A succulent-like plant that has become an absolute household staple and a popular instagrammable plant is the String of Hearts. This delicate plant will grow to create a thick curtain of magical marbled leaves. You may also know the String of Hearts by its scientific name, Ceropegia woodii.
Since this plant has become so popular, I have created an in depth guide all about String of Hearts care! This post will discuss the String of Heart’s light requirements, soil needs, growth rate and much more.
Table of contents
The String of Hearts plant originates from the southern region of the African continent. It has some specific needs and is considered to be a beginner-intermediate plant. However, it’s relatively low-maintenance once established. With minimal preparation and research, you should be able to enjoy your String of Hearts plant for several years.
- Common Name: String of Hearts, Chain of Hearts, Rosary Vine, Sweetheart Vine
- Scientific Name: Ceropegia woodii
- Mature Size: 7+ feet long
- Sunlight: bright, indirect light
- Water: when top 3 inches of soil is dry
- Soil: well-draining cactus or succulent soil
- Temperature: 60°F-80°F
- Propagation: stem cuttings
- Hardiness Zone: 9-12
- Toxicity: non-toxic to humans and pets
If you’re looking for an attractive houseplant with unique foliage to add to your collection, consider the String of Hearts plant. This plant has soared in popularity in recent years thanks to social media and current indoor decorating trends.
With trailing vines featuring delicate, heart-shaped leaves, it can make a charming addition to your living room, front porch, or outdoor garden. The String of Heart is known for its fast growth rate. Once mature, the vines can reach a length of several feet, making it a great candidate for raising in a hanging planter.
Growth Pattern and Habits
Like its name suggests, the String of Hearts looks like a series of small hearts strung on a chain. The leaves are nickel-sized and dark green with silver variegated markings. Enjoy a violet hue on the underside of the leaves.
In the late summer or fall, the String of Hearts may produce tubular, inch-long flowers with pale magenta petals. As interesting as the flowers appear, the String of Hearts’ bloom isn’t known to be very impressive when flowering, with most of the visual emphasis placed on the leaves.
A member of the Apocynaceae family, the String of Hearts is considered to be an evergreen succulent-like plant and should be treated as such. Like other succulents, the plant prefers subtropical conditions, low moisture, and generous shade. Most owners choose to keep it indoors where it’s easier to provide the right conditions. If you live in USDA planting zone 10 and above or experience little to no frost in the winter, you may be able to grow this plant outdoors, as well.
Everyone wants to know, how fast does a String of Hearts grow? Of course we all want a long, trailing plant right away. And while it does take some time, the String of Hearts growth rate is quite impressive. It grows relatively quickly, one to two feet per year when under the right conditions. Once mature, the vines can reach a length of 6-7 feet.
It is suggested that a String of Hearts plant should be repotted once every year or two or when you note roots growing out the bottom of the pot’s drainage hole. This is important to do because it allows for the roots to stretch out. Repotting also means new soil which gives the plant a much needed fresh supply of nutrients!
Expert Tip – The hardest part about repotting a String of Hearts is taking it out of its original container. To prevent damaging the plant, grasp as many stems as close to the soil as possible. Gently pull while shaking the container to loosen the soil. Before repotting in a slightly bigger pot with fresh soil, loosen the root ball to encourage good regrowth!
If you’re keeping this plant in a pot, prune regularly to keep it looking neat and groomed. Pruning long vines will also help the plant direct more energy to growing new leaves and vines, which will allow it to appear fuller.
There are numerous varieties of the String of Hearts. Check out my post that details these types of String of Hearts!
The String of Hearts needs sunlight to grow, but too much of it can scorch its delicate leaves. The best light for this plant is bright, indirect sunlight, such as the kind found in the dappled shade of a tree. Indoors, you can keep this plant near an east or west-facing window where it can be protected from the harsh afternoon sun. Outdoors, the shaded half of your yard or a spot next to a taller plant are excellent areas for planting.
You can easily tell if your String of Hearts is getting enough light by looking at its color. Under the right lighting conditions, the leaves should be dark, moss-green. If they’re pale green, your plant needs more light and should be moved closer to the light source. If they appear yellow or brown, they are getting too much sunlight and would benefit from a form of shade, such as a curtain.
Expert Tip – Along with choosing the right location, it’s also important to rotate your plant on a regular basis. Doing this ensures all the vines grow at a similar rate, which keeps your plant looking balanced. About once a month in the summer, turn your plants so the shaded side can get some extra light exposure.
If you are hoping to encourage your String of Hearts to bloom, be sure it is receiving adequate light. The plant normally produces flowers after the first year. If at this time your String of Hearts hasn’t bloomed, try moving it to an area that receives more light, while continuing to avoid exposing it to long periods of direct light.
Next let’s discuss how and how often to water your String of Hearts. The String of Hearts has small, thin roots that are extremely susceptible to root rot. It’s also a drought-hardy plant and will survive being underwatered much better than many other plants.
To make sure you’re watering often enough without overwatering, wait for the top three inches of soil to dry out completely between watering sessions. Test the soil with your finger. Doing so will indicate how often to water your String of Hearts plant. With the average rate of consumption, you can expect to water your plant about once every ten days in the summer and once or twice a month in the winter.
Another easy way to tell if your plant needs water is to feel the leaves. Firm, turgid leaves means the plant currently has enough water. Meanwhile, floppy, toneless leaves paired with bone-dry soil is a good indication that it’s time to water your plant.
Expert Tip – When should you water your String of Hearts plant? I water all of my plants in the morning, and the String of Hearts is no different. Watering in the morning gives your plant enough time to absorb the water. Excess water will evaporate in the afternoon temperatures.
Drainage is the most important aspect to consider when choosing the best soil for your String of Hearts. A commercial cactus or succulent soil mix is the easiest way to meet your String of Heart’s soil needs. I even suggest adding an extra handful of perlite or pumice to the commercial soil to increase its drainage capability.
If you only have generic potting or gardening soil available, cut its moisture retention with a good amount of perlite, pumice, or large grain sand. Along with the right soil, a pot with drainage holes will also help keep your plant alive and healthy.
Temperature and Humidity
What is considered the most ideal temperature and humidity for a String of Hearts? The String of Hearts plant grows best in the temperature range of 60-80°F. It can survive temperatures below 50°F if it’s in good health, but prolonged exposure to low temperatures is likely to damage its roots and kill the plant. In most cases, it will do just fine at room temperature in any room inside your house.
Taking humidity into consideration is another important part of String of Hearts care. Because it favors dry conditions, the String of Hearts rarely requires additional humidity aids. Some moisture is helpful overall for keeping this plant hydrated, so most experts recommend a maximum relative humidity of 40%. Again, whatever your home’s natural humidity level is will suffice.
Many people are able to raise their String of Hearts in a single pot, which means the plant draws its nutrients from the same batch of soil year after year. Because of this, fertilizing is important to make sure your plant can continue growing in the same pot.
However, the same delicate root structure that makes the plant susceptible to root rot can also be affected by the acidity of excess fertilizer. To prevent burning the roots, apply a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength once a month or every other month throughout the year when you note active growth.
If you are looking to encourage blooms, using a String of Hearts fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus is suggested. Again, dilute the fertilizer to half strength and use this during the spring and summer months.
There are numerous different methods in which to propagate a String of Hearts plant. The one I want to describe here is the easiest method of String of Hearts propagation. Check out my post dedicated to EVERYTHING about String of Hearts propagation for more methods and tips!
Propagation by Stem Cuttings
- Examine the vines of your plant for growth nodes, which are small, white bumps near the leaf stem.
- To harvest a cutting, use a pair of sterile shears to cut the vine directly below the nodes. Ideal candidates will be at least 4 inches long and have two or more leaves attached.
- Once you have your cuttings, strip off any leaves that are close to the node and prop your cuttings node-side down in a clean jar of room-temperature water.
- Place the jar in a warm, well-lit area and watch out for root growth, which should take 2-3 weeks.
- Once the roots appear, transplant the cuttings to a container of substrate and keep it watered until it appears to grow well on its own.
Once transplanted, this new plant can be given the same Ceropegia woodii care as a mature plant.
Too much watering is an easy way to trigger root rot in the String of Hearts plant. Symptoms include changes in leaf color, poor growth, and waterlogged soil. The easiest way to prevent root rot is to always test the soil for dryness before adding water to the pot. If your plant shows signs of root rot, stop watering immediately and transplant to a fresh pot of soil.
Just like any other houseplant, the String of Hearts plant can be vulnerable to infestation by common household pests including gnats, scale, aphids, and mites. Insects tend to be attracted to dampness, so sticking to your watering schedule will go a long way in keeping infestations at bay.
Remove all visible insects with an alcohol soaked cotton ball. Also consider applying a small amount of neem oil solution once a month can also repel insects without exposing your plants to harsh chemicals.
The String of Hearts is non-toxic to humans and animals. However, its trailing vines can be attractive for grab-happy toddlers. To keep your family safe, keep your potted plants well out of reach of children.
Consistent and high quality String of Hearts care is so important if you want a healthy, full plant. String of hearts care isn’t tough so don’t be scared away by its delicate features. Transform any space into a dreamy, woodland realm with the fascinating Ceropegia woodii.