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Butterfly Method – String of Hearts Propagation – How To

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There are many ways to propagate String of Hearts, and I’ve detailed several methods of propagation in a separate post, but perhaps the most efficient way is what is commonly called the “butterfly method” of propagation.

I’ve created a separate post on the butterfly method so I can go a bit more into detail, so let’s get to it.

butterfly-method-string-of-hearts

WHY THE BUTTERFLY METHOD?

Why would you use the butterfly method of propagation for String of Hearts?

  • The main reason is that you will be able to maximize the plant material that you have. Every single tiny cutting will produce vines.
  • With less plant material, you will be able to get a much fuller plant.

Although it requires a little more effort versus just snipping some cuttings and placing them in water, the results will be worth it! I promise you!

It’s also an amazing method to use for the harder to obtain variegated string of hearts because you can make more plants using this method.

PROPAGATING STRING OF HEARTS USING BUTTERFLY METHOD

STEP 1: MAKE YOUR “BUTTERFLY” CUTTINGS

You can see why it’s called the butterfly method. String of hearts grows with leaf pairs all along the vines.

Simply find where each pair of leaves meets the vine (this is the node) and snip on either end of the vine.

Snip approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inches on either side (see the green lines in the photo below) and make as many cuttings as you desire.

butterfly-method-string-of-hearts

Here is one completed cutting:

butterfly-method-string-of-hearts

STEP 2: PLANT YOUR CUTTINGS

Part of the fun of propagation is that you can use quite a variety of substrates. I’ve seen many people use sphagnum moss for this step, and I will show you this as well, but I prefer to place directly in soil.

Why? For me it’s easier, because when you place the cuttings in sphagnum moss and root them, you’ll have to transfer them to soil anyway so it’s easier if you place them directly in soil to begin with.

But don’t be afraid to experiment and see what method you like the best.

SPHAGNUM MOSS METHOD

For this method, you will need some sphagnum moss and a container with a clear lid. Carryout containers with clear lids work perfectly!

You can also place the sphagnum moss in a small plastic pot and then place that in a clear ziploc bag.

To start, simply add some dry sphagnum moss in a bucket or bowl, submerge in warm water, and let it soak for 5 minutes or so.

sphagnum-moss-string-of-hearts
Soaking sphagnum moss in warm water

Take the moss out, squeeze out excess water, and place the moistened sphagnum moss in your tray.

Then gently place each cutting so that the nodes (where the leaves meet the vine) are in contact with the moss, and the leaves should be gently resting on top.

butterfly-method-string-of-hearts-moss

Lastly, place the clear lid on top and place your container in a bright location, but out of direct sun otherwise your cuttings will cook.

butterfly-method-string-of-hearts-moss

SOIL METHOD

If you don’t want to use sphagnum moss, you can plant your “butterfly” cuttings directly into a soil mix and keep them growing there.

This saves a step because you won’t have to pluck the rooted cuttings out of sphagnum moss and transfer them to soil.

For my potting mix, I used 2 parts of Espoma cactus mix plus 1 part of 1/4″ pumice. This is a general mix that I like to grow String of Hearts in.

I like to use 4 inch plastic nursery pots and fill them with this mix.

Then, simply bury each node in the mix. I would say 5-7 cuttings in each 4 inch pot is plenty. Remember, each cutting will produce vines.

Lastly, give your pots a good, thorough watering.

For my set up below, I placed all my pots in an annual flat tray, placed a humidity dome on top, and then placed it on a heating mat that is meant for plant propagation.

butterfly-method-string-of-hearts

If you don’t have this handy or don’t want to buy the equipment, you can just place the small pots in a clear ziploc bag.

I chose to place everything under a grow light which is on for 12 hours, and off for 12 hours, and use an automatic timer to control the light.

You don’t have to keep them under a grow light. You can just place them in front of a nice, bright window, with no direct sun at this point otherwise it will heat up too much and cook your cuttings.

The heating mat is optional, but it will help speed things along.

After just one week, some of the cuttings already had produced new growth! (See the green arrows in the photo below).

butterfly-variegated-string-of-hearts

TIPS FOR PROPAGATION

  • Check on your setup every day or two if you can. If anything is dried up, make sure to water. You’ll need to keep things moist for rooting to occur.
  • If you are using a clear plastic top/humidity dome, or place anything in a clear ziploc bag, open things up every 3 or 4 days or so to air things out. Let it air out for a few hours. Increasing humidity greatly helps propagation along.
  • Warmth also will speed up the rate of propagation. Although a heating mat is not required, it will certainly speed up the process.
  • Once you see that all your cutting have started to produce new vines, you can ditch the humidity dome or plastic bags and grow your plants like “normal”.
  • Keep in mind that while your plants are still small, the potting mix should be kept fairly moist. Water as soon as the surface feels dry. Once the plants get larger and more mature, you can allow the mix to dry out a bit more.

Have you tried the butterfly method before? Comment below. I’d love to hear! If you want to try other methods to propagate, check out my post that shows 5 other methods of propagation for String of Hearts.

Be sure not to miss my String of Hearts care post as well so you know how to care for your plant.

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:

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