Why Is My Lifesaver Plant Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Huernia Zebrina Plant

The lifesaver plant is easily one of the coolest-looking succulents on earth. They’re fun to have around, they grow like crazy, and they bloom flowers in abundance.

If you’ve got one, you have likely fallen deeply in love. So, if yours is in trouble, you’re looking for answers.

Don’t worry. I’ve got them!

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A Lifesaver Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

A Lifesaver Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

With long, thick stems that branch up and over their pot and dangle down toward the ground and flowers that blossom at all times of year, you can’t go wrong loving this warm-weather friend.

Native to South Africa, the lifesaver plant offers flowers that resemble a red lifesaver candy sprouting yellow petals in a starlike pattern, with streaks of red.

Like all succulents, the Huernia zebrina will improve the air in your environment, whether it’s at home or in your office. It will absorb the toxins in your home and breathe out oxygen.

It’s also excellent for feng shui energy, bringing wealth, abundance, and resilience into your space, especially if you place it at an entrance to your home or whatever room it’s in.

Signs of a Dying Lifesaver Plant

The most obvious signs of a dying lifesaver plant are as follows:

  • Mushy stems
  • Crispy flowers or stems
  • Lackluster color in your plant

Common Causes of a Dying Lifesaver Plant

The most common causes of a dying lifesaver plant include:

  • Too much direct sunlight
  • Too much water
  • Not enough warmth

Watering Needs of a Lifesaver Plant

The lifesaver plant is a succulent, so the watering schedule is typical. You want to make sure it gets enough water, but never too much.

It’s drought tolerant, so it can withstand plenty of days without water, but it will not put up with being overwatered. In general, you want to water the Huernia zebrina just enough that water comes through the holes in the bottom of the pot then allow it to dry out again.

You can tell when your plant needs to be watered by checking the soil. Stick your finger into the soil to test the top layer of soil.

When the top 1 inch of soil is dry, you can water it again. If you still feel moisture, allow it to dry out fully.

To read more about watering your plant, take a look at this article on watering mistakes that might be killing your plant.

Am I Underwatering My Lifesaver Plant?

You’ll be able to tell if your lifesaver plant is underwatered when the stems start getting limp and drooping rather than arcing and draping. Furthermore, the soil will become tightly packed, dry, and hard to the touch.

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Lifesaver Plant

In the unlikely event that your lifesaver plant has been underwatered, you can restore it by soaking it fully in water and allowing it to dry out again. Then, get back on a regular watering schedule.

Am I Overwatering My Lifesaver Plant?

An overwatered lifesaver plant will get mushy, and the soil will get soggy.

Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered Lifesaver Plant

If you notice your soil is getting soggy, you probably need to remove the root ball from the pot. Allow the root ball to dry out on a screen in the sun.

Once the root ball is dry, you can repot it into fresh succulent soil and get onto a regular watering schedule.

Soil Needs of a Lifesaver Plant

The lifesaver plant calls for succulent or cactus soil that has a good mix of organic and inorganic matter like dirt, pearlite, sand, and even crushed shells.

Soil Drainage Needs for a Lifesaver Plant

This mixture of organic and inorganic matter will not hold water but also allow the plant to be nourished and release the water as it works its way through.

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a Lifesaver Plant

If you notice the lifesaver plant is holding water, you can check that you have the right mixture. If you do, try switching the pot to an unglazed clay pot that allows more water to leech through.

As a last-ditch effort, you can also place pebbles in the bottom of the pot to ensure the soil and the plant are not sitting in water.

Lighting Needs of a Lifesaver Plant

The lifesaver plant needs plenty of bright, indirect sunlight, but any direct sunlight may burn the stems, so it is really a matter of experimentation as to which room and placement will be the best.

Resolving Lighting Issues for a Lifesaver Plant

Finding the right spot for your lifesaver plant may take time. A nice, northern facing window with no direct sunlight will probably be best, but you can find a great spot near any big window, even one with southern exposure. Have patience and you will persevere.

Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with a Lifesaver Plant

You may find mealybugs in your Huernia zebrina, but that doesn’t mean the end of this plant. It just means you’ll have to spray it liberally with neem oil and wipe off any of those bugs. Then, continue to spray the plant a few times a week until you’re sure no pests are coming back.

Fake Lifesaver Plants May Be an Additional Consideration

Fake Lifesaver Plants May Be an Additional Consideration

And, in the end, if you find you can’t keep up with the needs of your lifesaver plant, you can always invest in an artificial one. Because these lifesaver plants look fake already, a fake one basically looks real. No one will ever know the difference.

If you’re worried a fake lifesaver plant is not trendy, check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky.

Whether you choose a real lifesaver plant or a fake one, you’ll be so happy to have brought it into your home or office.

How have you fared with the lifesaver plant? Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping it alive? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from my readers!

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