How to grow and care for String of Hearts Plant Indoors

Houseplant, String of Hearts Plant

Botanical name: Ceropegia woodii
Family: Apocynaceae

String of Hearts Plant also called Rosary Vine, Chinese Lantern or Chain of Hearts is an unusual succulent which is excellent for a hanging basket. It is easy to grow but the heart-shaped leaves are sparsely spaced and the tubular flowers are insignificant. The flowers are about 1 in. long and they have a bulbous base which forms into enclosed beads which gives this plant one of its common name "Rosary Vine". The leaves are fleshy, grey-green with an eye-catching marbled pattern. The purple-colored, thin stems can grow to 3 ft. long and they easily tangle. String of Hearts is native to southern Africa.

How to Grow String of Hearts Plant (Ceropegia woodii)

Light

String of Hearts Plant prefers bright light away from direct sunlight. Keep it away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Water String of Hearts Plant liberally during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Significantly reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead in root-rot. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth between 16-250C is ideal for String of Hearts Plant. Protect the plant from cold draughts as they can cause leaf drop. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is adequate for String of Hearts Plant. It has no need for high humidity.

Feeding

Feed String of Hearts Plant with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Learn more on feeding houseplants.

Repotting

Repot String of Hearts Plant at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes pot-bound. Take care to avoid damaging the fragile stems. Use a rich, free-draining soil. Use a pot one size larger than the previous one. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging which can lead to rotting. A shallow rather than deep pot is preferable as the plant has a small root system.

Pruning

Pruning String of Hearts Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy. To encourage a bushy compact growth and to control growth, regularly pinch off the growing tips. Plant the tips in the pot to fill up the empty spaces for a fuller plant or use them to propagate new plants.

How to Propagate String of Hearts Plant (Ceropegia woodii)

String of Hearts Plant can be propagated from leaf and stem cuttings.

Propagating String of Hearts Plants from leaf cuttings
Leaf cuttings root easily, there is no need for a rooting hormone. Take leaf cuttings from a healthy String of Hearts Plant. Ensure each leaf cutting has a petiole. Allow sometime for the formation of a protective callous tissue over the cuts. Stick the petiole in moist free-draining soil. Place in warm shaded place until growth begins at the base of the petiole. Allow for substantial growth of the roots and new leaves. Transfer to individual pots and place in a cool shaded place. Maintain the soil moist until the plant is well established. For a fuller plant, plant several cuttings in one pot.

Propagating String of Hearts Plants from stem cuttings
Stem cuttings root easily, there is no need for a rooting hormone. Take stem cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy String of Hearts Plant. Ensure each cutting has at least 2 sets of leaves. Lay the cuttings on moist rooting soil. Place in warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and substantial growth has been observed. For a fuller plant plant several cuttings in one pot.

Common Problems in Growing String of Hearts Plant (Ceropegia woodii)

  • Brown leaf tips and edges
  • Brown leaf tips and edges in String of Hearts Plant are due to sudden drop in temperature from cold draughts. Remove all the damaged leaves and keep the plant away from cold draughts.

  • Sudden loss of leaves
  • There are two causes of sudden loss of leaves in String of Hearts Plant. Either the temperature is too low; move to a warmer spot or the plant has been underwatered causing the leaves to drop.

  • Dull and lifeless leaves
  • Exposing String of Hearts to hot direct sunlight will cause the leaves to become dull and lifeless. Protect the plant from hot direct sunlight or move to a shaded spot.

  • Yellowing leaves and loss of leaves
  • The reason for yellowing leaves and loss of leaves in String of Hearts Plant is overwatering. Always allow the soil to dry out between waterings and ensure the pot has a drainage hole.

  • Leaves wilted and discolored. Corky swellings under leaves
  • Waterlogging of String of Hearts Plant is the cause of wilted and discolored leaves and corky (scabs) on the underside. If not corrected in time, waterlogging can lead to Root-rot disease.

  • Diseases
  • Common diseases in String of Hearts Plants are Leaf Spot Disease and Root-rot.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in String of Hearts Plants are Spider Mites, Aphids and Scale Insects.

Toxicity

String of Hearts Plant (Ceropegia woodii) is non-toxic to both humans and pets. The plant is safe to grow in the home.

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