Delicate heart-shaped foliage hanging from thin vines gives the Ceropegia woodii, better known as String of Hearts, its unique and charming look. This trailing semi-succulent is a member of the Apocynaceae family. String of Hearts is native to Africa and also found in Madagascar and is sometimes grown as a groundcover in its native habitat. Sometimes referred to as Chain of Hearts, this fast-growing houseplant is also known as bushman’s pipevine, lantern flower, or rosary vine. String of Hearts care is simple and straightforward.
Types of String of Hearts
The foliage grows in pairs and is spaced far apart on each individual vine, but this is a prolific plant that can push out multiple vines, creating a lush curtain of greenery. Variegated leaves are predominately green with silver accents that almost have a mottled look. The reverse side of each leaf is a purplish pink for a burst of color.
Various String of Hearts plants exist, but they all have a slightly different looks. String of Hearts care is the same across all cultivars. The most popular Chain of Hearts varieties include:
- String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii)
- Variegated String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii variegata)
- String of Hearts Silver Glory (Ceropegia woodii ‘Silver Glory’)
- String of Spades (Ceropegia woodii ‘Heartless’)
String of Hearts Light Requirements
A south- or west-facing window provides excellent sunlight for ideal String of Hearts care. This houseplant needs medium to bright indirect light. Plants grown in increased light are more likely to bloom, so find a sunny spot, and you’ll be able to admire the lovely blooms by spring. Keep the plant out of direct sunlight that can burn the leaves.
How Often to Water String of Hearts
The String of Hearts has medium water needs when it is actively growing. Proper String of Hearts care entails watering the plant when the top few inches of soil are dry. Wait until the soil is dry throughout before watering during the fall and winter when the String of Hearts is dormant. The plant stores water in its tuberous roots and leaves, so allowing the soil to dry out before watering the String of Hearts is vital.
The leaves will appear swollen and become mushy if the plant is overwatered. Wait until the soil is dry before giving it more water. Foliage may look wrinkled or shriveled when the plant is underwatered. Give the String of Hearts a drink right away if it shows signs of being too dry, and the leaves should plump back up.
Best Soil for String of Hearts
Well-drained soil is important for most plants, and the String of Hearts is no different. This plant likes a soil mix that is acidic to neutral and moderately enriched. It seems counterintuitive, but fertile soil with high organic content is not ideal for String of Hearts. Plants grown in rich soil may become leggy or straggly.
Cacti potting mix is excellent for String of Hearts because it promotes drainage and is not too rich. Regular potting mix for houseplants is alright for String of Hearts, but amend the soil with perlite to increase the drainage ability.
Temperature for String of Hearts
The String of Hearts is much more hardy than most houseplants, but it still prefers warm conditions. This trailing beauty thrives in temperatures between 60° to 80° F. Wait until the temperature is above 50° F if you intend to move your String of Hearts to a porch or patio in the warmer months.
String of Hearts Humidity
Humidity between 40% to 50% is part of ideal String of Hearts care. Too much humidity can be problematic for String of Hearts plants, especially during winter dormancy. Increased airflow or circulation around the foliage keeps the leaves lush and healthy and reduces the risk of mildew.
String of Hearts Fertilizer
Routine fertilization helps the plant grow long vines and bloom. Use a balanced fertilizer or a product formulated for succulents. Apply fertilizer once per month during the spring and summer. Do not fertilize the plant when dormant.
Pruning String of Hearts
Pruning String of Hearts is generally unnecessary, but you can trim unwieldy vines to maintain the length. Trimming String of Hearts encourages branching, creating a full plant. If the stems appear thin, a well-placed trim can create a thicker curtain of foliage. Cut the stem below the nodes to promote branching. String of Hearts growth nodes are located where leaves emerge from the stem, so trim directly below a set of leaves.
Do String of Hearts Bloom?
Yes, String of Hearts blooms. Tubular flowers are a light pink hue and bloom at the end of the growing season, during late summer or early fall. Only healthy plants grown under ideal conditions bloom, so up your String of Hearts care to encourage flowers.
When to Repot String of Hearts
Repotting is an important part of String of Hearts care. String of Hearts is a fast-growing houseplant, but its content being rootbound, so it only needs to be repotted every few years. If it’s been a couple of years since your plant was upgraded to a new pot and fresh soil, or if the roots are poking through the drainage holes, it’s time to repot. Repot String of Hearts during the summer when the plant is actively growing but not yet blooming. Select a container one to two inches larger with drainage holes. Terra cotta or unglazed ceramic are good container choices because they allow the soil to dry out.
String of Hearts Propagation
Propagate String of Hearts via cuttings. Cuttings should be 3-4 inches long and have several leaves and two nodes. Remove leaves to expose the nodes. Cuttings can be propagated in water, soil, or on top of the soil. Roots form in 2 to 8 months, depending on the propagation method.
If your String of Hearts is sparse up top, you can place cuttings on top of the soil to root new plants. The exposed nodes need to come into contact with the soil for roots to develop. You can use a hairpin or paper clip to secure the cutting to ensure the nodes touch the soil. This method of propagation works best with increased humidity. You can use plastic wrap or a plastic bag to create a tent over the container and retain moisture. Periodically, remove the plastic to allow air to circulate.
Is String of Hearts Pet Friendly?
String of Hearts is pet friendly, making this a safe houseplant if you have cats or dogs. Eating the leaves of the vines will not harm your pet, although eating too much of anything can cause of upset stomach. The dangling vines and foliage may entice playful cats. If you find your feline is swatting at the vines, move the plant to any area that is not as easy to reach.
String of Hearts Styling Tips
If ever there was a plant that looks good in a hanging basket or suspended from a macrame hanger, it was the String of Hearts. All vining plants look their best when their vines can dangle and do what they do best, and the String of Hearts is no exception. Tall shelves or a high perch is a good home for the String of Hearts plant.
String of Hearts Care Tips
String of Hearts is a charming houseplant that is easy to grow. The vines can reach up to 12 feet long with proper String of Hearts care. Dainty leaves and lovely flowers add to the appeal of this low-maintenance houseplant. This beauty needs plenty of sunlight and a regular watering routine to thrive.