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String of Hearts, or Ceropegia woodii, is one of the most delightful and satisfying trailing plants that you can grow indoors! It is super easy to care for, grows at a satisfying rate, and so easy to propagate! Let me teach you all my tips so keep reading all about how to care for String of Hearts.
The correct botanical name for this plant is Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii according to Kew Gardens. Some common names for this plant include String of Hearts, Rosary Vine, and Chain of Hearts.
String of Hearts or Chain of Hearts Care
This is definitely an unusual and quirky houseplant and I find it very fun to grow. Some people consider this plant a succulent, and some say it is not, but in the end, whether it is technically a succulent or not, you want to treat the plant similar to succulents when it comes to care.
1. String of Hearts Light
String of Hearts definitely is a higher light plant so give this plant at least some direct sun when growing it indoors if at all possible.
If you don’t give it enough light, what happens is that there will be more space between the leaves and this will make your plant look more spindly.
This is not the fullest, bushiest plant by nature to begin with, so having lower light will make it more sparse.
So give this plant as much sun as you can, or at least a few hours if at all possible! North facing windows (in the northern hemisphere) would be least preferable since they will not get any direct sun. An eastern or western facing window would work really well.
2. String of Hearts Soil
Like I mentioned earlier, treat this plant like a succulent. Any well-draining soil will do. There are so many different potting mediums that you can use. As long as they drain well, you are good to go!
My potting mix recommendation would be the following:
I like to use the Miracle Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus mix and add some Bonsai Jack 1/4″ pumice to the mix. This works really well for me for this plant. I also use this formula for any succulents that I grow.
I honestly don’t measure the proportions, but I would say I use roughly 1 part pumice to 2-3 parts of the soil mix.
You’ll be amazed how much the pumice will improve the drainage and aeration of your potting mix. This will allow more oxygen to your roots and help prevent root-rot.
I specifically like the pumice from Bonsai Jack because it is uniform and sifted. You may pay less for other brands, but the quality of many of them is inferior. Do it right from the start and you won’t regret it!
I also started adding horticultural activated charcoal to the potting mix whenever I repot. There are a number of reasons why activated charcoal benefits potting mixes. I always add some to every potting mix.
3. String of Hearts Watering
As far as watering goes, if you follow me closely, you know how I like to water! Water thoroughly and let all the water drain away.
Make sure you moisten all of the potting medium. Then simply wait for the potting medium to dry out (allow at least the top quarter of the potting mix to dry out ) before you water again.
Please please please water the proper way. If you need more convincing, check out my blog post on watering myths. Proper watering is one of the pillars of plant health so be sure to get it right!
Let at least the top inch or two of the potting mix dry out, before watering it again. Don’t keep it excessively dry for TOO long though otherwise you will get a lot of brown crispy leaves to clean up and your plant will become more sparse.
Too many people are scared of overwatering, a term that I really despise, because it drives the wrong behavior and makes people scared to water. If your plant is sitting in front of a nice, bright window, you should not be scared of “overwatering.”
You should always water thoroughly. Failing to do so will only cause you a host of issues and cause the demise of your plant.
In the winter when growth can slow down or completely stop, I would recommend letting it dry out completely before watering again. Don’t wait too long though otherwise you will get a lot of brown leaves. During the months of active growth, try and allow only the top quarter of the potting mix to dry out before watering again.
I will caution you against using a moisture meter. Most of them are absolute junk and they will give you very misleading results. I have steered many of my clients away from using them. I feel so strongly about not using them that I wrote a blog post on the dangers of using moisture meters.
Using your finger is the best way to judge how dry your potting mix is.
Final words on watering…NEVER let this plant sit in water and NEVER grow this plant in pots without drainage holes. That would be a complete no-no.
4. String of Hearts Fertilizer
I prefer to fertilize dilutely with every watering. That way I don’t have to remember the last time I fertilized.
I have switched to using Dyna Gro Grow fertilizer pretty much for everything now. I have used many other fertilizers in the past with success, but Dyna Gro Grow provides even better results!
This is an amazing, nutritionally complete, all purpose formulation that contains all the micro and macro nutrients that plants need to thrive. It is urea-free so it will not burn your plants.
It provides all the macro and micro nutrients that plants need and is urea-free which is another plus. You will not be disappointed with the results.
Of course, fertilizing should supplement a plant care routine that is already good. You should not use fertilizer to “fix” any cultural issues that may be absent.
5. Propagating String of Hearts
My very first String of Hearts that I grew was actually from cuttings that a friend sent me. There are a couple ways of propagating string of hearts so let me explain both ways for you!
This is the plant that I propagated just from a handful of strands. I’m actually going to chop it off a bit and propagate more so I can plant them back in the original pot and make the plant a bit fuller.
There are two good ways that you can propagate String of Hearts. You can choose whatever is easiest for you!
The first way is simply to take stem cuttings and place them in water. This is how I propagated the plant I have shown above. After a few weeks, the cuttings grew roots and then I simply potted them up! Easy peasy.
The second way is to propagate your Ceropegia woodii using the tubers that form along the stems. They can be of varying sizes. Take a look at the one on my plant below.
This is an exceptionally large tuber that formed on the stem, but it was easier to show in a photograph than a smaller one. Look for any of these along the stems.
Then you can simply lay the tuber on top of a moist potting mix. You can either leave the tuber attached to the plant while you do this (this may give you better results), or simply cut it off and lay the tuber on top of the soil mix to root.
For a more detailed post on various methods of propagating, check out my 5 Ways to Propagate String of Hearts blog post.
6. Repotting String of Hearts
I have an older string of hearts that desperately needs repotting. Another friend sent me this plant (I have great friends don’t I???) and I never changed the pot. Take a look at the woody caudex that the plant developed.
It’s going to be a doozy repotting this one! But I will do it.
When you do repot, make sure that you follow the tips for the potting mix I described earlier. The best time to repot most plants is going to be the Spring when growth starts back up.
For more tips on how I repot houseplants, be sure not to miss my repotting post with step by step details on how to properly repot a houseplant! There are some very necessary steps so don’t miss it!
STRING OF HEARTS DYING? COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS & PROBLEMS
Is your string of hearts dying or unhappy? Here are some of the most common questions and issues you might be experiencing with your plant.
Is it normal for string of hearts to grow aerial tubers?
Yes! You will eventually have your plant grow tubers right on the strands. This is perfectly normal and they can get quite large. You can either leave them be, or even use them to propagate your plant. Be sure not to miss my string of hearts propagation guide where I describe exactly how to do this.
How do I make my string of hearts fuller?
Over time, String of Hearts strands can get quite bare at the base, especially if you are inconsistent with watering. Unfortunately once a plant has lost its lower leaves, it will stay that way for the most part. You can always propagate your string of hearts and start over from scratch.
How can I get string of hearts to flower?
Light is the most important factor in getting any plant to bloom. String of Hearts normally flowers in summer and fall, but flowers can appear during other times of the year. If you’ve had your plant for at least a year and it hasn’t flowered, give it more light.
Can string of hearts take full sun?
Indoors, this plant will definitely benefit from some direct sun. This is NOT a low light plant, so be sure to give your plant at least half a day of direct sun if you can for strong growth. It can even take full sun indoors as long as you’re attentive to watering
How often should I water string of hearts?
You should never water by frequency. Water your string of hearts when the potting mix is approaching complete dryness. At that point, water thoroughly and let the water escape the drainage hole.
Why are my heart strings turning yellow?
There are numerous reasons for yellow leaves. Potting mix that has stayed wet for too long, as well as cold temperatures, are two of the many causes.
Why are my string of hearts shriveling?
When you notice brown, crispy leaves on your plant, immediately feel your potting mix. If your potting mix has gone completely dry for too long, your plant will quickly form many brown, crispy leaves. Water your plant immediately and try to be more consistent with your watering practices.
Is string of hearts toxic to cats and dogs?
This plant is non-toxic for cats and dogs.
Do string of hearts like humidity?
No extra measures to increase humidity is necessary for this plant.
Why are my string of hearts leaves curling?
Leaves will tend to curl when the potting mix is kept too dry, or if you are not watering thoroughly.
Why is my plant not growing?
Not enough light. Plain and simple. If your plant is not growing, increase your light. This is NOT a low light plant and will need to be right in front of a window for best growth.
That’s all folks! I hope you have enjoyed reading about how to care for String of Hearts, or Ceropegia woodii. It is a unique plant that should be part of any collection!
Do you have any String of Hearts? Comment below with any questions!
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