String of Hearts | Plant Care Guide

String of Hearts

One of the most popular houseplants, String of Hearts, is a truly beautiful trailing plant that’s easy to care for, grows fast, and adds so much charm to your space. Those distinctive flowers and stunning heart-shaped leaves all over the vines make this one perfect for hanging baskets. 

Growing with partial lighting and calling for significantly less maintenance, string of hearts is loved by indoor and outdoor growers alike. Those little silvery green heart leaves make it a very precious plant for those who have one. 

If you plan to spruce up your house with some String of Hearts or want to gain an in-depth knowledge of how to care for your plant, this is your ultimate guide.  

Scroll down to learn all you need to do to have healthy-growing vines, ranging from the watering schedule, propagation, temperature, lighting conditions, and so much more.

Botanical NameCeropegia woodii
Common NameString of hearts, rosary vine, bushman’s pipe, wine-glass vine, necklace vine, parachute flower, and lantern flower
SizeVines up to 12 feet long
DifficultyNo fuss – carefree
Pet FriendlyYes – non-toxic to dogs and cats
Air CleanerNo – leaves are too small to have an air purifying effect

String of Hearts Origin

String of Hearts is a fast-growing vine plant originating in South Africa. The plant is also native to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Eswantini as it grows naturally on cliff edges and is often embedded in rock crevices.

A species of the lovely flowering plant in the genus Ceropegia, its scientific name is Ceropegia woodii. While string of hearts is the most common name of the plant, it’s also known as rosary vine, bushman’s pipe, wine-glass vine, necklace vine, parachute flower, and lantern flower. The heart-shaped, thin leaves are likely to get tangled easily, and that’s why it gets another name – hearts entangled.

How to Care for String of Hearts

Despite that fragile-looking appearance, string of hearts is quite robust and very easy to take care of. If you have the right weather conditions, moisture levels, and light, the plant grows quickly and abundantly. Even the most inexperienced houseplant growers can go for this lovely species as it can also withstand a little neglect relatively well.

Light and Temperature

Just like most houseplants, string of hearts also calls for bright, indirect sunlight. However, they thrive best in a few hours of direct sun too.

Place your plant in a sunny spot around the house while ensuring they receive direct sunlight for 3-4 hours daily. Lack of proper sunlight may turn the plant scraggly and pale.

If your plant doesn’t get enough sunlight during the winter months, it’s a good idea to get a grow light.

The vines thrive best in temperatures ranging from 70 and 85F, while the minimum temperature requirement of string of hearts is 55F. To ensure that you protect the delicate leaves from extreme temperatures, grow them away from furnaces and radiators in winter when the heating is on. During the summer months, keep them out of cold drafts when the air-conditioner is on or when the doors or windows are open.

If you stay at a place with temperate climates, you can grow the plant outdoors in partial shade on a balcony, deck, or patio. Let them soak in some sunshine daily while protecting the plants from the midday sun. Make sure you bring the potted plants inside when the usual outdoor temperatures stay around 60F.

Water

String of hearts are watered more than the regular succulents, but the right watering schedule is the most crucial element of taking care of your plants as overwatering can make them rot. To avoid rotting the vines, make sure you prepare the right soil mix while using pots with drainage holes that provide an easy passage of water through the planter.

You need to water the plant once a week during the favorable seasons, i.e., spring to fall. Leave the plants a little dry between different watering sessions to avoid excess moisture.

This plant won’t suffer if you miss watering sometimes. You can even let the plant stay almost fully dry until the growing season returns.

This plant doesn’t need lots of humidity to stay healthy, so you can put them in dry areas around the house that may not be perfect for placing other houseplants.

Make sure to never overwater your string of hearts plant to prevent sogginess and fungal or bacterial infections caused by damp soil. Watering the plant right will yield gorgeous vines that will grow for several years, flaunting lovely stems with heart-shaped leaves.

Fertilization

If your plant shows lots of new growth during the active growth months, i.e., May-August, you can go for adding a diluted houseplant fertilizer once a month.

Make sure you don’t fertilize your string of hearts during winter as it’s the plant’s dormant period. Well-drained cactus plant potting mix works just right, but an overly-rich mixture can make it straggly-looking.

Be sure to add perlite or pumice if going for an ordinary potting mix so that the plant has sufficient drainage. Mix equal ratios of compost, perlite, and coarse horticultural sand to make an optimal growing medium for the plant.

You need moisture-retaining soil for houseplant vines to survive, and that’s why going for an organic matter like peat moss will keep the roots of your plant hydrated. However, make sure you go for a mix that drains well and doesn’t make the succulents overly damp, drying out thoroughly between the watering sessions.

Flowering

String of Hearts is marked by unique flowers. Growing on the vines, the little flowers blend in with the plant’s leaves perfectly. The flowers can vary in color from burgundy to purple while being shaped like lanterns or small vases. The flowers’ base has a bulbous shape, a long cylinder in the middle, and a tent-like arrangement of the petals at the top.

If you water the plant right and provide the right temperature, the flowers will profusely bloom in the late summer and fall but also appear at other times of the year.

Pruning

The fact that it’s a wispy houseplant plant, string of hearts plant grows mostly around two feet long while growing up to 12 feet long in its natural habitat. You don’t need to prune the plant unless the vines are too long or leggy or if you are looking to propagate the cuttings. Another scenario where you may need to prune the plant is when certain parts are rotting or dying.

All you need to do is trim the vines using shears or a pair of clean scissors according to your desired length. You don’t need to be too precise while pruning the plant as string of hearts can’t withstand very harsh pruning. Planting the trimmings in soil or putting them in water will also help you grow new plants.

Repotting

String of hearts thrives well in crowded pots, and that’s why repotting doesn’t need to be a frequent affair. If you witness too much overcrowding of the plant, only then should you repot in the spring season when new growth appears. Choose a pot with drainage holes to allow adequate drainage that lets the soil dry out properly. Prepare your soil mix, dampen it, and put it in the pot.

Lay the plant on its side, further gently sliding it out of the existing pot. If a single pot has multiple plants, you can split them into different pots. Once you place the roots in the new plant gently, press the soil around the same, further watering the soil after it dries out completely.

Smaller desktop plants call for repotting once every 12-18 months, while larger floor plants need repotting in 18-24 months. Choose a potting vessel a few inches larger in diameter than the previous one to promote proper growth. However, if you want to stick to your plant’s current size, you can add new soil and trim some foliage and roots after repotting them into the same vessel.

Pests and Disease

String of hearts does not get infested by pests a lot, aside from some occasional scaly insects, aphids, and mealybugs. Mostly, these pests or the rotting of roots occur due to improper watering. If you see a mild infestation, you can treat the plant with a household insecticide or go for careful manual removal of the bugs. If manual removal doesn’t work, you can eradicate the mealybugs by washing your plant under soft running water. This will also rinse off any dust from those delicate leaves.

Another way to keep the pests away is to remove them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. However, the best method is to treat the plants with neem oil as it removes the pests and prevents future infestation. Prepare a neem oil spray by adding two teaspoons of organic neem oil and one teaspoon of gentle liquid dish soap in 1 liter of water. Spray the string of hearts plant with the solution once a week to get rid of the bugs.

Diseases are not that common with this lovely plant species, apart from a few fungal-based root rots that can be avoided by not overwatering your plant. Signs of fungal root rot include yellowing of leaves. If the plant shows significant rot, then it must be disposed of.

How to Propagate String of Hearts

Propagating string of hearts is as easy as performing the regular maintenance of your plant. You can propagate it with various methods, ranging from water propagation to putting the tubers in a healthy potting mix.

Tuber Propagation Method

Depending on the specific age of your plant, it will sport different-sized tubers all on the vines. You can lay the vines with the tubers over a new pot without cutting the vines, making sure that you partially bury those tubers.

Roots will develop from the tuber, and you can cut it off from the original string of hearts plant once it’s rooted. The tubers will grow better if you place them near the soil’s surface to make sure they don’t sink too down. Placing the planter in a bright corner will make it get new growth, primarily if you perform the propagation during summer or spring. Prune it regularly as it will grow very quickly and may tangle easily.

If an old plant has lost leaves and looks bare at the base, it’s a good idea to cut off its vines and use them to propagate the plant. Next, you can repot the tubers into fresh potting mix. At this point, you can also separate the tubers out to transfer them into multiple planters or break up the entire root ball and replant into new soil.

Water Propagation Method

Perhaps, the easiest and the most popular propagation method, water propagation, allows you to see how far the roots have grown while also letting you use gorgeous glass containers or vases to get the task done.

First, you will need a vase, a pair of scissors, and some water. Once you cut off the vine portions you want to root, you need to place them in the vase and place it in a warm, well-lit spot around the house. Under ideal conditions, the roots will start popping up after anywhere between a few days and a few weeks. After you see the vines rooting, you can transfer the plant to a pot or leave it in the vase. Make sure to change the water every couple of weeks to get a healthy plant.

Soil Propagation Method

Propagating in soil is a super easy method if you prefer growing your plants in pots rather than vases. It comes in handy when your plant looks scraggly or grows too long, and you want to shorten it or achieve a fuller look in the same pot.

All you need to do is snip off the succulent vines the way you like, further removing some leaves on the side you want to place the vines into the soil. Make sure at least a few nodes are touching the soil or covered in it. Next, you spray those parts once a day to promote rooting, and very soon, you will witness new growth after the roots have appeared.

Frequently Asked Questions about String of Hearts

If it gets the right moisture levels, filtered light, optimal temperature conditions, and a healthy soil mix, string of hearts grow quite fast and flowers abundantly. It is a popular plant among houseplant growers who are new to planting as it can withstand periods of neglect quite well.

In summer, it’s good to mist the leaves of the plant or place it in a gravel tray filled with water to ensure the right levels of humidity. However, make sure the leaves are not damp for too long. In winter, make sure you water the plant light only when the soil is properly dry.

If the leaves of your plant begin to soften or start looking a little deflated or wilted, it’s an indication that you are underwatering your String of Hearts. The fact that this plant stores water in its leaves makes the foliage deflated if it doesn’t get sufficient water to grow.

String of Hearts is one of the quickest plants to propagate. Once you snip along the string and place the cut end in water, you will witness roots forming in just a matter of 4 weeks.

Stem cutting is the most common mode of propagation for String of Hearts. If you have a stem cutting with visible nodes, place the stem portion in water for a few weeks to allow the roots to grow. Another idea is to put the node on your pot’s topsoil and wait for it to grow roots. At this point, leaving the plant in the same pot will make it fuller, while you can also make a new plant by transplanting it to another pot.

Final Thoughts

String of Hearts is an easy-to-care-for houseplant with astonishingly beautiful flowers and vivid foliage. It is an excellent addition to any indoor plant collection.

If you provide your String of Hearts with the optimal lighting, temperature conditions and make sure not to overwater it, your plant will flourish. All you need to do is find a nice little spot around the house for those rosary vines and let those heart-shaped leaves grow into large cascades. 

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