String of hearts care & info | Ceropegia woodii

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
Difficulty level Easy
Recommended lighting Some direct sun
Water Let dry a little
Soil type Well-draining

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 houseplant on white shelf | All about string of hearts care
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String of hearts plant light and temperature

Light

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.

Temperature

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!

Chain of hearts plant in square white planter.

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.

Vines of chain of hearts plant against wooden surface.

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.

String of hearts houseplant (Ceropegia woodii) in white planter

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!


27 thoughts on “String of hearts care & info | Ceropegia woodii”

  1. Thanks. That is really helpful information. I’ve just purchased my first chain of hearts.
    Could you tell me the best way to “thicken” out a pot?
    I’ve got 7 strands, the longest being 67cm long. It’s in a tiny 8.5cm diameter pot.
    I understand that it will take a few years for it to mature but I’d like to think that there will be more than 7 strands in two or three years time.
    Will the plant put out new shoots from the top? Or will I have to give it helping hand?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi! I’m glad the post was helpful.

      So your chain of hearts might put out some more strands but I wouldn’t count on that filling out the pot that much more. I’m gonna refer you to the article on Ceropegia woodii propagation here: the best way to thicken vining plants is to just take cuttings at the bottom and pop them back into the planter. With chain of hearts, you can also replant tubers if you find any on the existing vines (but a plant might need to be a bit more mature for that).

      I hope that helps, good luck with the plant 🙂

      Reply
  2. I just got this plant. It’s was doing well at my east facing window sill but I made a macrame holder so that I could hang it a few feet away from my south facing window. Still gets bright indirect light all day long so I didn’t think it would bother the plant, but the new hearts are starting to curl. Do I need to move it back to the window? Or is it something else?

    Reply
    • Okay, so, I’m thinking in this case the fact that its leaves started curling is not or only marginally related to the move. Curling leaves suggest a problem related to moisture to me. Have you checked that you’re watering the plant enough but also that it’s draining right? Although the chain of hearts should be watered less than normal houseplants it’s not exactly at succulent level either. Also, if it’s summer where you are, did you check the humidity in your home? They’re not exactly desperate for humidity but if it really is bone dry (from aircon in summer or something similar) that might not be helping.

      I hope that helps, it can be such a challenge to figure out what is wrong with our plants!

      Reply
  3. My string of hearts grows leaves very close together, around 2/3cm apart! It doesn’t get any direct light but is placed around 5ft back from a west facing window so bright light throughout the day. I previously had a different chain of hearts which got around 3 hours of direct sun a day and those leaves were 1cm apart each… What am I doing wrong! My new plant I only got a week ago and it’s already started growing new leaves really close together. Is this too much light still??

    Amy

    Reply
    • Hi Amy,

      I have to admit that I’m not 100% sure I see your problem here. You mention the leaves grow close together, is that something you see as an issue? The leaves on a string of hearts being close together is a sign that the plant is healthy and doing well, if the leaves are sparse the plant isn’t getting enough light. If you look up photos of nursery-grown Ceropega woodii plants you’ll see that the leaves are very close together and super bushy.

      Sounds like everything is going well. Sorry if I misunderstood though!

      Reply
  4. This probably sounds ridiculous but I can never tell with my succulents or semi-succulents whether I’m under or over-watering them. I seem to kill every one I have, regardless of what I do! I try to give them nice containers, well-drained soil, and have tried watering every week, every two weeks, less often in winter, and also tried more regular misting with a spray to the soil rather than watering over a sink and draining.
    Could you give me any idea what I could be doing wrong? Could the fact that most are on windowsills be the problem??
    I feel like a murderer every time I look at my poor plants and want to be better at keeping them healthy!! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Joanna,

      Gosh, so sorry you’re having so little luck so far. I can’t diagnose your plants over the internet, but I can ask you a few questions that might lead you to some insights. First off, where do you buy these plants? If you’re killing EVERY one of them that sounds a little suspicious to me, as some species really are very hardy and it doesn’t really sound like you’re doing anything horribly wrong. Were they completely healthy down to their roots when you got them?

      More importantly, did you do an “autopsy” after the subjects passed away to pinpoint the cause of death? For example, if the roots are gross and mushy that points to an entirely different problem than if they looked completely dried out and dead.

      Without a clear cause of death it’s going to be difficult to figure out what you need to change to keep these guys alive. Next time one passes away (hopefully not anytime soon), you could try sending me a photo of the entire thing including the roots. Or even better – post it in the Houseplant Central Facebook group here so other growers can chime in too, they know much more than just me alone.

      Don’t worry, we’ll figure this out! Hope you have better luck from now on. 🙂

      Mari

      Reply
  5. Oh thanks Mary L Fey for the information about the pointy seed pods! I was wondering why they would have two sorts of seed pods because surely the flowers are the things that hold the seeds? And it’s the first time I’ve ever seen these. How long did yours take to open? Mine have been closed up for months now.

    Reply
  6. the 2 long pointy things are seed pods! my plant got them and when they opened, little floaters like milkweeds have came out with little black seeds on the bottom.

    Reply
  7. I have one of these plants on my windowsill at home, it definitely gets the right amount of sunlight a day and usually only gets watered when I do the succulents. Recently I’ve noticed the leaves have gone a little wrinkly, does anybody know what causes this?

    Reply
  8. Hi I have a beautiful very very long Chain of Hearts Vine. I am moving and knowing how tangled it can become! I was wondering if it’s okay to prune it to a much shorter length for the long drive ahead! Maybe you have some other ideas!

    Reply
  9. My chain of hearts plant has grown a very strange thing at the end of one of the chains. It consists of 2 long, hard, pointy pieces at right angles to each other. About 3-4 cams long. Does anyone know what these are?

    Reply

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