Ceropegia woodii, also known as chain of hearts plant or rosary vine, is a lovely small houseplant appreciated for its heart-shaped leaves and trailing growth. The perfect choice for a hanging basket and, luckily, not difficult to grow at all!
Keep reading for everything you need to know about string of hearts care.
|Name(s) (common, scientific)||String of hearts, chain of hearts, rosary vine, collar of hearts, hearts on a string, sweetheart vine, Ceropegia woodii|
|Recommended lighting||Some direct sun|
|Water||Let dry a little|
String of hearts care
Though not a true succulent, Ceropegia woodii is able to store quite a bit of water in its stem and wonderfully patterned leaves. It’s naturally found in the southern parts of Africa and is fully adapted to grow on hillsides and other ‘vertical’ habitats.
This gives us a few good string of hearts care indications. Most importantly, it’s a good idea to treat the species somewhat like a succulent.
This means it’s preferable to use a well-draining soil mix, let the soil dry out at least partly before watering again and provide direct sun if possible.
String of hearts plant light and temperature
In its natural habitat, there are few trees and other plants to shelter Ceropegia woodii from the harsh African sun. As a result, it has evolved to withstand and even appreciate quite a bit of light.
It likes similar conditions in the home, so be sure to place your string of hearts in a location that gets at least a few hours of sun every day. Without the light it needs this plant will quickly start looking pale, sparse and just not very happy at all.
A string of hearts does fine at room temperature. As a result of its adaptation to warm areas it doesn’t react well to cold. To prevent issues, bring it inside well before any frost if you grow your succulents outside.
Additionally, be sure to protect your string of hearts plant from drafts and keep it away from icy windows during the Winter months!
String of hearts plant soil and planting
As discussed earlier, Ceropegia woodii needs well-draining soil and won’t respond well to constantly wet feet. A regular succulent soil mix should work well for this plant. You can buy this at any garden center or just combine equal parts potting soil and perlite to create a light, airy and fast-draining mixture.
Because water standing in your string of hearts’ planter can quickly cause tuber rot, be sure to always use a container with a drainage hole.
Regular old terracotta planters allow extra water evaporation through the porous sides, which makes them a great option for plants like this one. These terracotta pots come with a handy saucer.
Watering string of hearts plant
Although Ceropegia woodii needs a bit more water than ‘real’ succulents, it’s still quite important to prevent overwatering. The plant’s roots are not used to standing in water and easily succumb to rot if you overdo things.
During the growing months (Spring through early Fall) when the plant is regularly producing new leaves and maybe even a few flowers, you can water it when the soil is mostly dry. This should probably come down to around once a week, although your mileage will vary according to the conditions your plant is growing in.
During Winter, when your string of hearts is mostly dormant, much less water is needed. A little moisture once the soil is almost fully dry should be enough to keep it alive until Spring rolls back around.
Because it has evolved to grow in arid habitats, the string of hearts plant doesn’t require much air moisture to stay happy. As such, when it comes to humidity, this is a good choice for areas in your home that might be a bit too dry for tropical houseplants.
String of hearts plant fertilizer
If it’s is happily growing (during spring and summer) you can optimize your string of hearts care by feeding it once a month or so. You can use a diluted regular houseplant fertilizer.
Don’t feed during the winter months: plants that aren’t putting out new leaves don’t need fertilizer and the excess can actually cause root burn.
How to propagate string of hearts
A healthy Ceropegia woodii should regularly produce little white tubers on its stems. In the wild these allow the plant to spread by rooting on whatever surface they can find and forming new growth there. You can use the same method at home!
Just remove a tuber and place it on top of a new pot with the same fast-draining soil mixture you used for the mother plant. Water sparingly and keep the tuber away from direct sun until you see new growth.
Although string of hearts propagation using stem tubers is easiest, you can also use stem cuttings. Just cut good sized portions off the main plants stem and put these in a moist, well-draining soil mixture. You’ll know your propagation attempt has been successful when you start seeing new growth appear on the cuttings.
Want to know more about the different methods of string of hearts propagation and how to go about doing so? You can find a full article on Houseplant Central: how to propagate string of hearts.
Buying string of hearts plant
Ceropegia woodii is a relatively common houseplant and you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding it. You can even easily buy one online here!
Selective cultivation has lead to the production of several lovely string of hearts plant cultivars. Some of these have lovely variegated leaves with cream or even pink coloration.
Is string of hearts plant toxic to cats and dogs?
The string of hearts plant is safe for cats, dogs other pets and humans.
Do keep in mind that those long, stringy stems are probably irresistible to cats! Hang/place your Ceropegia woodii far out of their reach to prevent trouble.
If you have any more questions about string of hearts care or want to share your own experiences with this romantic plant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!