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String of Hearts Care & Propagation

Caring for ceropegia woodi (string of hearts) couldn’t be easier! Learn how to help this plant thrive with my guide.

All about caring for the delicate string of hearts

Today, we’re delving into the delightful realm of string of hearts plant care. The string of hearts plant has become super popular as a houseplant in the last decade or so, and for good reason. Their leaves look like little hearts and grow off of cascading, delicate stems. So let’s dive in and talk about its care, shall we?

String of Hearts

String of hearts care overview

  • Ceropegia woodii (string of hearts) is a trailing vine characterized by small, heart-shaped leaves.
  • Native to the arid climates of South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.
  • Prefers bright indirect light to maintain vibrant color; direct sunlight can burn foliage.
  • Allow soil to mostly dry out between sessions.
  • Plant in a well-draining cactus or succulent soil.
  • Tolerates normal household temperatures and humidity levels well.
  • Toxicity unknown; always exercise caution around children and pets.
  • Propagate easily through stem cuttings in water, moss, or soil.

String of hearts background

The string of hearts plant—also known as Ceropegia woodii—is a member of the Asclepiadaceae family and is native to South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. In its natural habitat, it grows in semi-arid regions with well-draining soil, where it usually grows as a vine around rocks or on other plants for support.

There are a few different varieties of string of hearts you may encounter while shopping for this plant. The traditional ceropegia woodii has green leaves with silverish-gray veining, while ceropegia woodii ‘silver glory’ grows leaves that have much more silver in them.

Variegated string of hearts, or ceropegia woodii ‘variegata’—is also a popular variety. It features leaves with creamy-white, yellow, and even some pink variegation, adding an extra layer of visual interest to the plant.

Variegated string of hearts
Variegated string of hearts
Silver glory string of hearts
Silver glory string of hearts

How much light does it need?

String of Hearts plants thrive in bright, indirect light. In their natural habitat, they receive a ton of light, but it’s typically filtered through other plants like bushes and trees. Mimicking this environment indoors is key to their success.

I have my string of hearts near a window where it gets plenty of indirect sunlight throughout the day. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight for prolonged periods—this can lead to sunburn and damage the foliage.

If you notice that the leaves are turning pale or yellowish, you may be giving the plant too much direct sunlight. Consider moving it to a spot where the light is filtered through a sheer curtain or diffused by other plants.

If the stems of your plant are stretching or elongating with long gaps between leaves—and if the leaf size is decreasing—it’s a sign that the plant needs more light. Leggy growth occurs when a plant is trying to adapt to lower light conditions by “reaching” for more light.

gorgeous string of hearts

How often should I water it?

This plant behaves a lot like succulents in that its leaves are thick and able to store water reserves. So sparse watering is an essential part of string of hearts care. It’s best to let the soil dry out about halfway between waterings.

I’ve got mine indoors, so that means I water it once every 7-10 days in the summer, once every few weeks in the winter once things cool off. If you’ve got your string of hearts outdoors in higher heat, you’ll obviously need to water it more often.

You can consider bottom watering your string of hearts to avoid damaging the delicate foliage (see my guide on How to Bottom Water Plants for more). I generally don’t bottom water my plants because I have never experienced issues with traditional watering, but a lot of people swear by it!

trailing String of Hearts

What is the best soil?

The best soil for string of hearts plants is well-draining and lightweight, mimicking the sandy or rocky soil they grow in naturally. A good potting mix for these plants should provide aeration and allow excess water to drain freely, preventing the roots from becoming waterlogged and prone to rot.

A succulent or cactus mix is a great choice. These mixes are specifically formulated with a combination of materials like sand, perlite, or pumice to ensure air flow, water flow, and lightweight moisture retention without becoming waterlogged.

String of Hearts

Temperature & humidity needs

String of hearts plants do well in all normal household temperatures and prefer between 60 and 75F during the day. They can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures at night, but avoid extremes or sudden fluctuations in temperature. These can occurs when plants are near draft windows, exterior doors, and heating/cooling units.

While they are adaptable to typical indoor humidity levels, they appreciate slightly higher humidity. Aim for a relative humidity level of around 40% to 60% if you can manage it. The best way to increase humidity around a plant is to add a room humidifier. That said—in my experience—string of hearts grows beautifully with no added humidity in my super dry house!

String of Hearts Care

Growth rate & repotting

In deal growing conditions, I would say that the string of hearts is a rather prolific grower. It can trail well over 10 feet when grown in the right conditions outdoors. As a houseplant, it typically can grown at least several feet long.

They also generally prefer to be slightly root-bound, meaning they don’t require frequent repotting. I recommend repotting your plant once the roots begin growing out of the pot’s drainage holes. Or, if your plant seems to be suffering with no other obvious caught and the roots are taking up a lot of space in the pot, it’s probably time to size your pot up an inch with some fresh soil.

Ceropegia woodii leaves

Is it toxic?

I have not found a solid source outlining the toxicity of ceropegia woodii. Therefore, I recommend keeping it away from pets and kids who may have a bit of a nibble. I even recommend this for plants that aren’t toxic because most houseplants are ornamental and not meant to be ingested. It’s usually better to err on the side of caution.

Flowering

In my experience, flowering on a string of hearts is relatively common. The flowers are small, tubular-shaped, and typically are pale pink to mauve. The flowers emerge from the leaf axils along the trailing stems of the plant. If your plant flowers and you aren’t a big fan, you can simply pluck them off.

flower on a string of hearts

Propagating from cuttings

Much like many other houseplants, string of hearts is fairly simple to propagate. Propagation can be done through cuttings in water, cuttings in soil, or through tuber/leaf propagation. The first step to propagating cuttings is to take a good cutting from a healthy plant.

Propagating in water

To propagate in water, I recommend taking a clipping that’s roughly 6 inches long with a few sets of leaves. Remove the bottom set of leaves so that the bottom few inches of the cutting are bare. Be really careful when removing the leaves; the stems are so thin and fragile, and you don’t want to break them.

Place the bare end of the cutting into a small container of water. I like using test tubes to propagate and even made a test tube propagation station to keep things organized. Ensure the bare end remains submerged in water and the roots should emerge within a week or so. Super fast rooter!

Once the roots are at least an inch or so long, you can plant the cutting in well-draining soil and water. Keep the soil evenly moist for another week or so to encourage further root development, then begin to water the plant as normal. Ensure it gets plenty of light and you’ll soon see new growth.

Ceropegia woodii leaves

Propagating in moss and perlite

For this process, I recommend using smaller cuttings and laying them out over moss. Mix the moss with perlite and make sure it’s damp but not wet. Them put the mixture and cuttings either under a plastic baggie or in a DIY plant propagation box.

Doing so helps to keep humidity high. You don’t want to let the moss dry out completely. It’s the humidity that helps the plants sprout those roots! Make sure to take the baggie or lid off of your propagation every few days to air things out, though. Otherwise, the cuttings will be susceptible to rotting. For more on this topic, see my guide for sphagnum moss and perlite propagation.

string of hearts cuttings
string of hearts cuttings rooting in moss
string of hearts cuttings rooting in moss

In conclusion…

The string of hearts plant stands out not only for its charming appearance but also for its straightforward care routine. This plant’s natural habitat offers valuable insights into its care requirements, including the need for well-draining soil, ample sunlight, and occasional periods of drought to mimic its native conditions.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with the string of hearts or any tips you’ve discovered along the way! Share your stories in the comments below, and happy planting 🙂

Pin my string of hearts care tips!

collage of plants that says all about growing string of hearts

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