The string of hearts plant is a popular houseplant that is characterized by heart-shaped leaves on a vine, which explains its name! Here’s all you need to know on how to care for String of Hearts plants.
Formally known by its scientific name, Ceropegia woodii, String of Hearts is a member of the Apocynaceae family of plants. It is a stem succulent and so taking care of it is very similar to caring for other succulents.
This is another plant on our list that is excellent for hanging baskets due to the trailing nature of the plant’s stems.
It is relatively easy to care for the plant once you get the basics down to make sure it stays happy.
Varieties of String of Hearts Plants
There are several different cultivars of Ceropegia woodii. Here are the most common ones you may encounter:
Variegated String of Hearts plants feature variegated leaves, which means the leaves are striped with different colors, in this case, white and green.
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String of Hearts Silver Glory has silvery green leaves and a notably different leaf shape – they are almost like a reverse heart, with the bottom of the heart growing from the stem of the plant.
String of Spades is a variety of Ceropegia woodii that is “Heartless” – the leaves have more of the shape of a spade, hence why it is called the String of Spades.
With all this talk of hearts and spades, does anybody else feel like playing cards right now? Just teasing. 🙂 Let’s get back to how to care for the String of Hearts plant!
How to Care for String of Heart Plants
Like all houseplants, how well they will grow for you all depends on the environment you are able to give it. Every plant has different needs, but all of them are looking for 3 things: sunlight, water, and the right kind of soil.
What Soil to Use for String of Hearts?
As a succulent, String of Hearts will grow well in any kind of succulent and cactus potting soil. If you do not have cactus potting soil, you can mix in equal parts sand with regular potting mix. This will help provide some drainage for the soil.
How Much Light do String of Hearts Need?
String of Heart plants need bright but indirect sunlight. Try to avoid direct sun as this will scorch the leaves on your plant.
They do best in a shaded area that gets a lot of natural light – in the summer months, I keep my succulents on my patio table on a deck that faces North where they are covered with an umbrella to provide shade.
When growing indoors, it’s important that they get a lot of light, but you generally won’t want to put them directly on a windowsill as the sun can be too harsh and nobody likes the sad feeling of knowing you sunburnt your plants!
Like all succulent plants, it is crucial that you don’t overwater it. Too much water can result in root rot, which can be devastating for plants if not caught early.
In general, it is best to wait until the top inch or so of the soil is completely dry to the touch before watering.
As is the case with most houseplants, you will want to water it a bit more in the spring and summer months than you do in the fall and winter. This helps mimic the natural cycle that all plants go through with dry/wet rainy seasons.
How often you need to water greatly depends on the humidity and temperature of the room, which we will cover next!
Humidity and Temperature
Ceropegia woodii when grown outdoors can only tolerate USDA Hardiness zones of 11 and 12, which should tell you all you need to know – don’t let this plant get cold! Ideally, you will keep it at about room temperature and never lower than 60 degrees F.
I write this in nearly every article I write here, but it’s worth saying again – don’t keep your plant near a drafty window in the wintertime! It can be a lot colder next to a window than you might think!
These plants like a good bit of humidity, so you will want to try and do your best to keep your home humid, especially in the winter months.
We LOVE our AirCare Humidifiers – we actually have two of them that we run all year long to help keep our house the perfect place for plants to grow. The thing I like most about them is they tell you how much humidity is in the air right on the machine so you never have to guess!
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Pruning, Propogating and Repotting String of Heart Plants
The best time to repot your string of hearts plants is in the summer months when the plant is at its peak growing season. This will give the plant the necessary strength it needs to survive the repotting without too much stress to the plant.
Propagating the plant is relatively simple and straightforward – you can opt to take cuttings of the plant and plant them in soil, or you can harvest the tubers that the plant produces and plant those.
You don’t necessarily need to prune your String of Hearts plants that often, but doing so will help the plant to grow fuller as you can propagate the cuttings back into the same pot as the mother plant.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
As with all plants, it is always likely that not getting enough or too much water and sunlight can cause problems.
Root Rot happens when too much moisture develops at the roots of the plant and a fungus begins to grow and causes the roots to deteriorate.
Yellow Leaves can happen when the plant is not getting enough sunlight or too much water, usually a combination of both.
Brown leaves usually mean the plant is either getting too much sun or not enough water.
If you see large brown patches that appear like the plant has been burnt, this means the plant needs to be moved out of the path of direct sunlight.
There are also a few pests that can cause some issues for your plant: Mealybugs, Aphids, and Scale insects. You can use Neem oil on your plant, but take care that you do not let the roots get soaked as that can cause problems. Rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball can also be used to address mealybugs directly at the source.
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Frequently Asked Questions About String of Hearts
Is String of Hearts toxic? Is it Safe for Pets
Ceropegia woodii is non-toxic, but that doesn’t mean you should purposely try to eat it. It is generally considered safe for most pets.
Do String of Hearts Attract Bugs?
All plants are prone to bug infestations, but the String of Hearts plant does not attract them any more than other plants. Typically if an infestation occurs it is because of another plant being introduced in the home.
My String of Hearts Has Wrinkled Leaves
If the leaves appear wrinkled, this usually means the plant could use a little more water. This generally happens when the leaves dry out too much and they become thinner and start to curl.
How Do I Make My String of Hearts Plant Fuller?
To grow a healthy, fuller plant, you can take cuttings from the stems and then plant the cuttings directly back in the same pot. This will help them to grow more plants in the same pot to give it a fuller appearance.
My String of Hearts is Turning Purple?
The plant’s color is often dependent on how much sunlight it is getting. If the leaves appear purple, this means it is getting a lot of sun, whereas paler leaves mean it could use a bit more sun.
If you don’t like the purple leaves, simply move the plant farther away from the source of sunlight.
Should You Mist String of Hearts?
Misting plants sadly does very little for actually keeping humidity levels up in your home – as soon as the water evaporates, so does the humidity which means you would have to mist it about every 20-30 minutes, and who has time for that? Not to mention, misting it that frequently would likely cause it to develop root rot.
The best thing to do is to invest in a whole house humidifier. We have the AirCare humidifiers at our house and love them – they make keeping a nice humid environment for your plants a breeze!
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String of Hearts is a great houseplant to consider, especially if you are looking for one that doesn’t need direct sun and can tolerate being watered minimally. It’s also safe for cats and dogs, making it a favorite for us!
Do you have a string of hearts plant or any questions on how to take care of string of hearts? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
And if anyone feels like playing cards, seriously, hit me up – I’m way overdue for a cards with friends night!