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How Much & How Often to Water String of Turtles Plant?

Written by LisaSmith

Nov 30 2021

How Much & How Often to Water String of Turtles Plant?
String of turtles is native to Brazilian rainforests. Though the plant does not root in dry areas like most succulents, it has succulent-like leaves that store water. If you are a plant lover but have limited time to water your plants, a string of turtles will be a perfect easy-care indoor plant for you.

However, improper watering will also surely kill this easy-care plant. Watering is always an important topic to keep your string of turtles plants in good health. Understanding the plant’s water requirements is vital for the plant owners as overwatering or underwatering are some of the most common problems that can wilt your string of turtles. Read on for how to water your string of turtles plant correctly.

How Often Should a String of Turtles Be Watered?

Since they store water in their fleshy leaves, string of turtles does not need to be watered often. This semi-succulent plant prefers slightly moist soil conditions. Keep the soil moist in the growing season (usually in early spring) and allow the soil to dry between waterings in summer. In winter, water sparingly since the leaves will store water. In terms of watering, it’s better to underwater than overwater as the plant can root rot easily.

It would be best if you watered your string of turtles once in two or three weeks but make sure you check the soil before watering the plant. During the summer months, the weather conditions remain warm, and the Sun shines bright, so the soil dries fast. If your String of Turtles is getting sufficient light throughout the day, it will need water once every 7 to 10 days. The frequency of watering the string of turtles remains the highest during the summer months. If the pot is placed in a spot with too much sunlight, the soil will dry out far too quickly and scorch the plant’s leaves. You have to move your string of turtles plant to a shady location to avoid the worst. In winter, You can water this plant once a month.

There are many factors that affect your frequency of watering the string of turtles, which will be discussed later.
String of Turtles Plant

When to Water String of Turtles

In an ideal world, there would be one simple rule for when to water your string of turtles.
Actually, there are a number of different factors that will determine when your plant does and doesn’t need to be watered and we will look at those now. 

Touch Soil

There are many different ways to know when to water string of turtles plant. The simplest way is to use your fingers to touch the soil. By pushing the finger into the soil to the depth of the second knuckle (about two inches) you can be able to feel if the soil is still damp. The soil on the surface may be dry but there could easily still be moisture lower down the pot. If there isn’t any, it is time to water the string of turtles pant.

Soil Color

Moist soil tends to be darker in color than dry soil and so simply by looking you can get an idea of whether the soil is wet or not. The problem is that it only tells you what is happening on the soil surface rather than deeper down. 

Wilting or Drooping Leaves

If the leaves start to wilt or droop then do a feel test immediately. If the soil is wet then you know that you have overwatered and will need to allow the string of turtles plant to dry out more before watering again.

Brown Leaf Tips or Leaves Wrinkling

When the string of turtles leaves start to go brown at the tips and along the edges or become wrinkled, the plants are probably underwatered. It’s time to supply enough water to the plant.

Weight of the Pot

The weight of the whole potted string of turtles will become noticeably lighter as the water dries out and the soil dries. In addition, before comparing the weight you need to know how much does the pot weigh when it is moist.

Leaves Turn from Brown to Yellow

When a string of turtles plant is overwatered, its leaves will start to turn brown and then become yellow. This differs from those brown spots on the tips and margins above. In this situation, you need to take quick measures to revive the plant. Usually, you need to repot the plant.

How Much Water Do String of Turtles Need?

Give it the equivalent of 1/6 or 1/5th of the pot’s volume in water, and only when the soil is dry. You can typically water the string of turtles plants using the top watering method. But if you have a small pot, you can also consider bottom watering.

For top watering, place the pot in a vessel and fill with water until it’s halfway up the side of the pot. Leave it for ten minutes and then remove the pot and allow to drain.

For bottom watering, place the pot in a container and fill it water so that 1/4th of the pot is submerged in water. Leave the pot in the container for about 10 minutes and later allow the water to drain.
String of Turtles Bottom Warering vs Top Watering

String of Turtles Water Requirements Factors

There are several factors that affect the water requirements of the string of turtles plant. While watering your plant, take care of some of the factors mentioned below.
  • Light & Temperature
With less temperature and light, the string of turtles plant needs less watering. The water will take a lot of time to dry out, and the soil will retain moisture. It can be dangerous as this can cause root rot in the plants. Otherwise, water more but still be careful of overwatering.
  • Humidity
String of turtles is native to Brazilian rainforests than loves a humid climate. Insufficient humidity will show signs like dry leaves, holes in new leaves, etc. If your plant doesn’t get enough humidity, you can use a humidifier or pebble tray to increase your house’s humidity levels.
  • Seasons
During the summer months, the weather conditions remain warm, and the Sun shines bright, so the soil dries fast. The frequency of watering string of turtles remains the highest during the summer months. In winter, water sparingly since the leaves will store water.
  • Drainage Pot
A poor drainage system will damage the overall health of your string of turtles. A pot that supports good drainage is also necessary. That means that the pot will have many drainage holes for the water to drain away.
  • Pot Size
You need to use the correct size, which is neither too large nor too small, to let the string of turtles roots absorb the right amount of water. A right-sized pot can avoid problems like overwatering string of turtles. 
  • Health
The health of the plant can also make a difference in the water requirement. If the string of turtles is suffering from root rot or any other illness, you should give it time to recover.

What if Overwatering a String of Turtles?

The string of turtles plant is highly susceptible to overwatering. An overwatered string of turtles plants is characterized by yellow leaves, leaves wilting, edema, root rot, and eventual death of the plant if not. So how to deal with overwatering string of turtles plant, keep read on.

Signs of Overwatering String of Turtles

  • Leaves Turning Yellow or Wilting
String of turtles 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 and let the plant root cannot breath to supply nutrients to leaves.
string of turtles yellow leaves
  • Root Rot
Overwatering string of turtles leads to the soil being waterlogged and keeping out the air for roots. That makes the root cannot breathe and eventually rot. Meanwhile, excessively moist soul is easy to encourage the growth of bacteria and fungus, which also cause root rot. When the root rots, the leaves of string of turtles plant would wilt, the leaves would turn yellow and eventually start falling off. This is because the plant would now most likely be dead.

How to Save Overwatered String of Turtles

Depending on the extent of the damage, you can either repot or propagate your string of turtles plant. If the damage is small, you can just repot your plant. While if the damage to the roots is severe, you may need to propagate a new plant.
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What if Underwatering a String of Turtles?

Out of fear of overwatering or being busy with work or taking improper water measures, some people end up underwatering their string of turtles plants. However, in terms of watering, it’s better to underwater than overwater as the plant can root rot easily.

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. Please read carefully our guide on how much & how often to water string of turtles plant above.

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