String of Dolphins Dying: Common Causes and Solutions

String of dolphins gets its name from its dolphin-shaped leaves. When it is taken care of well, this unique plant is the highlight of every room it’s in. Unfortunately, it can react strongly to its care needs not being met and start to die.

What Causes String of Dolphins To Die?

String of Dolphins Dying

String of dolphins typically dies because you are providing too much or too little of one of its essential nutrients. Every plant has specific water and sunlight needs that you must meet to keep it healthy.

You Aren’t Meeting Its Water Needs

String of dolphins will react strongly to overwatering because it is a succulent. It is pretty drought-tolerant, so your plant is unlikely to die because you aren’t watering it enough. When you overwater it, its leaves may become brown and soggy. Overwatering can occur from unsuitable soil retaining too much water. Too much water in the soil can lead to root rot.

If your plant isn’t getting enough water, the soil will be very dry, and the plant will also turn brown. When you don’t water your plant enough, its cells may lose their ability to function. This leads to the plant dying.

You Aren’t Meeting Its Sunlight Needs

String of dolphins has high sun needs. If you don’t meet these needs, it will not be able to photosynthesize, and it will die. This plant needs around six hours of sun every day for the complete fulfillment of its needs.

When your string of dolphins gets too much sun, you will see it get crispy, almost like it’s burnt. This happens because the sun is burning it.


String of dolphins is susceptible to disease just like any other plant. Look for symptoms outside the normal over/underwatering and too much/too little sunlight symptoms. This can indicate a more significant problem than some unmet care needs that you must take care of immediately.

What Can I Do About This?

String of Dolphins Dying

You can act to help your plant and stop it from dying once you know what is causing its death.

A Watering Issue

When you overwater your plants, the soil will be too moist. You can use a moisture meter to determine its moisture level if you need to. Let it dry out while keeping an eye out for root rot. Root rot can make its way up the entire plant, so you must catch it as early as possible.

Once the soil is dry, you can water your plant. The top two inches of the soil should be dry. Don’t water it again until the top two inches of the soil are dry again.

Giving your string of dolphins too little water is a lot less common than overwatering it. You can check whether the soil is dry with your finger or a moisture meter. If it is overly dry, you have a problem. Luckily, you can fix this by changing your watering schedule. Like overwatering, you should water the soil when the top two inches are dry. You need to add more water if it is dry deeper than that.

A Sunlight Issue

If your string of dolphins isn’t in a very sunny room in your home, it may not get enough sunlight. Observe how much sun it gets in its current placement and move it if necessary. If it gets less than six hours of sun, move it somewhere sunnier. If it gets more than six hours of sun, move it somewhere shadier.


If a disease is the cause of your issues, you may need to prune your plant to get it healthy again. To do this, get your pruning knife and ensure you sterilize it. You can do this with rubbing alcohol. Cut off the affected plant parts while sterilizing the pruning knife between cuts. You should isolate sick plants from other plants.

Throw away anything you cut off of a sick plant. Give your plant some time to recover and monitor other plants for signs of disease.

String of Dolphins Dying: The Bottom Line

Whatever the cause of your plant’s death, it should quickly recover once it is taken care of. Remember to watch out for more disease in your string of dolphins and your other plants to ensure it doesn’t spread. Other similar succulents include string of bananas