It’s the ideal hanging plant, with its heart-shaped leaves growing on thin vines that can eventually trail for feet and feet. But what do you do when your string of hearts (also known as Ceropegia woodii) gets a little too long or too scraggly?
Hanging plants can lose a bit of their charm after a while, but fear not! The solution to these issues consists of simple propagation, which allows you to shorten the vines, root them and place them back in the original pot or create an entirely new plant.
How? Keep reading to find out how to propagate string of hearts to create infinite rooted vines.
Propagating string of hearts | Water method
My favorite propagation method is water propagation. It’s easy, almost always works and allows you to see how far along the rooting process is. I also just love the look of pretty glass vases all around the house.
- If you want to propagate your string of hearts using the water method, all you need is a little vase, clean scissors and some water. Simply snip off the vine pieces you want to root and place them in the vase.
- That’s it. All you need after this is some patience and a nice light, warm location to place the vase.
- If all is well, roots should appear after anywhere between a few days and a few weeks. How long it takes depends on factors like light and temperature.
- After the vines have rooted you can pot up your plant as described in the string of hearts care guide or just leave them in the vase indefinitely.
Propagating string of hearts | Soil method
Prefer your plants in pots rather than vases? The soil method is another super easy way to propagate your string of hearts. It comes in especially handy when your plant has gotten too long or scraggly and you want to shorten it or give it a fuller look in the same pot.
How do you do it?
- Well, as with the water method this is quite easy. Just snip off the vines the way you prefer.
- Remove some leaves on the side you want to plant and stick the vines into the soil. Make sure at least a few nodes (tiny bumps on the vine that leaves or roots can grow from) are covered in soil or at least touching it.
- Then, spray the parts that touch the soil once a day or so to encourage rooting.
- Voilà! Once roots have appeared you’re good and new growth should start to pop up soon as well.
Not sure what kind of soil a string of hearts needs? It’s described in the guide to string of hearts care.
Did you know? String of hearts leaf propagation (using a single leaf) is technically possible, but the success rate isn’t very high. If you can obtain a longer vine, that’s usually a much better bet.
Propagating string of hearts | Tuber method
If you’ve had your string of hearts for a while you might have spotted some small, round and almost “potato-like” growths on the vines. Parasites? Disease? No, aerial tubers!
These useful beads can actually be used to propagate your plant.
- To propagate a string of hearts using the tuber method, try to find the largest tuber that’s on the plant. A fingernail-sized specimen would be a great option.
- Once you’ve located a tuber, there are two options. One is to just leave the tuber on the vine and press it into the soil. This has almost a 100% chance of success: the tuber will root and start sprouting more vines.
- If you want to remove the tuber from the main vine, try to at least leave some foliage on it. Place the tuber in a pot with soil.
- Whichever method you go for, mist daily to keep the soil lightly moist.
- After a few weeks the tuber will likely have rooted. Remember: this can take quite a bit longer if you’re propagating in winter than in summer.
- If your tuber rooted but taking its time to produce vines, don’t worry! It’s likely working hard underground to strengthen the root system first.
Growing string of hearts from seed
If your string of hearts is happily chugging along and growing well, it may flower. The blooms aren’t much to look at (they’re small and actually a bit phallic in shape), but they can produce seed you can use to grow brand new plants. It’s a project for the patient and other propagation methods are definitely a lot more efficient, but how cool is it to be able to say you grew your very own houseplants from seed?!
The seed pods are long, woody and forked into two directions. If you see one, leave it alone. It’ll open up on its own to reveal little seed parachutes ready to be carried off by the wind, similar to dandelion seeds. You can plant these in spring or summer.
Here’s how you grow a string of hearts from seed:
- Whip out a seedling tray, preferably one that comes with a humidity dome to hold in moisture like a mini greenhouse.
- Fill up the containers with a succulent soil mix and sow the seeds. You can use tweezers to place 1-2 seeds per container on the soil and very lightly cover them so they don’t blow away.
- Moisten the soil, using a spray bottle so you don’t disturb the seeds too much.
- Place the propagator in a nice and warm spot that receives bright indirect light and be patient.
- Ceropegia woodii seeds are actually quite vigorous, so it shouldn’t be too long before you see the first signs of life.
- You can remove the humidity dome once the seedlings pop out of the soil. Keep them lightly moist until they have a few leaves, at which point you can switch to a normal string of hearts watering schedule.
String of hearts care
Similarly to a lot of houseplants, string of hearts plants do best in bright, indirect sunlight. But unlike a lot of houseplants, they also appreciate a few hours of direct sun, since they are naturally found in the southern parts of Africa where there is plenty of light to go around.
Look for the sunniest part in your house and make sure that your plants get around 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. If your plants don’t get enough sunlight, you may notice them getting paler and scraggly.
If you’re struggling with getting enough direct sunlight for your plants, especially during wintertime, you can look into getting a grow light to help.
String of hearts plants can handle being kept at room temperature, although they actually prefer being even warmer.
One thing the species won’t tolerate is cold drafts, so be sure to keep your plants away from drafty windows and A/C.
String of hearts plants must be kept in well-draining soil, since they originate from dry regions and don’t do well when left in standing water.
A general succulent mixture typically does the job, although you can mix in some extra perlite to make the substrate extra light and airy.
Although string of hearts plants like to be watered more often than “real” succulents, overwatering can lead to serious problems, such as tuber rot. To avoid tuber rot, along with choosing or mixing the appropriate soil, make sure to only use pots with drainage holes to allow the water to pass fully through.
As for the watering schedule itself, you may only need to water once a week during the growing season (spring to fall). These plants like to be left a little dry between watering and are more forgiving if you miss watering them sometimes.
In the winter, you may be able to go even longer without watering. You can even let plants stay almost completely dry until the growing season rolls back around.
Unlike tropical houseplants, string of hearts plants don’t need a lot of humidity to stay healthy. While they appreciate some, they’re not as demanding, so can be kept in drier areas in the house that other houseplants may not tolerate as much.
If your string of hearts plants are busy putting out lots of new growth during the growing season, you can feed them a diluted general houseplant fertilizer once a month or so.
It’s not recommended to use fertilizer during the winter when the plants aren’t growing as fast. That’s because any unused fertilizer can actually burn the roots.
Are string of hearts plants toxic to cats and dogs?
Sources report that ingestion of string of hearts will not harm your pets.
As always, you should keep plants away from pets and children, just to play it safe. Cats, in particular, seem to love the dangling vines, which look a lot like strings to play with!
Bitten by the propagation bug? Have a look at the propagation category on Houseplant Central for more propagation inspiration.