Like any other succulent, string of pearls plant need well-drained soil to avoid overwatering. Choosing soil that drains well and container in which you grow this plant are two important steps to keep this plant happy.
Terracotta and unglazed ceramic pots will be able to drain excess water and absorb the excess moisture. It helps to avoid root rotting issues, which is common among houseplants.
String of pearls brings nice indoor jungle vibes to your living space with its iconic trailing stems. This gorgeous succulent is native to South African forest. Instead of trailing stems, in wild string of pearls grows as creeping mat covering rocky outcrops.
To grow happy and healthy string of pearls plant, you must replicate the identical environmental conditions found in Wild.
Soil is one of the essential elements to grow any plant. Opting for the perfect growing medium will help your succulent to thrive and bring aesthetic appeal to your space.
So, what kind of soil does this succulent need?
A well-drained soil that easily allows the water to pass through the drainage and at the same time retain moisture is the best soil for string of pearls.
Like other indoors plants, string of beads don’t like to stand in water. Excess water in the container will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.
Why it’s Importance to Use the Right Soil for Growing String of Pearls?
Soil is packed with minerals and organic matter.
Apart from stabilizing the plant, growing medium (soil) supplies nutrients to the plant.
Spaces among the soil particles allow the water and oxygen to circulate through roots and eventually help in the growth of plant. (Source)
Soil also benefits soil microbes that in-turn help the plant to reduce stress and gain organic matter.
Growing medium helps your plant to survive in hot temperatures and cold climates.
Choosing the right soil will help to retain moisture required for your string of pearls and drain excess water. It also holds the fertilizers so that the plant feed on them to thrive.
Signs Your Soil Mix is Unhealthy
Your string of pearls plant will show you below mentioned signs if you opted for wrong soil mix.
#1 Wrinkled Leaves
Choosing the wrong growing medium will lead to overwatering like situation in the container.
Tear-drop shaped foliage of this plant has ability to lock extra moisture by minimizing the area of the leaf surface exposed to drying forces like sun.
Wrong soil mix in the container retains extra water, thus resulting in shriveled leaves.
Also Read: How Long Can Peace Lilies Go Without Water?
#2 Falling Leaves
Overwatering leads to rotting of root.
If you see leaves are falling from your string of pearls, then probably root rot can be culprit behind this.
#3 Plant Drying
Not choosing the ideal soil for growing string of pearls plant, will fail to absorb the water. Thus the plant will dry up dying eventually.
Observe the newly potted for these signs to make sure your growing is perfect.
Also Read: Why Is My String of Pearls Plant Dying?
#4 Poor Growth
If you see wilted plant even after watering sufficiently, then the unhealthy soil in the container is responsible for this.
Best Soil for String of Pearls – 3 Potting Soil Recipes
This plant is native to South Africa and it is found in wild, where it gets indirect sunlight, rain water and abundant organic matter from dry leaves.
So, your potting soil mix must be effective enough to hold moisture, but at the same time easily drain excess water through the hole below the container.
This houseplant is a drought resistant plant. If you choose a soil mix that lock water, resulting in drenching the plant in water, it will cause root rot.
So, what kind of soil does string of pearls need?
Choose a well-drained soil that easily drains the water through drainage hole in the bottom of container.
Soil particles must have space between them, allowing easy air flow. This will help the root system to grow and can easily drain extra water locked beneath.
Ideal Potting Soil Mix for String of Pearls
- Garden soil – 2 parts
- Vermiculite or Perlite – 1 part
- Grit – 1 part
Use garden soil that includes organic matter like dry leaves and peat moss. Apart from just holding your houseplant string, this soil provides required nutrients that help the succulent to thrive.
Perlite or vermiculite can effectively retain required amount of water. Few gardening experts recommend perlite as it don’t retain extra water.
Grit is mixture crushed stones and sand that improves drainage of your potting soil.
- Garden soil – ¼
- Sand – ¼
- Vermicompost – ¼
- Perlite – ¼
Sand and perlite will help to drain water easily and at the same time retain moisture.
Vermicompost feed your string of pearls with required amount of nutrients that help in boosting plant growth; improve foliage color and growing root system.
- Compost – 1 part
- River Sand – 1 part
- Perlite & coco-peat – 1 part
Mix all ingredients and use it as a potting soil for your succulent.
As you can see there can be ‘n’ number of recipes. Common thing among them is, they provide aeration to drain extra water, retain moisture and include organic matter to thrive plant growth.
Instead of trying on your own, you can buy store available potting mix like organic cactus & succulent soil mix along with perlite.
Check this: Is Coconut Coir Good for Succulents?
Best Soil pH for Houseplants
Soil pH plays vital role in healthy growth of any houseplant. Choosing right pH soil will increase the ability of your plant to absorb the nutrients you supply through fertilizers.
If your soil pH doesn’t go well with the plant, it stunts the growth and fails to bloom.
Most houseplants prefer pH range between of 6.0 to 7.0. If your soil pH is acidic then you add wood ash to bring the pH of your container soil.
Also Read: Are Coffee Grounds Good for Monstera?
Does String of Pearls like Acidic Soil?
Not very acidic, not very alkaline, string of pearls plant prefers pH range of 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral range).
However, there are few plants that choose acidic soil with pH 4, also you’ve houseplants that does well in more alkaline soil with pH 10.
It’s better to test pH of your soil to determine if the soil is best for growing string of pearls. Wrong potting soil (pH) won’t kill your houseplant, but it negatively impacts the growth.
When to Repot String of Pearls?
If your plant has out grown the container, or it caused root bound. Meaning, your succulent roots formed a tangled mass leaving very little space for aeration.
It’s time to repot.
Else, the plant may dry and die eventually.
Repot your String of pearls before spring season starts.
Note: Choose the container with a drainage holes. Before adding potting soil to the pot, place charcoal beneath the pot. This will boost plant growth and at the same time protect it from harmful effect of pesticides.
Can I use coconut coir for string of pearls?
Yes, you can use coconut coir to propagate or grow string of pearls. It is among the viable options you have when it comes to choosing a growing medium for your succulent.
Coconut coir is commonly known as coconut fiber, making it a popular choice for planting since it retains moisture very well but also allows for good drainage.
Traditional soil has an eco-friendly replacement with this sustainable and organic option.
Can cocopeat be used for succulents?
You can use cocopeat as a growing medium to grow succulent plants, as coconut peat or cocopeat extracted from the husk of coconuts has myriad usages in gardening and horticulture.
Can string of pearls grow in perlite?
While String of Pearls may tolerate perlite as a growing medium, there are better options available.
However, due to the high demand for materials that can improve garden performance such as improved soil drainage & components for increasing aeration levels, perlite has become one of the top choices.
Succulent plants like cacti thrive in quick-draining soils while string of pearls have their own unique requirements
How to make potting soil mix for string of pearls at home?
You can make your own potting soil that can be used to grow almost all succulents. Initially, you must understand that succulents like string of pearls store extra moisture in leaves and they can tolerate drought.
If you don’t care to choose the best soil to grow string of pearls, their roots may subject to rot.
Mix garden soil with 1 part of perlite and compost. This simple potting soil mix recipe will allow nutrients to your string of hearts and drains excess moisture. At the same time it can retain moisture.
Above, I already listed few recipes you can check them too.
String of Pearls Plant Care Tips
- String of pearls plant choose to grow in a bright location with indirect sunlight. But should be saved from scorching direct sunlight, as it can burn leaves.
- Extreme and sudden fluctuations in temperature can result in stunted plant growth. Ideal temperature to grow string of pearls ranges between 60°F and 80°F.
- To avoid overwatering, let the potting soil dry between watering. Consider factors like plant location, climatic conditions and potting soil to hydrate this succulent. In winter, most plants undergo dormant stage, so it won’t need frequent watering.
- A healthy string of pearls demand the best potting soil with draining and moisture retaining abilities. You can add perlite or sand can help improve drainage.
- The best conditions for String of Pearls plants are low to moderate levels of humidity, so plants should not be located in spaces where there is a lot of moisture since fungi can result.
- It’s important to select a pot that has drainage holes to allow proper seepage of excess water, and it’s typically recommended that you replant your plants every couple of years or when they start getting cramped in their pots.
- Ensure that your String of Pearls plant gets regular feedings with a well-balanced diluted succulent fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks while it is in the growth stage (spring and summer), for best results avoid using fertilizer in the winter.
- To encourage a fuller plant growth trim the leggy or overgrown stems, which can lead to the growth of new plants through propagation.
- By using stem cuttings you can easily propagate your own String of Pearls plant. To propagate this succulent simply cut off a healthy stem with several pearls. After allowing the cuttings to dry out for one or two days plant them in well-drained soil.
- Pay attention to succulent pests like mealybugs and spider mites. To deal with an issue of infestation in a timely manner, use either suitable insecticides or natural remedies like neem oil.
What kind of soil is best for string of pearls?
Well-drained sandy soil with neutral pH helps string of pearls to thrive.
Choosing the wrong soil will lock extra water in the container resulting in root rot. String of pearls plant is drought surviving plant, so it doesn’t need too much water. Just make sure that the water drains from the hole easily while watering.
Khaja Moinuddin, a computer science graduate, finds joy in gardening and homesteading. Join him on this blog as he shares his experiences in homesteading, gardening, and composting