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String of Hearts is one of the most beautiful indoor plants there are and I absolutely adore it!
So, if you are looking for a cute new plant to put in your living space to freshen it up, I have a suggestion for you!
That is why I have made this little guide to help you with taking care of your Ceropegia woodii.
Let’s hop into it.
What is Ceropegia Woodii or String of Hearts?
First of all, let me tell you that String of Hearts is NOT a succulent.
It doesn’t look like a succulent either but many still believe that it is one.
Well, String of Hearts is, after all, something rather similar to succulents, especially when it comes to the proper care.
It is a succulent vine.
Moreover, it is an evergreen, so if you want a plant that will adorn your indoor heaven, know that this one will be there all year round.
Caroperia Woodii normally grows to be about 4 inches high (approximately 10 cm for my European friends) but its vines or strings, as the name says, will continue to grow and can reach up to 13 feet (about 4m).
So if you want an indoor jungle, here is one for you!
As a type similar to succulents, String of Hearts plant is pretty easy to take care of. It is very forgiving and can tolerate a lot of things.
But still, you should know some basics so that both your caropegia woodii and you are perfectly happy with one another.
Light Requirements of String of Hearts
Just like most succulents, String of Heart likes hot temperatures and a lot of light.
After all, it is a tropic plant and it is normally found in warm areas in nature.
However, this gentle little plant doesn’t like to sit in direct sunlight as it might hurt its tender foliage.
The best thing you can do for your String of Hearts plant is to keep it near a southern or a western window.
It will get enough bright light, but since the sunrays won’t be falling directly onto your plant, it won’t get hurt and the foliage will stay as healthy as it can be.
Yet another thing to pay attention to is to keep it from touching the glass. In case your window gets too hot in the summer, those leaves touching it might get hurt.
Another possibility, of course, is to have some kind of light filter.
Now, what can that be? you probably wonder.
Well, nothing more than a curtain, my dears!
Of course, you can always tell that your plant needs more light if it looks sad and if the color isn’t as vibrant as you know it should be.
A healthy caropegia woodii is very bright, the foliage is lush and it has this gorgeous marbling on it.
If it seems somewhat sad and mild, you should know that it would be much happier with a little bit more light.
The same stands for big holes and spacing on the strings.
Rotate your String of Hearts plant for even growth.
Don’t forget to rotate your plant from time to time so that every part of it can get enough light and grow evenly.
This will also ensure even photosynthesis process and all of the sides will have the same color.
Watering String of Hearts Plant
Proper String of Hearts care would have to include proper watering as well.
Even though this one is not your “traditional” type of succulent and you might think that it needs more water than a regular one, let me stop you.
Even though String of Hearts isn’t a succulent, its watering needs don’t differ from any other succulent that you have.
A lot of water can damage the roots of this plant and so pay attention to how often you practice it.
A good soak is needed from time to time, of course.
However, do make sure that the soil is completely dry before you give it a new sip.
And I mean completely.
If you are unsure of whether it is time to water your String of Hearts again, leave it as it is and check again in a few days.
Sting of Hears is much happier with insufficient water than with excess water.
Again, you will know when your plant is unhappy by the look of it.
If it looks sad and dry, if the colors are not that vivid, so to say, you know that there is something you should change.
Fertilizing String of Hearts
Just like any other plant, caropegia woodii shouldn’t be additionally fertilized in winter under any circumstances.
I know that you want only the best for your plants and that you want them to look lush as if there were in a jungle all year round, but it is just not natural.
In winter, nature sleeps and so does your string of hearts plant.
And if you give it fertilizer in summer, you will mess with its natural cycle and it won’t be good.
As for the growing summer season, you shouldn’t give your chain of hearts fertilizer more frequently than once a month.
Repotting String of Hearts Plant
Just like fertilizing, repotting shouldn’t be done during the fall and winter months.
String of Hearts goes dormant during these colder months and you should just let it rest then.
No moving, no fertilizing, no repotting.
But when the spring comes and you notice that it might need a pot a bit bigger (or prettier), you can safely hop on to the repotting train.
Apart from that, repotting is always a good idea as it:
1. gives a look at the roots and remove those parts that might not be very healthy
2. freshens up the soil that might have had a lot of chemical fertilizing (that is why I prefer the good ol’ natural worm casting).
3. gives you a chance to separate the plants if you have more than one growing in the same pot.
Choosing the Pot
Remember that the plant should have a few drainage holes in it and that it definitely shouldn’t be too big.
Many plants like when the pot is a little bigger so that they can have their roots comfy in there, but String of Hearts likes when the roots are snug.
Pots made of natural materials are a much smarter choice than plastic when it comes to String of Hearts.
Clay will help the soil vent and dry better.
How to Repot String of Hearts
Repotting caropegia woodii doesn’t really differ from repotting any other plant.
It has a few simple steps that you should follow and it should all be more than good.
1. Choose a gorgeous new pot for your gorgeous plant.
2. Very gently take out your string of hearts plant out of the pot.
If it is pot bound, which might happen if you water it properly and let it dry, you can take a dull knife to help you “unglue” it from the walls of the pot.
3. Try to remove this old soil from the roots as much as you can.
It will probably be very tangled, but don’t worry. Even if you accidentally remove a few pieces of the root, the plant will still be healthy.
4. Dampen the soil a bit and fill the pot you have chosen to about a half.
5. Put your plant in the new pot and hold it while you fill-up the pot with soil to the top.
6. Press the soil with your fingers so that it lays still and keeps the roots snug.
This is very important because if the roots are loose, the plant might not be able to grow as healthy as it normally would.
7. If you want, add a nice layer of warm casting.
This will make the soil more nutritious and it is a perfect natural fertilizer. You probably won’t even need any other fertilizer until next year.
8. Water your newly repotted String of Hearts plant generously and place it on a nice spot with a lot of indirect light.
Pruning String of Hearts Plant
As I have already mentioned, the vines of Ceropegia woodii can grow to be 13 feet long!
This can be too long in some cases, especially if your ceiling isn’t that high.
I also mentioned that it is almost impossible to tame this plant in its natural habitat.
However, you are the boss of your apartment and you make the rules.
Truth be told, String of Hearts doesn’t need pruning. At all.
But if you don’t like the long vines that much, if they are starting to drag on your floor or tangle a lot, you might consider giving your plant a little haircut.
Also, if you notice that there are some parts that look weak, dry or that they are dying, you should also cut those vines so to make your plant healthier overall.
Those sick vines can still take a lot of energy from the plant and removing them will give your plant more strength to focus on the healthy parts.
As this is a pretty strong plant, pruning will not be hard on it. Not at all.
All you have to do is take a sharp pair of scissors and cut the parts that you want gone.
Now, being strong as it is, you don’t have to pay extra attention to how close to the stem you cut the vines, or how precisely you do so.
Still, there is no need to be sloppy with the things and beings you love, so just take a nice sharp pair of scissors and cut the vines as close to the stem as possible.
You can use these cuttings to propagate the plant, so let’s learn how to propagate String of Hearts.
How to Propagate String of Hearts
If you want to know how to care for String of Hearts properly, you should also learn how to propagate String of Hearts.
In nature, this plant grows and spreads so fast that it can be a real challenge to tame it.
Of course, you are in the lead when growing it indoors, but you should still know how to propagate it.
There is more than one method for String of Hearts propagation, and we will have a look at all of them.
The best time for propagation would be the same as for repotting or fertilizing – spring.
Let’s have a look at the aforementioned propagation methods.
1. Watering Propagation
Water propagation is the most popular and easiest way of propagating string of hearts plant.
There are some general rules of water propagation, which goes like this:
The tools that you need include:
- a glass
- some water
Now, first things first.
What you will need to make a new plant, of course, is a piece of the old plant.
So, cut out a vine that you want to propagate first.
My suggestion would be to take a shorter, younger piece.
But not the shortest one that has just started growing. It could be too weak and the propagation process might not work.
Now, place the vine in the glass of water that you have previously prepared and place it in a nice sunny and warm spot.
Again, pay attention that it is not getting too much direct sunlight. It can hurt a whole plant, let alone a single vulnerable vine.
Let the vine sit in water for as long as it needs to grow roots and once the roots are grown, you are ready to pot it.
The process is the same as with repotting, so you are already prepared for that part of String of Hearts care.
2. Soil Propagation
The next method of String of Hearts propagation would be that with soil as the main “medium”.
This might be even easier than propagation with water.
Basically, all that you have to do is:
1. cut out a vine
2. remove the leaves from the side that will be planted
3. put the vine on the soil
4. cover it with more soil
5. give it light, warmth, and moisture
As you can see, this is all that you need to propagate your String of Hearts plant and it is more than simple.
In no time, you will have as many new plants as you wish.
3. Tuber Propagation
This last technique is tuber propagation.
After the flowering period, you will notice the tubers on your String of Hearts pant.
If these tubers touch the soil, they will probably grow roots after some time and eventually develop as a new plant.
Therefore, you can use them as a way of propagation as well.
What you will need to do is find a super big tuber and either:
1. remove the tuber and its vine from the momma plant, put it in a box or a pot and lightly cover it with soil in a thin layer
2. or press the tuber into the soul, wait for it to grow roots and only then detach it from the momma plant.
As for the care before rooting, you will need to keep it in a warm area with a lot of indirect sunlight and keep the air and the soil moist.
String of Hearts Pests and Problems
String of Hearts is a strong plant that doesn’t have a lot of problems.
Still, there are some that might occur, so let’s see what those might be:
1. Yellow leaves that look sad and dropping
If you notice that the leaves of your String of Hearts plant are yellowish and look sad, this might mean that you are overwatering it.
As I said several times, this plant would rather be left with no water whatsoever than have too much of it.
So the first thing you can do is, naturally, stop giving your plant water that frequently.
You know that you shouldn’t add more water to the pot before the soil is completely dry, but if you are unsure of whether the soil is dry or not, just consider that it is not and give it a few more days.
This can also mean that your plant is not getting enough light, so you should just move it to a better place with a bit more sunshine.
But remember to keep it indirect!
2. Cotton-like web
If you notice that your String of Hearts has some strange cotton-like web, this might mean that the mealybugs have attacked it.
Don’t be afraid, this is a common problem for most of the indoor plants.
Mealybugs are tiny and pinkish and they feed off of your plant.
Luckily, they are very easy to get rid of.
Either you can:
1. wash them off with a gentle shower
2. or take a cotton ball drenched in alcohol and simply wipe them off of the plant.
You can also use some of the natural homemade sprays to remove those nasty pests.
3. Dry looking leaves
Dry looking leaves are an unmistakable sign of too much direct light.
When the leaves start scorching, you should know that it is time to move your plant to a better place with less direct light.
String of Hearts is a tropical plant, but that doesn’t mean that it likes to stay in the sun all day long.
A lot of indirect sunlight is just perfect, but don’t overdo it with direct sunbeams.
1. How should I know that I’m overwatering my String of Hearts?
Yellow leaves can mean that you are overwatering your String of Hearts plant.
When overwatering happens, the leaves will first get yellow and then even start to fall off.
String of Hearts doesn’t like overwatering and it will rather have less than more.
If this is the mistake you made with your plant, just let it dry out completely and only then water it again.
If you are unsure of whether it is the time to water it or not, it is not. Wait a few more days and don’t forget to take a look at the care guide for further care.
2. How should I know that I’m under-watering my String of Hearts?
Similarly to succulents, String of Hearts uses its leaves as storage for water.
So, naturally, if you notice that the leaves are getting all soft, droopy and dry, you should take this as an indicator of under-watering.
3. Is String of Hearts poisonous?
String of Hearts isn’t poisonous to either pets or humans.
It is perfectly safe to have at your home, no matter if you have cats or dogs for pets. String of Hearts will not hurt them in any way.
However, even though this plant is considered non-toxic, excess intake can cause vomiting and/ or upset stomach, so keep an eye on your pets.
4. How often should I repot my String of Hearts plant?
If you have a small String of Hearts plant, repotting would be perfect to do every year – year and a half.
And if you have a larger plant, every year and a half – two years would be better.
The perfect pot would be only 2-4 inches larger than the previous one as String of Hearts doesn’t like to have a lot of room for its roots, so choose your plant’s new home carefully.
Spring is the best time for repotting.
5. Does my String of Hearts plant need pruning?
No, String of Hearts doesn’t require pruning if it is completely healthy.
However, if you notice some vines that are dry or diseased, you should better cut them so that they don’t infect the rest of the plant or drain its energy.
Pruning can also help in keeping your plant nice and tidy, and it can also be a good way of propagation.
6. Does String of Hearts grow flowers?
Yes, String of Hearts does grow magenta or purple flowers that should appear every year.
There is no way to make your plant grow flowers, but giving it proper care can help in growing and blooming, as well and proper and timely fertilizing.
I suppose that you do want to see some nice flowers on your String of Hearts, but pay attention that you don’t add too much fertilizer as it can burn your plant and hurt it.
7. How often and when should I fertilize my String of Hearts plant?
Depending on the type of fertilizer you choose, you might not need to do it more than once a year.
The best way of fertilization is warm casting and it should be done once a year, right at the beginning of spring.
If you don’t want to use this type of fertilizer, you can use regular fertilizer (the best would be an organic fertilizer for succulents) and you should add it to your String of Hearts plant once every month in spring and summer seasons.
The fertilizer is meant to mimic the natural cycle of a plant and shouldn’t, under any circumstances, be used during fall and winter.
There you have it, my lovely friends!
All that you need to know about String of Hearts and how to care for this beautiful plant.