How to Grow and Care for String of Hearts

Indoor Growing Guide for Watering, Sunlight, Propagation, and More

String of hearts plant

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

String of hearts plant (Ceropegia woodii) is a unique and attractive houseplant with evergreen, succulent, trailing vines that look good in hanging baskets or pots on shelves or window sills. The plant care is easy, especially during the warmer months. It is long-lived and fast-growing, and the sprawling vines can cascade up to 12 feet once they are mature. It goes dormant in cooler weather, slowing down its growth.

The heart-shaped, fleshy, gray-green foliage has an eye-catching marbled pattern, and the thin, string-like vines have a distinctive purple shade. To make it appear fuller, prune it periodically for bushier growth. 

Although most commonly grown as a houseplant, the string of hearts is sometimes grown as a sprawling ground cover, in rock gardens, or for tumbling down walls in warm Mediterranean climates. Naturally growing best in tropical or subtropical temperatures like its native South Africa, the indoor string of hearts plants prefer a western or southern-facing window.

Common Name String of hearts, rosary vine, chain of hearts, Chinese lantern
Botanical Name Ceropegia woodii
Family Apocynaceae
Plant Type Succulent, vine
Mature Size 1-2 in. tall, 1.5 in. wide
Sun Exposure Partial
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral
Bloom Time Summer, fall
Flower Color White. red
Hardiness Zones 9-12 (USDA)
Native Area Africa
string of hearts plants

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

String of hearts plant

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

Ceropegia woodii also called String of Hearts or Chain of Hearts, modern house plant in a flowerpot against white wall.

Lana_M / Getty Images

String of hearts plant

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string of hearts plant

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String of Hearts Plant Care

With the right warm conditions, moisture levels, and filtered light, the string of hearts plant is fast-growing and will flower abundantly. It is known for being robust and is a good plant for inexperienced houseplant growers, as it can cope with periods of neglect relatively well.


Place your string of hearts plant somewhere that it will receive bright but dappled, filtered sunlight for the best growth and flower production results.


String of heart plants thrive in well-drained cacti potting mixes. Although they appreciate decent fertility, the plants can become straggly-looking if the mix is overly rich.

If you are using an ordinary potting mix, it will need additions like pumice or perlite to ensure sufficient drainage.


Although the string of hearts is drought-tolerant, it does like more frequent watering than many other succulent species. Too much water can result in swollen foliage, leaf drop, and the growth habit can become messy. Let the soil dry between waterings, and then provide a deep watering.

Do not leave your string of hearts plant standing in water. This is a quick way to kill them; excellent drainage is vital.

Temperature and Humidity

Although these plants can handle temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods, they can't cope with prolonged exposure to the cold, mainly if they have not retained sufficient moisture.

String of hearts plants are not fans of intense heat. These plants don't appreciate high humidity in their winter dormancy phase. Warm temperatures and good air circulation produce the best results.


Your string of hearts plant will appreciate regular feeding with a fertilizer specifically designed for succulents. For the amount to use, follow product label instructions. It shouldn't be high in nitrogen, as too much nitrogen can result in the plants becoming overly soft.

Types of String of Heart Plants

  • Ceropegia woodii variegata: Variegated string of hearts plants feature green leaves with cream, pink, and silver markings.
  • Ceropegia woodii ‘Heartless’: Also called a string of spades, Heartless, Mini Star, or Durban, they have bright green leaves with pink undersides.
  • Ceropegia woodii ‘Silver Glory’: This variety has apple-shaped leaves with silverish variegation with a dark green line on the leaf.
  • Ceropegia woodii ‘Orange River’: This plant features green leaves with an orange tint.
  • Ceropegia linearis: Also called string of needles, this plant is unique for its needle-like foliage.


It's not necessary to prune string of hearts plants. But you can trim your string of hearts to manage their length. Cut below a node where a set of leaves grows from the stem. This plant can handle hard pruning, so you can cut or trim them as much as you like.

Propagating String of Heart Plants

String of hearts are best planted, transplanted, or repotted in warmer temperatures in spring, summer, or early fall. Sourcing seeds is difficult. String of heart plants are generally propagated by stem cuttings rather than through seed germination.

The stem-cutting method is easy, and rooting and establishing new plants are generally successful. Using a pair of sterilized scissors, take a 3 to 4-inch healthy cutting with at least two internodes. Roots will form from the cutting in three ways. Here's how:

Water propagation:

  1. You'll need scissors, water, and a jar or vessel for growing the roots. A clear jar works best so you can see root growth easily. You'll eventually need a small pot and potting mix.
  2. Remove the bottom leaves from the cutting that will be submerged in water. Put the cut end in water.
  3. Place the plant in bright, indirect light.
  4. Change the water with fresh, room-temperature water every three to five days.
  5. It can take about two weeks to develop roots. Once roots grow, plant the cutting in a pot with moistened potting mix.

Soil layering:

  1. Lay the cutting on top of the soil. Ensure the stem's nodes always have contact with the ground.
  2. Within two to eight weeks, roots will emerge from the growth nodes.
  3. To increase rooting speed or success, increase the humidity by covering it with plastic and keeping the plant warm and in bright, indirect light.

Direct soil planting:

  1. To increase rooting success, submerge the cut tip in rooting hormone before planting.
  2. Plant the cut end of the cutting in a pot with moistened soil.
  3. Likewise, if your string of hearts plant has tubers (appearing like round growth on the stem), partially plant them by leaving some of the tuber exposed to the light. Roots will sprout from the tuber, starting new growth.

Potting and Repotting String of Heart Plants

In the right conditions, these plants are prolific and benefit from being repotted every few years. Although they can live pot-bound, repot them when roots poke out of drainage holes. The best time of year for repotting is summer.

Care must be taken, however, as the delicate vines can easily break. Make sure that the new pot has generous drainage holes. A terra-cotta pot would work well as it allows moisture to escape.


String of hearts plants live best in 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. These plants will die in temperatures venturing lower than 40 F. In winter months, allow the soil to dry out. It will enter dormancy. Gradually reintroduce plants to warmer temperatures and small amounts of water in the spring as the weather warms.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Common pests that tend to like string of hearts plants are mealybugs, aphids, and scale. These pests will make your plant wilt and look unhealthy if left untreated. These sap-sucking insects can be removed using insecticidal soap, neem oil, or a steady stream of water (in the case of aphids).

Common plant diseases include fungal infections like mold and root rot. An insect infestation can cause mold. Bugs can leave behind a sticky residue that rots and turns into black mold. Root rot can be avoided by ensuring the plant is in well-draining soil and in a warm, bright spot so that the plant will use the water efficiently.

How to Get String of Hearts to Bloom

If you are a fan of big, showy flowers, then the string of hearts vine might disappoint since it only has small, demure blooms. But this plant's flowers are very interesting. They are tubular and about an inch long, with a bulbous base that forms into enclosed beads, inspiring one of its common names—the rosary vine.

The flowers are a pale magenta color. They mostly bloom in the late summer and fall, although they can appear at other times throughout the year. They bloom quickly outdoors but rarely indoors. To increase the chances of bloom, keep the plant healthy, give it ample bright, indirect light, and feed it monthly fertilizer in the spring and summer.

Common Problems with String of Hearts

This easy grower is usually a hassle-free plant, but it can sometimes run into snags, causing yellowing leaves, curling leaves, or leaf drop. If you've inspected your plants for insects and ruled that out as a cause, it could be environmental factors.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves are commonly caused by overwatering or cool temperatures. Once the temperatures drop below 60 F on. a consistent basis, the plant enters dormancy. Reduce its water. Monitor soil levels by only watering when the soil is dry about an inch below the surface. Also, soggy soil can adversely affect the plant, and when left unchecked, it can eventually lead to root rot.

Dropping Leaves

Another sign of overwatering is a plant losing its leaves uncharacteristically. Also, a lack of sunlight can spur leaf drop. Check the soil to make sure it's draining. Also, add pebbles or perlite to the ground or change pots to clay or terra-cotta. These porous pots wick water, helping the plant manage overabundant watering.

Curling Leaves

You may be underwatering your plants if the leaves are curling, shriveling, or appearing dry. Schedule a regular watering routine for your plant. If you need to help an underwatered plant rebound, slowly reintroduce a little water daily for a week. Too much water too soon can shock and kill the plant.

  • Do string of hearts need sun?

    This plant prefers bright indirect light and will not thrive in shade or low-light situations.

  • Should you untangle string of hearts?

    You only need to untangle string of hearts for aesthetic reasons, helping it to look tidy and cascade beautifully.

  • Do string of hearts like big or small pots?

    String of hearts plants are smaller plants. They have fine roots that prefer shallower pots to deep pots.