the plant survive extreme conditions. But what if those leaves become mushy? Why is your string of pearls getting mushy? Let’s find out!

Overwatering is the primary reason that leads to mushy leaves in the string of pearls. Overwatering causes root rot; as a result, the plant is unable to absorb any nutrition, which makes the leaves weak and soft. Inadequate fertilizing and poor lighting can also lead to mushy leaves.

It is not easy to figure out the cause behind any problem found in the plant. You have to consider all the possibilities and proceed with inspecting the plant after that.

We have listed some possibilities that might be the reason behind mushy leaves on the string of pearls. Let’s get into the details now.


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Why are my string of pearls mushy?

Various reasons can lead to mushy leaves in your string of pearls. It is a sign that something is wrong or missing, and you need to find that to fix that.

Let’s check out the reasons that lead to mushy leaves on your string of pearls, and we will also find out the solutions.

  • Overwatering or underwatering
  • Insufficient light
  • Lack of nutrients
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Wrong pot size

Watering Issues

The string of pearls leaves will become mushy if you give it excess or less water.

The string of pearls doesn’t require a lot of water. However, if you water it like your other houseplants, the soil will retain excess moisture. If this goes on for some time, the plant will have root rot.

When the roots remain wet for a longer period, it becomes mushy and loses the ability to absorb nutrition from the soil. As a result, the leaves become soft and turn yellow or brown.

The roots can’t function if there is root rot, so the leaves don’t get enough water or nutrition. Other than the mushy leaves, the plant becomes weak and fails to perform regular activities such as photosynthesis.

Overwatering is more common in a string of pearls than underwater, but even the latter can harm the plant. It is true that the string of pearls can survive droughts but not giving it water for days will make it sick.

An underwatered string of pearls will become dehydrated as it uses up all the water that it stores in the leaves. As a result, the plant’s leaves become mushy due to water loss and lack of moisture.

Solution

Proper watering is the key to a healthy and thriving plant. So, if you are either overwatering or underwatering your string of pearls, stop and evaluate.

Keep a check on the drainage holes of the pot. If the holes are blocked, they will hold too much water that will lead to mushy leaves.

Tips to fix watering:

  1. Check the soil of your string of pearls and water only if the soil feels dry.
  2. Avoid misting the plant and water it thoroughly when the soil is dry. 
  3. Make sure that excess water gets drained out from the drainage holes.
  4. Empty the tray placed under the pot whenever it collects some water.
  5. If you have an overwatered plant, keep it under bright and indirect sunlight and avoid watering till the soil gets dry.
  6. To check if the soil is dry, use a moisture meter that will show you the soil’s moisture level.
  7. If the condition is severe, the plant will need repotting. Take it out of the pot, eliminate the damaged parts, and repot using a new pot with fresh potting soil.

Also read: How Often Should You Water String Of Pearls?



Insufficient light

If the string of pearls doesn’t get enough light, it will affect the plant’s health. The light helps keep the stems and leaves firm, but the leaves can become mushy without light.

The string of pearls can tolerate low light, but a lack of light for an extended period will make the plant weak. The plant will fail to photosynthesize due to insufficient light, due to which it will lack nutrition and energy.

The leaves will therefore lose their health due to lack of photosynthesis and become mushy and weak.

Low light keeps the soil wet for long that can cause root rot.

Solution

The string of pearls needs six to eight hours of bright and indirect light to thrive. Therefore, being exposed to less light will cause problems in the plant.

If you are guilty of keeping your string of pearls in a low-light area, you need to start looking for a better spot for it.

If your plant needs more light but was placed in low light for a long time, it will get shocked if you relocate it immediately in a brighter spot. Instead, you should increase the light gradually to let the plant adjust itself.

If you don’t have a bright spot in your house, use artificial lights to make up for the shortage.

You can keep the string of pearls under direct sunlight during the morning when the light is mushy but let it be under indirect light for the rest of the day.

Keep the string of pearls away from any heating source as the leaves can get burned.

Also read: How Much Light Does String Of Pearls Need?

Lack of nutrients

Fertilizer is an essential element that helps the plant grow and remain nourished.

The soil loses its nutrients over time. The nutrients get washed out due to watering, and the quality of the soil deteriorates over time.

Fertilizers add the nutrition back to the soil that helps the plant remain nourished. However, if you don’t give enough fertilizer to your string of pearls, it will lack nutrition and will become weak and have slow growth.

The leaves will become mushy due to lack of nutrition and may end up falling from the stems.

Solution

Fertilize your string of pearls once or twice during the growing season as it is a light feeder and doesn’t require more than that.

Use a well-balanced dilute fertilizer(I Prefer miracle grow succulent food) on your string of pearls. Don’t forget to water the plant before fertilizing it. It will help the fertilizer to spread evenly.

Avoid fertilizing during the winter months.

Also read: Should You Fertilize String Of Pearls?

Temperature

Like most houseplants, the string of pearls doesn’t enjoy a sudden rise or fall in temperature.

The string of pearls is fond of average room temperatures. They thrive in temperatures above 70°F but can also do well between 50-60°F.

If you expose your string of pearls to the cold temperatures during winter, it will get shocked, due to which it can have unhealthy and mushy leaves.

It will help if you also are considerate while making any drastic change for the plant. If you plan to move it outdoors from indoors, you should do it gradually instead of suddenly.

Repotting during the winter can also shock the string of pearls due to the freezing temperatures.

Solution

If your string of pearls is stressed, it will give out signs through mushy leaves. You have to give the plant time to recover other than caring for it.

  • Check the temperature of the room with a thermometer.
  • Maintain an average room temperature during winter when the temperature drop. 
  • Place the plant away from the window to protect it from cold drafts and frost.
  • Don’t place the plant near the fireplace, furnace, or radiator, as the heat can burn the plant.
  • Avoid placing the plant outside in winter.

Also read: Where Should I Keep My String Of Pearls Plant?

Humidity

The string of pearls is not a big fan of high or low humidity. It requires average humidity levels of 40-50%. A slight variation is okay but a big difference in the humidity levels can be detrimental to the plant.

The humidity levels can drop below average in the colder months. If the plant is placed in a low humidity zone, it will become dry and will lose all the moisture due to which the leaves can become mushy.

Solution

When the humidity levels drop, you can relocate the plant. For example, if you placed your string of pearls in the living room or bedroom, you can move it to the bathroom or kitchen, provided the rooms get enough light.

You can consider purchasing a humidifier if you already don’t have one. Use it to increase the humidity inside the room.

Some other ways of increasing the humidity for your plant are using a pebble tray, grouping with other plants, or placing an aquarium near the plant.

Also read: Should you mist string of pearls?

Wrong pot size

Using a wrong-sized pot can be a reason behind the problems that your plant is having. This issue might get unnoticed very easily, but a wrong-sized pot can bring various problems along with it.

If you place your string of pearls in a small pot, the roots will get rootbound and will not absorb nutrients from the soil. A small pot also indicates that it will have less soil with fewer nutrients.

The plant’s growth will be affected. Due to lack of nutrition, the leaves will become mushy, and the plant will become weak.

And if you are using a large pot, it will contain more water, leading to root rot where the plant will lack nutrition. Also, the plant will focus its energy on growing the roots to fill the pot.

Solution

If you want a healthy string of pearls, you have to choose the right pot for it.

  • Avoid choosing an oversized or undersized pot for your string of pearls.
  • Repot your plant using the correct sized pot if you are using the wrong one.
  • Use a pot with sound drainage holes that allow excess water to pass out of the system.

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


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 Words

Let’s sum up all that we have discussed in this article so far.

  • Maintain a watering routine for your string of pearls but never water if the soil is still moist.
  • Allow six to eight hours of indirect light to your string of pearls on a regular basis.
  • Don’t forget to fertilize the plant once or twice during the growing months.
  • Maintain the temperature and humidity levels so that the plant doesn’t get stressed.
  • Keep the plant in the correct sized pot.

Ref: WikipediaMissouri Botanical GardenUniversity of Wisconsin.