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How to Care For String of Hearts (Ceropegia Woodii)

Last Updated on October 10, 2022 by Plant Mom Care

Ceropegia Woodii or String of hearts, indigenous to Zimbabwe and South Africa is an attractive low-maintenance plant widely grown for its eye-catching heart-shaped leaves variegated with gray. It bears pale magenta flowers in summer when growing under ideal conditions and is a fast-growing and long-lived plant.

This evergreen succulent vine is about 2 inches tall with a spread of more than 20 feet and is perfect for growing in pots on window ledges or hanging baskets. The vines are thin and string-like with a unique purple color.

Although it is commonly cultivated as a houseplant, this plant is occasionally grown as ground cover spilling down walls in warmer climates and rock gardens.


String of Hearts Light Requirements

This plant grows well under bright filtered sunlight and will not survive low-light conditions. Direct sun can also burn the leaves. Bright indirect light helps increase the variegation of the leaves. 

how to care for string of hearts plant

If there are large gaps between the leaves the plant might not be getting sufficient light. Rotate the plant occasionally to promote even growth and clean the leaves frequently to help the plant photosynthesize efficiently. When cleaning or dusting the leaves, inspect the undersides to watch for pests.


String of Hearts Watering

Although this plant is tolerant to drought it prefers frequent watering to several other succulents. Let the soil dry in between watering and water it deeply. Overwatering can make the leaves turn yellow and bring on root rot. The plant must not sit in standing water, this will kill it fast so good drainage is very important.

The leaves of this plant retain water and this helps it survive dry conditions, but if the leaves look wilted and shrunken it’s a sign that it needs water.

Water it 1 to 2 times weekly in spring and summer and once every second week in fall and winter when it becomes dormant. 


String of Hearts Humidity

It likes good air circulation to thrive and doesn’t appreciate high humidity levels when it becomes dormant in winter.


String of Hearts Temperature

This plant thrives in temperatures between 60 – 80°F and doesn’t grow well in cold winters. Make sure the plant isn’t exposed to prolonged temperatures below 41°F although it can handle short drops in temperature as low as 20°F. Intense temperatures above 80°F should also be avoided. 


String of Hearts Soil

This plant thrives in well-draining cacti soil mixes. While they appreciate rich soil, the plant will become straggly if the soil is too rich if you use regular potting mix, amend it with pumice or perlite to promote good drainage.


String of Hearts Repotting

In good conditions, these plants are prolific growers and will benefit from repotting every few years in spring or summer. Make sure the new pots have substantial drainage holes.

string of hearts plant care indoor

Smaller plants should be repotted every 12 or 18 months in a slightly larger pot to give them room to grow. To limit the size of the plant, reuse the same container after changing the soil and trimming down the roots and foliage. 

Larger can be repotted in 2 years or so, repotting must be done carefully as the vines are delicate and can easily break. 


String of Hearts Propagation

This plant is usually propagated by cuttings and by layering.

The easiest way is propagating it by layering. When the plant finishes flowering, inspect the vine for aerial tubers that look bead-like, which easily take root where they contact the soil. Prepare a small pot of damp soil and simply drape a vine on the pot, making sure a tuber touches the soil. 

You can use unraveled paper clips to keep the vine from accidentally moving. Continue watering the pot for about a month and soon you will see roots growing from the tuber into the soil. Once the new plant and roots are growing strongly, simply cut away the stem to separate it from the mother.

If you can’t wait for tubers to form, you can propagate new plants from cuttings; however this can take months and it’s better to take many cuttings since chances of succeeding are limited.

Take several 6 – 7 inch cuttings from a stem cutting each below a leaf. 

Remove any lower leaves and insert the cuttings in water. Refresh the water every week until the cuttings have developed good root systems – – this might take several weeks. 

Now transplant the cuttings into pots filled with well-draining cacti soil, and water well. Keep the plants well watered until they are growing strongly, then reduce the watering to normal levels.

Additional Care

This plant will benefit from regular feeding with a fertilizer specially designed for succulents or cacti that has a lower nitrogen content since too much nitrogen will make plant tissue very soft.

Pruning is recommended in spring if the vines grow unruly or if you want to control the growth of the plant, save the cuttings to propagate new plants.

String of Hearts Common Problems

Pests such as aphids, mealybugs, or scale can often attack this plant if growing conditions are neglected. Check the plant regularly, not forgetting under the leaves. 

Aphids – these sap-sucking pests feed off plant tissue. They are tiny and difficult to spot and breed fast so you have to control them fast. Spray water on the leaves and use neem or any other horticultural oil to eliminate them. 

Mealybugs look like cotton and frequently leave a sticky residue on plants. They can spread from and to other plants therefore, isolate infected plants to keep them from spreading. 

They also suck sap from leaves and stems making the leaves curl and turning the leaves yellow. Wash the plant with insecticidal soap and swab any pests that remain with diluted rubbing alcohol. Repeat this every two weeks until no pests can be found.

Scale pests also love to suck sap. They excrete honeydew on plants which often leads to black mold infecting the plant. Scale infestation leads to plants looking wilted and unhealthy. Use insecticidal soap and neem oil to eradicate these pests. If there is fungus or mold use a solution of baking soda, water and spray it on the plant. 

Large gaps in between leaves suggest that the plant is growing under low light. Move the plant to a brighter spot.

Yellow leaves and root rot indicate over-watering. Always let the soil dry completely before watering again.

Wilted and shrunken leaves suggest the plant is underwater. Stick to the recommended schedule to prevent this.

Burnt or crispy leaves suggest the plant is exposed to too much direct sunlight – move it under bright indirect light away from direct sunlight.

Is it challenging to care for strings of hearts?

This is a robust plant and inexperienced gardeners can have success growing it as it tolerates periods of neglect. With the right temperature, water, and suitable light, this plant will thrive and will flower profusely.

Is string of hearts a fast grower?

This small plant can grow rapidly if it is properly maintained.

Does the strings of hearts prefer small pots?

These plants prefer shallow pots to deep ones because their fine root structure along with a free-draining potting mix helps them thrive.

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