String of Hearts

OFFICIAL NAME

Ceropegia woodii

ALSO KNOWN AS

Chain of Hearts, Rosary Vine, Heart Vine

ORIGINS & CLIMATE

Southern Africa | Subtropical

ABOUT THE
PLANT

Distinguished for their garland-like trailing stems with adorable little leaves that resemble hearts! The coloration can vary from solid green (often with contrasting veining) to a green/white marbled look on the front and a delightful pink hue on the back.

HOW MANY GREEN THUMBS?

moderate, bright indirect, direct, drought tolerant, great lengths, cascading, shelf, hanging, cactus or succulent, subtropical, variegation, color, plump, heart-shape, compact

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String of Hearts

The basics

Water Needs

Water thoroughly when soil is about 50% to entirely dry. Avoid overwatering at all costs. Watering may be even less frequent during winter months or in less light.

Water

Preferred Light

Primarily bright, indirect light with a few hours of direct light is ideal for a happy, thriving String of Hearts.

Light

Humidity Needs

While not at all bothered about high humidity, your String of Hearts will appreciate the occasional misting, which helps remove dust from their leaves.

Humidity

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but generally prefers the warmer side. May complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Temperature

Toxic or Not?

Generally considered pet safe, but can cause vomiting or nausea if consumed in huge quantities.

Toxicity

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant's vines will grow to around 2-3 ft long (when mature and with enough light)!

Size

Overall Look

A very low jumble of vining stems quickly creep out and waterfall over the edge of their planter. Each string-like stem takes on the appearance of a garland with tiny little heart-shaped leaves attached. Works best in a hanging planter or high shelf.

Format

Leaf Look

Cute little leaves that resemble plump, rounded hearts! The coloration can vary from solid green (often with contrasting veining) to a green/white marbled look on the front and a delightful pink hue on the back.

Leaf Shape

Pro Tip

When keeping your String of Hearts in less than ideal light, you may notice new growth looks a bit straggly and thin with each new leaf spread out far from the last. Try improving the light and trimming back the thin growth—this will promote bigger leaves that are closer together!

Pro Tip

Did You Know?

You may occasionally spot strange brown growths forming along the vines. These balls are tuberous growths that can be rooted to propagate!

Fun Fact

Water

|

Allow half of soil to dry out before watering again.

Water Needs

Water thoroughly when soil is about 50% to entirely dry. Avoid overwatering at all costs. Watering may be even less frequent during winter months or in less light.

Light

|

Bright, indirect to direct light.

Preferred Light

Primarily bright, indirect light with a few hours of direct light is ideal for a happy, thriving String of Hearts.

Humidity

|

Not too concerned by humidity levels.

Humidity Needs

While not at all bothered about high humidity, your String of Hearts will appreciate the occasional misting, which helps remove dust from their leaves.

Temperature

|

Can adapt, but doesn't like sudden change.

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but generally prefers the warmer side. May complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Toxicity

|

Mildly toxic to humans and pets if ingested.

Toxic or Not?

Generally considered pet safe, but can cause vomiting or nausea if consumed in huge quantities.

Size

|

Long trailing vines.

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant's vines will grow to around 2-3 ft long (when mature and with enough light)!

Format

|

Cascading tendrils create a mane-like look.

Overall Look

A very low jumble of vining stems quickly creep out and waterfall over the edge of their planter. Each string-like stem takes on the appearance of a garland with tiny little heart-shaped leaves attached. Works best in a hanging planter or high shelf.

Leaf Shape

|

Rounded hearts in a variegated green.

Leaf Look

Cute little leaves that resemble plump, rounded hearts! The coloration can vary from solid green (often with contrasting veining) to a green/white marbled look on the front and a delightful pink hue on the back.

Pro Tip

|

The cure for straggly thin growth is more light.

Pro Tip

When keeping your String of Hearts in less than ideal light, you may notice new growth looks a bit straggly and thin with each new leaf spread out far from the last. Try improving the light and trimming back the thin growth—this will promote bigger leaves that are closer together!

Fun Fact

|

Don't worry if you see some tuberous growths...

Did You Know?

You may occasionally spot strange brown growths forming along the vines. These balls are tuberous growths that can be rooted to propagate!

Beyond The Basics

Soil & Potting

Thrives in an airy, light, fast-draining potting mix—you can use a good quality potting mix labeled for succulents/cactus or supplement a standard indoor mix with an equal quantity of pumice or horticultural grit. Ensure the pot has the appropriate drainage and don't forget to pour out any excess water collected in the drainage tray or cachepot.

Repotting

Try to repot every 2-3 years in the spring, especially when tending to a younger plant. Increase the pot size by about 2 inches each time or until you're satisfied with the size. It's still important to repot at this stage, but it'll be an exercise of refreshing the soil, keeping the pot size the same, and possibly doing some root trimming to restrict the plant's growth. More on repotting here.

Feeding

If you're not already planning to repot, you can fertilize during the spring and summer months. Once to every two months should be plenty. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter when plant growth naturally slows down. You can try a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer—always diluted more than the recommended strength. A cactus and succulent specific feed would also work well. More on using fertilizer here.

Grooming

While no specific pruning is required for this plant, it's always good practice to regularly remove yellowed or dying leaves and any fallen plant debris. Ensure your scissors or pruners are sanitized to avoid spreading disease or pests.

Propagation

You can propagate a String of Hearts with a vine cutting. Select a healthy looking vine and cut a section around 5 inches long. Make the cut just below the lowest leaf. Remove the lower leaves to ensure a clear stem before rooting. You can root directly in a moistened potting mix suitable for cactus or succulents. Try to press only the cut stem into the soil, allowing the remaining leaves to stay exposed with good air circulation to avoid rotting. Once the roots are a few inches long and you've spotting some new growth, you can properly pot up the whole plant! More on propagation techniques here.

Variants

TrOUBlESHOOTING

Why is my String of Hearts growth sparse and leggy?

Symptom

New growth is straggly and small with each new leaf spread far from the last.

Cause

A clear indicator that your plant isn't getting enough light. Most often, a plant gets leggy because they're trying to stretch towards the light, leading to long, stretched-out growth that makes the whole plant look a bit sparse rather than full and bushy.

Solution

You should certainly improve the lighting conditions for future growth, but this won't effect the straggly stems. You may choose to prune these thinner stems back, which will promote new growth where you cut. And if you've remedied the lighting, this new growth should be healthy and full!

More on lighting here.
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Why does my String of Hearts have patchy, pale spots?

Symptom

Larger grey or pale patches on a few leaves. The spot may look dried out and somewhat bleached.

Cause

When your plant is exposed to the hot sun, it begins to evaporate more moisture from the leaf surface than the plant can replace. Leading to bleached areas or large grey patches on leaves.

Solution

You may be pushing the limits on how much direct sun your plant can handle. Try moving it out of reach of those direct rays of sun or moving to a spot that receives only minimal direct sun in the mornings or evenings. While this should prevent further burning, the spots will not "heal", so it's up to you if you'd like to prune off the affected leaves.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why does my String of Hearts have mold on the surface of the soil?

Symptom

A white mold covering the surface of the soil or full-on mushrooms sprouting in the soil or even popping out through drainage holes.

Cause

It can be frightening to notice mold or mushrooms growing on the soil. However, these fungii are usually benign and won't harm your plant directly. The real danger is that you're creating an environment that promotes fungal growth and is quite likely overly wet. Ultimately, these could be warning signs that you are overwatering.

Solution

If you want to eliminate the mold and mushrooms, you can simply remove and replace the top inch or so of soil. You can also try a soil soak of neem oil, which acts as a fungicide. But try not to overdo it, since you're delivering neem oil in a water-based solution, too much will do more harm than good. The most important factor will be to evaluate your watering frequency and ensure you aren't overwatering. While the visible fungii aren't problematic for your plant, sustained overwatering will eventually lead to a fungal infection at the roots, the cause of dreaded root rot.

More on watering here.
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