Simple String of Hearts Plant Care | Ceropegia Woodii

Ceropegia Woodii

String Of Hearts

Ceropegia Woodii is a trailing succulent with purple stems that are long and slender. It is often aptly named the String of Hearts plant due to its heart-shaped leaves.

Approximately 0.8 inches wide and long, the leaves of Ceropegia Woodii are predominantly green, varying from light to dark depending on the amount of sunlight the plant receives. The upper surface of the leaves is overlayed with an intricate grey lace pattern and the underside is pink. 

Quick Guide

Position Part Sun, Part Shade

Watering Water thoroughly but infrequently

Size 2″ tall, 60″ long Trailing Succulent

Climate Not Cold-hardy, Zone 11a (40° F 4.5° C)

Propagate Stem cuttings, tubers, seeds

Seasonality Evergreen, Winter Dormant

Toxicity None Toxic

Flowers Tubular pink and purple flowers

Native to South Africa this ornamental vining houseplant will thrive in tropical and sub-tropical climates. With the growing popularity of the Ceropegia genus, String of Hearts plant has become a favorite trailing succulent. Also commonly known as Chain of Hearts, Sweetheart Vine, and Rosary Vine.

This succulent works particularly well in a bright room with plenty of indirect sunlight. Place on a high shelf and allow the pretty ‘String of Hearts’ delicate stems elegantly cascade downwards. Alternatively, add green, silver, and pink to a hanging basket or planter by letting the stems spill gloriously over the sides.

In late summer, watch out for the unusual tubular pink and purple flowers that appear along the length of the stems and last around 6 weeks. 

This succulent is often referred to as ‘rosary vine’ due to the appearance of tiny flowers beading along its stems. Its magnificent pinky-purple tonal effect truly is a sight to behold when fully grown.

string of hearts flowers

String of Hearts Care

Position

‘String of Hearts’ plant needs between 4 and 6 hours of bright light per day. For indoor growing, position your plant in a room with plenty of indirect sunlight. When growing outdoors, they enjoy full sun, but to thrive and reach their best, you will need to move them into the shade when the weather is particularly hot and the sun is strong.

The more direct sunlight this plant receives the darker the leaves will turn, often losing some of the delicate detailed silver veining patterns.

This is not a cold-hardy succulent, so if you live in cooler regions it’s best to plant it in a hanging container that can be transferred indoors when the weather changes and drops below 46° F / 8° C. It will survive lower temperatures, down to around 4.5° C, but you may run the risk of an unexpected cold snap or even frost. So better the take indoors went the nighttime temperature cools.

Plant Height, Spread

A mature ‘String of Hearts’ plant will grow just 2″ (5cm) in height, but trail up to 6ft (2m) in length, so be sure to leave plenty of space below for the trailing stems.

If the plant becomes untidy, or lanky, then trim the end of each stem to tidy up the growth. Don’t throw your cuttings away, use them to propagate new plants.

Watering

Like most other succulents, ‘String of Hearts’ love for their roots to be kept dry and free from excessive moisture. In fact, it will tolerate extreme drought better than wet roots. The ‘soak and dry’ method of watering will work best. This involves holding your nerve and waiting until the soil is almost completely dry before giving the plant a thorough soaking.

Alternatively use a long stem succulent or bonsai watering can. This will allow you to reach hanging succulents suspended from the ceiling without having to remove them to soak and drain.

In their natural environment succulents are used to arid, dessert-like conditions. Where plants survive extended periods without rainfall, often weeks or months. When it does rain, it really does rain, usually lasting two or three days at a time.

The soak and dry method simulates this watering cycle of extreme drought and heavy rain.

The beauty of String of Hearts succulent plants is that they are easy to grow and can tolerate abuse. Despite their delicate appearance, they can withstand some degree of neglect, including forgetting to water them from time to time.

‘String of Hearts’ is a winter dormant plant. This means that during winter you’ll need to reduce the amount of water you give your plant and how often you water it. Your plant will continue to grow during dormancy, but expect to see much slower growth than you would during the main growing season.

Don’t be tempted to use a spray bottle or mister when you’re watering your succulents. Not only will the roots of the succulent not get the required amount of water they need to hydrate. Any water that settles and remains on the leaves, can lead to disease or potentially encourage pests.

Soil

A standard succulent soil is perfectly adequate for Ceropegia Woodii. Mix two-thirds minerals such as grit, sand, and perlite, and one-third organic matter, such as a good quality peat-free compost or coco coir.

This mix will give a free-draining and aerated succulent soil, to ensure that roots are free from excess moisture. Encouraging healthy growth and preventing root rot and disease. There are also plenty of good ready-mixed cacti and succulent soils available to purchase online or at garden centers.

Flowers

Interesting 1-inch tubular flowers made up of five vertical petals that join together at the end. If the flowers are pollinated they form into horn-shaped seed pods.

Encourage flower growth during the warmer months by watering at consistent intervals, with a balanced fertilizer. Do this throughout the growing season. Use a 10-10-10 or similar N-P-K to provide a good overall nutrient feed. Use a lower concentration than the manufacturer typically recommends to avoid root damage.

Pruning

Ceropegia Woodii is a trailing succulent that will generally only grow to 2-4 feet as a houseplant, although it can grow much larger outdoors. Pruning is only necessary for aesthetic reasons to tidy the plant up if it gets straggly or untidy.

Repotting

This plant is quite happy being tightly packed into its pot. I would not be in a rush to repot it. Once you have it in an 8-10″ plant pot I would only periodically remove it from the pot to replace the soil and check the condition of the roots. Maybe thinning it out from time to time as necessary.

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How to Propagate String of Hearts Plant

String of Hearts plant is easily propagated from stem cuttings. It is also possible to propagate from tubers (these are the ‘growths’ that appear along the stems during late summer), or they can be grown from seed.

Stem Cuttings

To take a cutting from the plant using a sharp, sterile knife or pair of scissors:

  • Cut a stem as cleanly as possible and as close to the main plant as you can. 
  • Place some kitchen paper in a container or tray and put the cutting on top. There’s no need to place the cutting in the soil at this point.
  • Keep the cutting dry for the next 5 days or so to allow it to form a protective barrier or to ‘callous off’.
  • Once the callous has developed you can lay the cutting on top of a thin layer of succulent or cactus soil and wait for the roots to start to grow.  This will take a few weeks.  Water the soil only when it has completely dried out.
  • When roots appear, plant in a pot or container using succulent or cactus soil.  It’s best to mound the soil up around the newly rooted cutting so that it sits slightly proud of the pot.  Press down to secure and cover with a layer of grit.  Do not water at this point.
  • The following day water very lightly and press the soil down once more.  Position in full sun during the morning and afternoon and move into a shaded spot during the hottest part of the day.

Common Problems

String of Hearts is a fairly resilient houseplant, but from time to time you may find pests or diseases negatively affecting your plant’s development.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs can be found in crevices of plants especially around leaf nodes and stem junctions. They are humidity-loving wingless insects that feed on the sap of succulents (and other plants) using their straw-like mouths to puncture into foliage.

Their tell-tale sign is the distinctive cotton-like mass that they produce on the surface of plants.

It’s best to either prune out areas of the stems and leaves that the mealybugs have taken residence or dab them off using a cotton bud that’s been soaked in a rubbing alcohol (such as surgical spirit).

Every 10-14 days use household insect spray, detergent or soapy water to wash them away until the infestation ceases. \you can also use Neem oil to help discourage future mealybug infestations.

Aphids

Rather unsightly, but relatively easy to treat, these pests breed at super-fast speeds. These sap munchers are either green, white or black in appearance and tend to take residence in the cracks and crevices of stem junctions and leaf nodes on succulents and other plants.

Treat in a similar way to the Mealybugs by dabbing off any large clumps or groups of the aphids using a cotton bud that’s been soaked in rubbing alcohol and then spraying regularly with a detergent or any household horticultural bug spray.

Scale

Scale are static shell-like parasites that sit on the underside of the leaves and feed on the plant sap. Infestations lead to the plant looking sick and wilted. You can treat scale by using a diluted detergent or soapy water to wash them off.

Root Rot

Succulents do not like being left in wet soil for extended periods of time and they do not care for being overwatered. Both of these easy mistakes can lead to root rot and ultimately a dead plant. You’ll be able to spot the early signs of root rot with the onset of yellow, brown or rotten leaves. If this does occur, it’s important to take immediate action.

Take your plant out of the pot and gently remove the soil from the plants’ roots. Trim off any rotten or soft brown roots then carefully repot with fresh soil in a clean pot. Water thoroughly, but less frequently.

Dropping Leaves

Leaves falling is usually caused by under-watering, overwatering, or low light. Overwatering and underwatering are easy enough to identify, just check your soil and follow the watering schedule we recommend in this article.

If your watering is under control and you water once a week, then falling leaves may be caused by low light conditions. Move your plant to a brighter position, and monitor it for a few weeks.

Small Leaves

Small leaves are often the result of low light conditions. You may also have long spacings between leaves, maybe as long as 6 inches. Try moving your plant to a brighter location and look to achieve spacings between leaves of around 3 inches for healthy luscious growth.

Other Trailing Succulents

String Of Hearts Plant FAQ

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