Why Is My String Of Dolphins Growing Upwards?

The string of dolphins is a short, succulent usually kept as houseplants. They have squishy, green pods that represent tiny diving dolphins. Generally, the stems of the plant are not very strong, and the plant grows downwards. However, once in a while, you may see that your plant has started to grow upwards. If that happens, it means that the plant is undergoing some form of stress, and urgent measures need to be taken to help your plant regain its healthy shape.

Signs of Stress

The first sign is obviously that the plant is growing upwards. However, to ensure that it is a serious problem and not some natural growth, check for a few more signs.

One of the primary signs is the unnatural elongation of the plant towards a source of light.

Another sign is that the plant starts to lose its natural green color and turns pale and weak.

Lastly, if you see that your plant is growing faster than it usually does, it essentially signifies stress growth.

The Problem

The main problem of all the above-mentioned signs are showing is etiolation. This essentially means that your plant is not receiving the required light and hence is forced to undergo severe stress. This also causes that plant to undergo stress growth as it forces itself to grow towards the light.

It means that the plant is using up its resources to grow forcefully, which can be very unhealthy for the plant in the long run. If left untreated, etiolation can have serious consequences for your string of dolphins.

Consequences of Etiolation

One of the main consequences of etiolation is the thinning down of the stems and the shrinking of leaves. It can reduce the food storing capability of the plant.

Further, in cases of etiolation, the plant forces itself to grow towards the light. It means that the plant uses all its energy in this growth.

Thus, the rest of the parts of the plant remain undeveloped. Further, the plant may have stunted growth as a permanent consequence of etiolation.


The only solution for a light-deprived plant is adequate light. So, if you see your plant being affected by etiolation, immediately move the plant to an area of partial shade, where it receives adequate, indirect sunlight for at least six hours a day.

However, if the plant has been growing in the shade for long, avoid direct exposure to sunlight as it may severely damage the plant. Thus, it is best to gradually increase the amount of sunlight the plant receives. This allows the plant to slowly adapt to the light and be accustomed to proper exposure.

The damage to the elongated leaves is permanent and irreversible, however, the recovery of the rest of the plant is slow and generally takes a long time. So, it is best to be patient and allow the time for your plant to heal.

Thus, these are the steps to help nurture your etiolated string of dolphins back to health .

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