Why Is My String of Turtles Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Peperomia Prostrata

The string of turtles plant is such a sweet, delicate plant that it feels like a true tragedy if you find yours is dying. It goes well with any decor, it will serve as an accent plant or stand on its own, and it captures the attention of passersby.  

And while the string of turtles plant is a succulent, it has a few twerks of its own. Once you learn those twerks, you can bring it back to life and help it thrive.  

A String of Turtles Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office  

Native to the rainforests of Brazil, the string of turtles is a beautiful, tropical succulent that will bring nature right into your home or office. You can build a small fairy garden in a corner, place a collection of plants around it to showcase its lovely, tiny, variegated leaves, or give it space in a glass terrarium.  

A String of Turtles Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office  

It’s the perfect choice for a small space, and yet it never shrinks from attention. The Peperomia prostrata is truly a delightful addition to any home and entirely deserving of saving.  

Signs of a Dying String of Turtles Plant  

The string of turtles will typically be comfortable with bright, indirect light, with a weekly watering or so, and slightly acidic soil. If one of these needs isn’t being met, your string of turtles may show signs of dying, such as: 

  • Crisping or burning leaves 
  • Yellowing or softening leaves 
  • Soggy soil 
  • Visible pests 
  • Mushy stems  

Common Causes of a Dying String of Turtles Plant  

As with any succulent, the common causes of dying include:  

  • Overwatering   
  • Not enough humidity 
  • Too little light   

Watering Needs of a String of Turtles Plant  

You are unlikely to underwater your string of turtles plant, though it is possible. For both underwatering and overwatering concerns, take a look at this article on watering mistakes that might be killing your plant.  

It is a good idea to develop a relationship with each of your plants and learn how to check the soil. For the string of turtles plant, stick your finger into the soil. If the first 2 inches of the soil are dry, you know it is time to water the plant. If the soil feels moist, you can leave it to dry out more completely.  

Am I Underwatering My String of Turtles Plant?  

The classic signs of underwatering a string of turtles plant are crisping leaves and tightly packed soil.  

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered String of Turtles Plant  

If you notice these signs, simply water your plant, allowing it to fully drain through the bottom, then begin to check the soil regularly. If the soil does not seem capable of absorbing water, you may need to repot the plant by removing the root ball and planting it in new soil.  

Am I Overwatering My String of Turtles Plant?  

Overwatering the string of turtles is much more likely than underwatering. The signs include mushy stems, soggy soil, and yellowing leaves. You might also find pests infesting your plant.  

Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered String of Turtles Plant  

If you do find that you have overwatered your string of turtles plant, your problem may be that the soil that will not dry out. Simply move the plant into more direct light and give it a few days.  

If the soil is soggy and the stems are mushy, you will likely need to repot your plant. To do this, remove the root ball from the pot and empty the pot of the soggy soil.  

Cut away the mushy roots from the root ball and any mushy stems or leaves. Lay the root ball out on a screen in the sunshine and allow it to fully dry out.  

Plant the root ball in soil made of two parts organic matter and one part peat. Also be sure to place pebbles in the bottom of the pot so it can fully drain. Finally, get on a regular watering schedule.  

Soil Needs of a String of Turtles Plant  

The string of turtles plant calls for a bit more than simply cactus or succulent soil. Instead, you will need to mix two parts organic matter with one part peat to add acidity.  

Soil Drainage Needs for a String of Turtles Plant  

As a succulent, the string of turtles plant needs soil that will fully drain and allow the plant to dry out.  

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a String of Turtles Plant  

Again, if you notice the soil is getting soggy, repot the plant and place pebbles in the bottom to allow for thorough drainage. We want the soil to dry out in between waterings each time. 

Lighting Needs of a String of Turtles Plant  

The string of turtles plant is native to the Brazilian rainforest. It is typically a ground cover trailing plant protected by the large leaves of the plants above it. Thus, it calls for bright to low indirect light and decent humidity.  

Resolving Lighting Issues for a String of Turtles Plant  

Resolving lighting issues for a string of turtles plant is simple. All you need to do is move the plant around a bit.  

You’ll notice the string of turtles needs more light if the colors on the leaves are growing dull. If the leaves are getting brown and crispy, you should move it away from direct light, perhaps into a humid bathroom or kitchen with a window.  

Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with a String of Turtles Plant  

You don’t typically have to worry about pests or disease with a string of turtles plant. However, you might notice whiteflies, mealybugs, and spider mites hanging around your plant if it has been overwatered and the soil is soggy.  

To get rid of pests, correct the soggy soil issue first, as directed above, then spray the plant every few days with neem oil. The issue should resolve itself.  

Fake String of Turtles Plants May Be an Additional Consideration  

If, in the end, you find the string of turtles plant is too much hassle to care for, you can absolutely invest in a fake string of turtles plant. These delicate, little succulents look so unreal they could pass for artificial anyway, so there is no real harm in going for the fake version.  

Fake String of Turtles Plants May Be an Additional Consideration  

If you’re worried that fake plants are not on trend, check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky here.  

What do you think? Do you have any tips or tricks for bringing a string of turtles back to life? Let me know in the comments.  

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