Your care and propagation guide to Ceropegia Woodii, plus we troubleshoot some common String of Hearts problems.
The aptly named String of Hearts features delicate confetti-sized, heart-shaped leaves, which trail over a pot from long spindly stems like a beautiful beaded headdress. This popular trailing plant is easy to care for and lovely to look at. Unimposing and intricate but no less appealing than other trailing houseplants, the String of Hearts has green fleshy leaves stippled with white variegation and produces unusual 1-inch long tubular flowers.
With common names including Rosary Vine, Hearts Entangled and Sweetheart Vine, the String of Hearts naturally makes a great romantic houseplant gift on Valentine's Day. Whether you're looking to treat your loved one (or yourself!), you'll find plenty of String of Hearts for sale from independent sellers on Candide.
Native to Southern Africa, the first known recording of String of Hearts was made by John Medley Wood in 1881. He went on to send a specimen to Kew Gardens in 1894, and plant lovers (us included!) have been swept up in the romance of its foliage ever since.
In 1900, a detailed watercolour and pencil illustration of the plant was published in an issue of the long-running Curtis's Botanical Magazine.
How to grow String of Hearts
- In its native habitat, the String of Hearts happily grows outside, however, in the cooler, unpredictable UK climate, the String of Hearts is more commonly grown as an indoor plant.
- The String of Hearts will look its most luscious in full sun. However, it will adapt to shady conditions. Note that the leaves will look paler and the marbling won't be as prominent the less light the plant gets.
- Water this semi-succulent sparingly. The best way to water String of Hearts is from the bottom. But remember to tip the excess away once the plant is soaked. The String of Hearts won't take kindly to a soggy bottom, which can lead to root rot. You can get away with letting the soil dry out a little between waterings.
- Feed once a month during the main growing period in spring and summer, dilute the fertiliser to half strength.
- Plant String of Hearts in a pot with good drainage. A terracotta pot would work well as it allows the moisture to escape.
- The String of Hearts doesn't mind being a little pot-bound. You can usually tell when it's time to upsize by the roots poking out of the drainage holes. Wait until summer to repot.
- String of Hearts prefers well-draining aerated soil. Some tried and tested mixes include a mix of succulent and cactus potting compost with coco coir. Or 50/50 potting mix and perlite.
Common String of Hearts problems
String of Hearts isn't up there with the fussiest houseplants, but there are some common problems that can arise, usually from improper watering.
- Wrinkled leaves: The String of Hearts doesn't like to be waterlogged, but that doesn't mean you should abandon watering it altogether. Dry, shrivelled leaves are usually a sign of underwatering. However, if watering isn't the issue, it could also be suffering from too much full sun. Additionally, a pot-bound String of Hearts might start to droop and lose its leaves.
- Curling leaves: Can be a sign of too little light or in the odd case, a pest infestation such as mealybugs.
- Yellowing leaves: Yellow leaves are a common symptom of an overwatered plant but cold temperatures can also lead to yellow leaves in the String of Hearts. Hold off on watering until the soil is dry and move your String of hearts away from draughty areas.
Why is my String of Hearts dying?
Often we kill our plants with kindness and the String of Hearts is no exception. The String of Hearts meets its demise most commonly because of overwatering. An overwatered String of Hearts will eventually suffer from root rot, which, in worse cases can lead to the plant's death. As soon as you notice the onset of root rot, repot your plant in fresh soil and propagate it pronto!
Is String of Hearts toxic to cats and dogs?
According to most sources, String of Hearts is not poisonous to cats, dogs or people. But we'd still keep this hanging plant's glorious tendrils away from the paws of curious kitties.
Check which plants are toxic to cats and dogs here:
String of Hearts propagation
String of Hearts isn't just a handy valentine plant. It's a caudiciform plant, which means it grows from tubers, making it especially easy to propagate and share with friends. When you spot the bulbous tubers emerging from the stems, just snip them off and plant them straight in some compost. You can also propagate String of Hearts by popping the leaves straight onto some moist compost or by leaving the stems in water as demonstrated in the video above.
Sparse foliage can be made to look fuller with regular pruning - just snip off leggy stems with a pair of clean sharp secateurs.