How to Save Overwatered String of Hearts (Step by Step)


Overwatering your string of hearts can lead to a variety of problems for your plant.

Overwatering is a problem faced by a majority of plant owners. The good news is that your overwatered string of hearts can be saved in a few simple steps.

Identifying the problem of your plant being overwatered is the first step to saving your plant.

I would take you through the step by step process of how to save your overwatered string of hearts.

Hold back watering immediately. You need to repot the plant and change the soil. Ensure proper watering and drainage system. However, if the damage to the root is severe you can propagate the vines and tubers to produce a new pot of plants.

Overwatering damage symptoms may take a while to become visible. But within the time damage may have already been done.

So you need to learn signs of overwatering and here I’ll walk you through how to fix them.

Signs That Your String of Hearts Is Overwatered  

An overwatered string of heart plants is characterized by yellowing of leaves, edema, root rot, and eventual death of the plant if not addressed. If your plant is overwatered, the leaves would eventually fall off.

Yellowing of Leaves

If the leaves of your plant are turning yellow, chances are that you are overwatering it.

Yellow leaves are a result of iron deficiency which can be caused by overwatering. When your plant is overwatered, it washes out some of the nutrients in the soil.

Root Rot

A string of hearts is a succulent-like plant and succulent plants are prone to root rot caused by wet soil.

Overwatering results in your soil being waterlogged and prevents roots from aerating. 

The inability to aerate results in a lack of oxygen and eventual root rot. The excess moisture in the soil also allows the soil to harbor fungus and bacteria that cause root rot. When the root rots, the leaves on the plant would wilt.

Wilting of Leaves 

After the leaves of your plant turn yellow and the problem of waterlogged soil is not addressed, the leaves would eventually start falling off. This is because the plant would now most likely be dead.

Edema 

If you notice water-soaked spots on the underside of your leaves, the chances are the plant has edema. Overwatering your plant can allow it to gorge on liquid. 

If they are unable to transpire as fast as they take up water, the spots would burst as they have absorbed more than they can handle. As a result, black or brown spots would appear on your leaves.

How To Save Overwatered String Of Hearts 

Depending on the severity of the damage done, you can either re-pot or propagate your plant.

If the damage to your plant is minimal, you can just go ahead and re-pot your plant.

However, if the damage to the roots of your plant is extensive you may need to propagate it. 

Repot Overwatered String of Hearts 

Repotting is a delicate process that needs to be done right to prevent your plant from dying. Follow the steps below to save your plant from dying

1. Avoid Direct Sunlight

I know you might be thinking of putting your plant in the sun to dry out the soil, don’t do it.

Move the plant away from direct sunlight as this would strain the plant further and we don’t want that.

2. Remove The Plant From Pot

Remove your plant from the pot with the soil. You might need to toggle on it to help it out of the pot 

3. Extract Plant Roots From Soil

You can make use of your hands to loosen the roots of the plant from the soil. Cut off the dead roots and vines.

You would notice some white bead-like bulbs. These bulbs are the aerial tubers from which vines are produced.

4. Air Dry

After extracting the plant, allow the roots to air dry for a couple of hours depending on how saturated the plant is.

5. Ensure to fill the pot with the right soil mix

If you have fungal growth on top of your soil, you can disinfect the soil using an oven or any other means. Fresh soil means new nutrients.

You can also decide to use an entirely new soil mix if you are not comfortable with the old one. A succulent soil mix would be suitable for your string of hearts.

6. Ensure Proper Drainage

Get a pot that has drainage holes to prevent soil from retaining excess liquids.

If your pot does not have drainage holes, you can make use of rocks at the bottom of your pot.                       

7. Place The Plant in Pot

When the roots are dry, you can now but then in their new home. Fill the pot about ¾ way up then place the healthy tubers in the middle and cover up with soil.

8. Water the soil

Once you have planted the healthy tubers, you can wet the soil.

Note: Avoid repotting during periods of dormancy like winter as this may slow down the growth of the plant. The best time to re-pot your plant would be during spring.

How to Propagate An Overwatered String of Hearts

Propagating string of hearts with its vine.

In the situation where the damage done to your plant is extensive, there would be a need to propagate your plant.

Propagating is basically growing new plants from surviving vines and tubers of the dying plant.

There are two ways by which you can propagate a string of hearts. You can either propagate using 

  • soil propagation method or
  • Water propagation method 

Soil Propagation Method 

Let’s see how the propagation by soil is done using vines; 

  1. Prepare a soil mix that is suitable for your plant in a tray or pot. This mix should be airy.
  2. Cut off several healthy vines with nodes on each from your dying plant.
  3. Put your vines with nodes in your soil mix. You can use a stick to provide support for your plant so it doesn’t move around.
  4. Make sure all the leaves are above the soil to prevent decay that may affect the growth of the vine.
  5. Wet the soil to make it moist. Please avoid overwatering.
  6. Give it about 3-4 weeks. You should start seeing growth.
  7. At this point, you can transfer them into a pot with a succulent soil mix.
  8. Water and feed your plant and watch it grow.

You can also make use of the bead-like tubers that grow along with the vines for propagation. Just follow these simple steps;

  1. You would notice white bead-like tubers on your plant. Take the vines that have tubers off from your dying plant.
  2. Get potting soil and place the tubers on the potting soil. You can make use of soil from your main pot. 
  3. Wet the soil to make it moist.
  4. Leave for about 3-4 weeks and watch it produce new roots.
  5. Ensure that the plant is getting indirect light during this time 
  6. The tubers would grow out new roots. At this point, you can cut off the vines.
  7. You can now go ahead and plant the root in a pot with succulent soil mix.
  8. Feed and water your plant and watch it flourish.

Water Propagation Method

This method is straightforward and should be done using vines. This may not be in line with the conventional thinking of avoiding giving a string of hearts a lot of water but it sure works. 

Follow this steps to successfully propagate your plant and save it:

  1. Cut off several healthy vines from your plant and remove the leaves on them.
  2. Get a glass with clean water, place a clear plastic over it and poke a couple of holes in it .
  3. Take the vines you cut and place them in the holes you have made.
  4. Place the glass where the plant can get indirect sunlight to aid growth.
  5. Give it about 3-4 weeks as well to start producing roots.
  6. Once these roots have come out, prepare a pot with succulent soil mix for planting.
  7. Take the vines with the newly grown roots and plant then in your pot.
  8. Water and feed and your plant would grow.

Note: propagation of any kind should be done during springtime. This is because this is the time that the plant is actively growing. 

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

How To Water String Of Hearts 

 There are various things that can affect the growth of your plant when it comes to watering it. You should take into consideration the following when watering your plant;

Watering Frequency

String of hearts is a succulent-like plant and as such does not require a lot of water.

They store water in their roots and leaves which allows them to be able to go long periods of time without water.

Excessive watering can kill your plant so ensure water is running out of the drainage holes.

Ensure the soil of your plant is dry before watering.I recommend watering your plant once every two weeks during summer time.

If you experience winter, water your plant once a month during wintertime as the plant is dormant during this period. 

Watering Rules  

Different people water their plants differently. Some people water theirs from the top. In this case, the soil is watered thoroughly until the water reaches the bottom of the pot.

Some other people prefer to water from below. In this case, the pot is placed in water and allowed to soak water until it has reached its capacity.

I would advise you to water your plant from below as you can be sure that the soil would absorb only what it can and would not retain excess water.

Water Quality

The quality of water used when watering a plant is very important. Water in some places contains a high concentration of chlorine and fluoride which can be harmful to the growth of your plant.

I recommend you make use of filtered or rainwater and avoid using water softeners.

You can also put your water In a bucket and leave it for several days to reduce the fluoride and chlorine content before using it to water your plant.

You May Also Enjoy: How to Save Overwatered String of Pearls (Curio rowleyanus)

Common Mistakes People Make When Watering String Of Hearts

Overwatering

This is a very common mistake that people make. It is the cause of a majority of problems that plant owners face. It is very easy to overwater your plant.

Excess water in the soil of a string of hearts can lead to root rot which if not fixed can kill the plant. When in doubt water less than more frequently. You can also try watering from below as the plant would only take what it can hold.

Underwatering

Out of fear of over watering, some people end up underwatering their plants. Light watering does not allow the water to penetrate deep enough into the soil to reach the roots. 

Underwatering your plant can stunt the development of the root. It is advisable to water your plant thoroughly to ensure the soil is properly hydrated.

Inconsistent Watering

This can either be over watering or under watering your plant. Your plant needs consistency and love in order to grow. Try to come up with a schedule and stick to it.

It would not help your plant if you water it twice this week and then abandon it for over a month and then come back to water it for two days consecutively. 

Waterlogged Soil

This occurs as a result of overwatering a plant and the absence of drainage. When your soil becomes waterlogged, your plant would be at risk of root rot. 

This is why it is important to ensure you make use of a pot with drainage and avoid over watering your plant.

Watering Leaves And Not Roots

Some people actually end up watering the leaves of their plants and forget about the root. They can lead to dehydration of the plant which can lead to wilting of your plant.

Ensure that you pay attention to the roots of your plant when watering as this is the source of life of your plant. You can try watering your plant from below.

Watering During The Heat Of The Day 

When you water your plant during the day, it is a defeated effort. The water is most likely going to be heated up by the sun and evaporate before it gets a chance to penetrate the soil. 

It is best to wet your plant in the morning to ensure that the water gets the chance to seep into the soil.

Using Bad Quality Water 

The quality of water is a very important factor when it comes to watering. Using water that has a high concentration of chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine can be harmful to your plant. 

Like I mentioned earlier, you can make use of filtered or rainwater when watering your plants and avoid the use of water softens as these can also be harmful to your plant.

Common Mistakes in Watering String of Hearts

No.Common Mistakes in Watering String of Hearts How To Avoid Them 
1OverwateringAvoid overwatering by making sure the soil is dry before you water your plant. You can also try watering your plant from below.
2UnderwateringWater your plant thoroughly to ensure that the water penetrates the soil well.
3Inconsistent Watering Try to water your plants every two weeks. You can set up a schedule to help you keep track.
4Waterlogged soilAvoid overwatering and make use of a pot with drainage 
5Watering leaves and not roots Pay attention to the roots of your plant when watering. You can try watering from below to ensure water gets to the roots.
6Watering during the heat of the dayWater your plants in the morning.
7Using bad quality water Make use of filtered or rainwater and avoid water softeners. You can also put water in a bucket and let it sit for some days to reduce the Chlorine and fluoride content before using to water your plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is my string of heart shriveling?

A: string of hearts are a succulent-like type of plant and they store water in their leaves. Their leaves are usually a bit on the thick side. If your string of hearts is shriveling chances are you are most likely under watering your plant.

Q: Why is my string of hearts dying?

A: A common cause of a string of hearts dying is over watering. When your plant is overwatered it leads to root rot  which could eventually lead to the death of your plant. Once you notice your string of hearts is dying, do well to re-pot or propagate on time.

Q: Why do my plant leaves look wrinkled?

A: Wrinkling of plant leaves is a result of a lack of water. As much as an excess of water can be detrimental to the plant, a lack of water can also do serious damage to your plant. A lack of water can stunt the development of the roots of your plant.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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