The string of pearls (Curio rowleyanus) is succulent with beautiful pearl-shaped leaves that look stunning when placed in a hanging basket. Understanding the plant’s water requirements is vital for the plant owners as overwatering or underwatering are some of the most common problems that can wilt your string of pearls. But how often should you water your string of pearls?
It would be best if you watered your string of pearls once in 10-14 days but make sure you check the soil before watering the plant. Let the top 2 inches of soil dry out before watering. While watering your string of pearls, soak the soil entirely so that every root gets its fair share of watering.
Strings of pearls are succulents, so they require less water. These plants store water and can survive without water for long periods. Overwatering can be fatal, especially if you don’t diagnose the problem at an early stage. Ensure that you are not overwatering the plant and check the soil before watering them to prevent any possible problems.
The watering schedule should depend upon other external factors such as light, season, temperature, etc. You need not feel overwhelmed, as this article will clear all your doubts regarding watering the string of pearls.
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When to water string of pearls?
Since strings of pearls are succulents and tolerant to drought, they require less water that can go a long way.
There is no fixed routine as to when you should water your string of pearls. It depends on many external factors, climate, and seasons.
During the summer months, the weather conditions remain warm, and the Sun shines bright, so the soil dries fast.
If your string of pearls is getting sufficient light throughout the day, it will need water once every 7 to 10 days.
The frequency of watering the string of pearls remains the highest during the summer months.
However, you should avoid following any fixed routine because that can lead to overwatering, one of the most severe conditions leading to further problems.
If you are uncertain of the amount of water you need to give the plant, start by watering less and pay attention to how your plant reacts. You can increase the watering as needed.
Avoid going overboard with watering as it is always better to underwater and adjust gradually than overwatering and inviting diseases to the plant.
During the winter, the Sun’s rays become mild, and it takes time for the soil to become dry. The string of pearls can also become dormant during this season.
The water requirements of the plant reduce during the winter months. Therefore, you need to cut down on the watering to adjust to this season.
You can water this succulent every two to three weeks or once a month.
Checking the soil’s moisture is one of the easiest ways to understand if your plant needs water.
You can place your finger inside the soil to check how the soil feels.
If it feels moist or wet, you can wait till it feels dry, and then you can consider watering your plant. If you use a moisture meter to check the moisture of the soil, that will be helpful.
How do I know if my string of pearls needs water?
Plants have different ways to tell you that they need water. Some plants show droopy leaves, whereas some plants shrivel.
Some of the other signs that indicate a thirsty string of pearls are:
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These plants store moisture in their pearls that help them to sustain themselves during drought. When the plants don’t get enough water, they use the moisture stored in the pearls, due to which they shrivel.
You need to keep a check on the leaves or pearls of your string of pearls. If you notice that the pearls have started shriveling, you should understand that the plant is thirsty and needs water.
Many strings of pearls owners have reported that their plant feels sticky when it is thirsty.
Upon touching, if the texture of the string of pearls feels slightly sticky, you should consider watering the plant.
Erratic watering causes brown leaves in a string of pearls. If you let the soil get bone dry, it will become water-resistant.
The next time you water the plant, the soil will not be able to absorb it. Therefore, the roots will remain deprived of water. The plant will use up the water stored in the leaves and become brown.
Avoid erratic watering and try to water the string of pearls more regularly after checking its water requirements.
How much water does a string of pearls need?
Water the string of pearls depending upon the size of the plant. There are no rules, but the idea is to start slow and give the plant less water until you understand the correct amount.
It is crucial to thoroughly water your string of pearls so that every root gets its fair share of water. However, make sure there are enough drainage holes so that excess water can flow out quickly.
Remember the following points when watering your string of pearls:
- Never water the plant when it is under direct sunlight as it can have adverse effects on the plant.
- Ensure that you are watering evenly on all sides so that the water spreads thoroughly inside the pot.
- Ensure proper drainage of water from the drainage holes.
Always water after checking the moisture of the soil.
How do you water a string of pearls?
Remember to water the plant generously so that the excess water starts drains out of the drainage holes. It helps the water to reach all parts of the plant, especially the roots.
In their native land, the strings of pearls are subject to heavy rainfall followed by drought. When you water the string of pearls generously and set it aside to get dry, it matches the natural environment of these plants.
It is best to water your string of pearls generously and not frequently. Frequent watering can cause root rot as these plants don’t need much water.
Always water the base of the plant first. When you water from the top, the water makes the leaves wet. Therefore, the plant is unable to perform transpiration properly to regulate the moisture balance in its pearls.
Avoid watering during the night as the soil will remain wet for long and can cause root rot. Watering in the morning helps the leaves to balance the moisture and use the water efficiently.
Factors affecting the needs of water of your string of pearls
The water requirements of your string of pearls can depend on various factors. You need to adjust the watering frequency based on these conditions.
Let’s look at the factors in detail.
Strings of pearls need a combination of direct and indirect light. They need it for at least six to eight hours every day.
If you provide sufficient light to your string of pearls, it will need more water as the soil will dry up quickly and along with the excess water.
However, if you keep the plant under low-light conditions, it will not require as much water as the soil will take time to get dry.
Avoid watering too much when the plant is not getting enough light as it will create an environment similar to when the plant is overwatered. It can lead to root rot and other diseases in your string of pearls.
Changes in the temperature can affect the water requirements of the string of pearls.
The strings of pearls do well between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the cooler months. They need temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the warm months of the year.
The soil will take a longer time to dry up when the temperatures are low; therefore, the plant will need less water.
When the temperatures are high, the soil will dry faster, due to which the plant will need more water.
Humidity is not a very important factor, but drastic changes in the humidity level can affect plants’ watering needs.
A string of pearls does well in average humidity levels that don’t go below 50%.
When the humidity level goes high, the water requirements of the plants go down as the soil tends to retain moisture and takes time to get dry.
Soil is an important factor as we mainly refer to water drainage from the soil to understand when the plant needs the next round of watering.
Since the strings of pearls are succulents, they will do well in a cactus mix. You can prepare the cactus mix or buy the ones that are available in the market.
But you should not use regular potting soil as that is heavy and will not support well drainage. The string of pearls needs well-draining soil that won’t take a lot of time to get dry.
If you use a regular potting mix, change it to a cactus mix or any well-draining soil to allow proper drainage.
Season plays a vital role in determining how much water your string of pearls will need.
During the summer months, the temperatures remain high, and you need to water the plant at the regular rate, which is once in 7-10 days.
Whereas in winter, the temperatures remain low, which reduces the rate of transpiration in plants. Therefore, the water requirements naturally go down during the winter months.
Proper drainage system
Besides well-draining soil, you need to make sure that the soil is not tightly packed. Having a lot of space inside the soil allows both the water and air to move freely.
A tightly-packed soil will retain water and will not allow it to pass out quickly.
While choosing a pot for your string of pearls, make sure that it has suitable drainage holes. It will allow excess water to drain out of the system.
Good drainage is essential as you don’t want the plant to sit on water which can cause root rot.
Size of the pot
If the string of pearls is in a large pot, the pot will need more soil and more water. The water requirement will be more compared to a smaller pot.
Having a bigger pot helps the plant to grow freely but increases the chances of root rot. In comparison, a compact pot reduces the chances of root rot.
What does an underwatered string of pearls look like?
Strings of pearls are succulents that don’t need a lot of water. However, if you are watering the plant just once a month, you are underwatering it.
An underwatered string of pearls will show these signs:
- Drying leaves or pearls
- Dry soil
- Leaves turn brown
If you have an underwatered string of pearls, you need to increase the amount of water you give or increase the frequency.
If you notice any signs mentioned earlier, give the plant a good soak until the excess water drains out of the drainage holes.
You should start watering your string of pearls once every 7 to 10 days if it is summer or every 3 to 4 weeks in winter.
Don’t let the soil get bone dry, as that will affect the leaves and make them look dull and shriveled.
Signs of overwatered string of pearls
Overwatering is a severe problem, and if you doubt that you have an overwatered string of pearls, you should act fast and try to fix the issue.
You can see these signs in the case of an overwatered plant:
- Root rot
- Yellow leaves
- Brown leaves
To save an overwatered string of pearls, you need to take the plant out of the pot and check the roots.
Prune the damaged roots and stems and repot the plant using well-draining soil and a pot with suitable drainage holes.
Stop watering for some time and let the plant recover.
The water requirement of the string of pearls depends on various factors that include climatic condition, soil, season, temperature, humidity, etc.
The key is to always check the soil’s moisture before watering the plant and never let the soil get extremely dry, as that will make it water-resistant.
Beginners should start by watering the plant less and then adjusting as per the requirement of the plant. Avoid overwatering the string of pearls as that can be dangerous for the plant.