Why Is My Pickle Plant Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Delosperma Echinatum

The pickle plant is such a fun and lively addition to any home or office, so if you are wondering why your pickle plant is dying, you are probably devastated. This cute, little succulent with it’s baby gherkin-like leaves can be a terrible loss.   

Fear not, though, there may still be hope. The Delosperma echinatum is not too difficult to revive, and we’re here to help you figure out how to do just that.  

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

A symbol of prosperity, abundance, and money, the pickle plant brings warmth and joy into your home or office with its bright green leaves and little, soft, white fuzzy hairs.  

Because it is so small and will maintain its tiny stature, you can place it in virtually any small space, including a narrow, sunny windowsill or a little end table.  

If you’ve got a southwest or African theme going, this pickle plant will accentuate your vibe. Or it can simply be a conversation starter with its odd texture and look.  

Signs of a Dying Pickle Plant 

A pickle plant dying can be heartbreaking because they are so easy to love. Fortunately, once you spot some telltale signs, you can begin to nurse it back to health.  

Signs of a Dying Pickle Plant 

There are some signs to watch for that hint at decline:  

  • Rapidly yellowing leaves 
  • Dead and dying leaves 
  • Shriveled leaves 
  • Wilting or mushy leaves 
  • Moldy soil 
  • Rotten brown base 
  • Red tinge on leaves 

Common Causes of a Dying Pickle Plant 

The most common cause of a dying pickle plant is overwatering, but there are a few things to watch out for and correct if you notice any of the above signs.  

Common causes of a dying pickle plant include: 

  • Overwatering 
  • Underwatering 
  • Pests 
  • Too much light 
  • Not enough light 

As soon as you notice evidence of a declining pickle plant, it is not difficult to bring your pickle plant back to life. This plant is really easy to care for, which sadly makes it also really easy to over care for.  

Watering Needs of a Pickle Plant 

Like most succulents, the pickle plant does not need much water. During winter and fall, you can easily go two full weeks without having to water your plant.  

The best way to tell is to check the soil. During the summer, you may need to water it a bit more frequently, but not by much. Take a look at this article on watering mistakes that might be killing your plant. 

Your pickle plant should not be sitting in constantly moist soil.  

Are You Underwatering Your Pickle Plant? 

It’s a common question with plant lovers. We think we have to water our plants often to show them love. So, you ask, “Am I underwatering my pickle plant?” The chances are good you are not underwatering.  

The way you’ll be able to tell is by checking the soil. The first indication that your plant is underwatered is the soil will be tightly packed rather than light and airy. Another indication may be wrinkled or shriveled leaves; this means your plant has lost all its moisture.  

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Pickle Plant 

On the off chance you have underwatered your pickle plant, you can restore it to life by either soaking it through and allowing the soil and plant to pick up water again or by repotting it.  

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Pickle Plant 

If the soil is packed too tightly, it may not receive any water, in which case you will just need to dig out the root ball and place the plant in fresh soil, soaking it through for its first time and allowing it to drain out and dry up fully before soaking again.  

Are You Overwatering Your Pickle Plant? 

It is much more likely that you may be overwatering your pickle plant.  

You can tell by the rapidly yellowing leaves, signs of root rot and moldy soil, wilting, mushy leaves, or translucent leaves.  

Typically, overwatering occurs either because you are watering your pickle plant too often or because the plant is not getting enough light.  

Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered Pickle Plant 

Fortunately, you can resolve an overwatering issue by either placing your succulent in bright sunlight for a few days to allow it to dry out fully, or, in more dramatic instances, by repotting it.  

Restoring your dying pickle plant

You will know you need to repot your plant if the roots or soil have become rotten. In this event, the plant needs a kick start with fresh soil.  

First, however, you will need to pull it out of its current pot and cut away any dead or dying parts of the plant. Place the plant on a mesh screen out in the sunlight and allow it to fully dry out. Then replant once the roots are dry in fresh, well-aerated soil.  

Soil Needs of a Pickle Plant 

Your pickle plant wants a well-drained soil, preferably a lightly acidic succulent potting mix.  

You can fertilize it once every other month with a cactus-specific houseplant fertilizer.  

Soil Drainage Needs for a Pickle Plant 

As long as you have your pickle plant in well-aerated soil in a pot that has good drainage, you don’t need to worry about anything else in terms of soil drainage.  

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a Pickle Plant 

If you do notice that your pickle plant is not draining well, pay attention to how often you are watering it and be sure you drain off all excess water each time you soak it.  

Reviving a dying pickle plant succulent

Lighting Needs of a Pickle Plant 

As an indoor plant native to South Africa, your pickle plant will do well in bright sunlight directly in the window. It will benefit from whatever shade it gets as the sun shifts in the sky away from the window. 

Not enough light, and your plant will slow its growth, and it can even lead to death of the leaves or its pretty white or yellow flowers.  

Too much harsh sunlight can scorch the leaves.   

Resolving Lighting Issues for a Pickle Plant 

If you notice your plant is not getting enough light, be sure to move it into direct sunlight, preferably on a windowsill.  

If you get particularly harsh sun, and you notice your leaves starting to burn, shift the plant into indirect sunlight and a cooler environment.   

Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with a Pickle Plant 

Pests are not common with the pickle plant, but on rare occasions, you may find mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, or fungus gnats in your succulent.  

A great remedy is to both watch your pickle plant for signs of pests and attack them immediately with an all natural, organic repellent like neem oil.  

You can also dab a cotton ball with alcohol and wipe away pests directly anywhere you notice them.  

If you notice root rot, rust, mildew, or fungal infections, you can also spray neem oil or a horticultural soap after you repot your plant to help eradicate disease.  

Fake Pickle Plants Are an Additional Consideration 

And after all is said and done, you may just decide you want to go fake, and there is nothing wrong with that.  

The joy of a pickle plant is that it is so odd and unusual looking, that the real thing looks fake anyway! So no harm in simply buying an artificial version and calling it a day.  

Wondering if fake plants are even trendy right now? Check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky. 

How about you? Have you brought a pickle plant back from the brink of death? Tell me all about your tips and tricks for reviving a pickle plant in the comments section below.  

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