If you are looking for an easy-to-care-for, unique, and attractive houseplant, then you can't go wrong with the string of heart plant (Ceropegia woodii).
This evergreen, succulent, trailing vine is perfect for planting in hanging baskets or in pots on shelves or window sills. It is a long-lived and fast-growing plant, and the sprawling vines can hang down several feet once they are mature.
The heart-shaped, fleshy, gray-green foliage has an eye-catching marbled pattern and the thin, string-like vines have a distinctive purple shade.
If you are a fan of big, showy flowers, the string of hearts vine won't be for you. The blooms on this plant are still interesting, though. Tubular and around an inch-long, they have a bulbous base and form into enclosed beads which informs one of its common names - the rosary vine.
The flowers usually have a pale magenta coloring and, although they tend to bloom most profusely in the late summer and fall, they can also appear at other times throughout the year.
|Botanical Name||Ceropegia woodii|
|Common Name||String of hearts, Rosary vine, Chain of hearts, Chinese lantern|
|Plant Type||Succulent, Vine, Evergreen|
|Mature Size||2-5 cm. tall, 2 - 4 m. wide spread|
|Sun Exposure||Partial Sun|
|Soil Type||Well-drained, Fertile|
|Soil pH||Acidic, Neutral|
|Bloom Time||Summer, Fall|
|Flower Color||White to a pale purplish-red|
|Hardiness Zones||9 - 12, USA|
|Native Area||Southern Africa|
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.
Positioning your string of hearts plant somewhere that it will receive bright, but dappled, filtered sunlight will see the best results in terms of growth and flower production.
String of heart plants thrive in well-drained cacti potting mixes. Although they appreciate decent fertility, if the mix is overly rich, the plants can become straggly-looking.
If you are using an ordinary potting mix, it will need additions of things like pumice or perlite to ensure it has sufficient drainage.
Although the string of hearts is drought-tolerant, it does like more frequent watering than many other succulent species. Let the soil dry in between waterings and then provide a deep watering. Too much water can result in swollen foliage, leaf drop, and the growth-habit can become messy.
It's vital that your string of hearts plant isn't left in standing water. This is a quick way to kill them off, and 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, particularly if they have not retained sufficient moisture.
Equally though, string of hearts plants are not fans of intense heat. Warm temperatures and good air circulation produce best results. These plants don't appreciate high humidity in their winter dormancy phase.
Your string of hearts plant will appreciate regular feeding with a fertilizer specifically designed for succulents. This will be one that isn't high in nitrogen as too much of this can result in the plants becoming overly soft.
Propagating String of Heart Plants
String of heart plants are generally propagated by stem cuttings rather than through seed germination. Sourcing seeds is difficult.
Using the stem cutting method is easy and generally sees good success. Cuttings with at least two internodes on them usually take root in anywhere from a fortnight to two months. The tubers that form along the stem and even single leaves can also be used for propagation.
Just be sure that the potting medium is kept moist and is positioned somewhere that is warm and has bright but filtered light. Cuttings can also initially be sat in water. Once the roots have formed, they can then be transplanted into the potting medium.
Potting and Repotting String of Heart Plants
In the right conditions, these plants are prolific and, consequently, they benefit from being repotted every few years. Care must be taken, however, as the delicate vines can easily break. Make sure that the new pot has generous drainage holes.