If you enjoy having plants in your home, you might have come across a ceropegia plant, also known as string of hearts. These plants are known for the shape of their leaves- small hearts all connected by a vine that drapes over its pot. They are beautiful to look at and although they require some special care, it is clear that they are worth it.
It is important to know how to care for your plants so that they can live long, healthy lives and provide your home with clean air and a beautiful ambiance. Learn how to care for this delightfully poetic plant with just a few simple steps! Soon your string of hearts will be well taken care of.
What Kind of Plant Is a String of Hearts?
String of hearts is part of the succulent family. This one very small detail is incredibly important so that you know exactly how to care for a string of hearts.
Succulents are known for their durability and love for hot weather. They tend to live in hot climates, surviving with very little water. They are great indoor plants if you are looking for something to spice up your kitchen or living room.
These cute little plants will make a great addition anywhere you put them, as long as there is enough sunlight for them to eat up. Succulents are very popular right now, so finding a string of hearts for a cheaper price may be difficult, but do not worry because these pretty plants propagate very easily!
Know Where to Place Your String of Hearts
String of hearts is known for its trailing way of growing. They are almost vine-like, growing downwards or trailing off the older they get. For a beautiful effect, place your indoor string of hearts by a window, or in a hanging pot somewhere high up. That way, the more they grow, the more space they take up.
A string of hearts draped by a window is lovely imagery. If your string of hearts is an outdoor plant and part of your garden, try draping them against a garden wall. If you do not have a garden wall, the best place to put them is in a hanging pot where the vines can trickle down beneath the pot as the plant gets older.
Water Your String of Hearts
Similar to its succulent family members, the string of hearts does not need a lot of water.
Before watering your string of hearts:
- Check the moisture level of the soil
- Remember the last time you watered them
- See if your plant looks healthy
It is a common tip with succulents to check the water level of the soil before watering. Too much water can harm your string of hearts, so be careful and make sure to check the moisture of the soil. If the soil beneath your finger feels slightly moist, then it is best to wait a couple of days before watering. With these plants, it is better to give them less water than to overwater.
String of hearts prefers a drought period in between waterings. This means that you should wait until the water is almost completely dry before watering for a second time. This plant is prone to root rot from overwatering, which can potentially kill it.
If you fear that you are underwatering your plant, just look at the leaves. If the usually plump and healthy leaves look a bit wilted and lackluster (and if the soil is extremely dry) then it is time to water!
What Does an Overwatered Plant Look Like?
If you are overwatering your string of hearts, your plant could die of root rot. This is something that succulents deal with frequently when they are overwatered.
An overwatered string of hearts can have:
- Wilted leaves
- Yellow leaves
All of these symptoms can be a sign that your plant is overwatered but also that it might have root rot. Root rot is when too much moisture from excess watering seeps into the roots. Essentially, the roots of your plant drown because of too much water and because they do not have access to enough air.
All the moisture in the roots will allow for the growth of fungus, mold, and other bacteria that will rot the roots and kill the plant.
If your plant has yellow leaves it typically means that your plant has an iron deficiency, caused by too much watering. Wilted leaves mean that the leaves are beginning to fall off, which is never a good sign.
Edema is also caused by overwatering your plants. This is when there are water droplets or spots between or on the leaves. Eventually, these moist spots turn brown and black, eating up at the plant. When a plant gets overwatered it needs to be purged of the extra water within it.
How to Save an Overwatered String of Hearts
To save your withered string of hearts, there are a few options. You can either re-pot your plant to a new pot or propagate from what is left of the plant.
If your plant suffered lots of root damage, then it is best for you to propagate it. If there has not been too much damage to your plant, then you can simply re-pot your string of hearts to a new location and remember to keep watering your plant to a minimum! It is better for your string of hearts to go through a drought than a flood of water.
Sunlight and Temperature
String of hearts require lots of sunlight and a hot temperature, due to them being part of the succulent family. While they do not require direct sunlight, it will be a good idea to keep them in a well-lit room or by a west-facing window, where the sun will hit them at some point of the day.
String of hearts require:
- About 80-85 degrees in temperature
- Sunlight but not direct
- About 60 degrees in the winter
These plants love the heat, so 80-85 degree weather is perfect for them during the summer months. In the winter 60 degrees should be good enough for them to survive. If you live in a warmer environment, then a string of hearts can be grown outside and will probably survive. If you live in a colder environment, however, it is important that you keep your plants inside to protect them from the cold.
Sunlight is great for these plants but direct sunlight is something that they simply can not tolerate. To tell if your plants are getting too much sunlight is to check the leaves. If your plant needs more light, the leaves will appear pale and with less marbling than usual. Healthy strings of hearts have a gorgeous marbling effect going throughout their leaves.
Make sure that your plant’s leaves are not scorched, as this is another sign of having too much direct sunlight. This does not mean you should move them to a place with low light. Not enough sunlight will kill your string of hearts.
Fertilize Your String of Hearts
Plants need fertilizer to absorb vitamins and minerals so that they can be healthy and happy. Some plants need more fertilizer than others. As for the string of hearts, when it comes to fertilizer it is pretty simple:
- Half diluted
- Relatively infrequent
- None during the winter months
What makes this plant so easy to take care of is its lack of fertilizer usage. Some plants need a lot of assistance with fertilizer and plant food and vitamins that it has to become a regular routine. For example, orchids have to be fed plant food and fertilizer almost every other week in order to be healthy.
Luckily for you, the string of hearts is not that needy. The only fertilizer you will need is half diluted, meaning that the fertilizer is diluted with water and is not nearly as potent as other fertilizers. This means that you can have one portion of fertilizer for a long time without having to buy more, which saves you some money.
You have to fertilize these plants about once a month during the summer months, but it is not set in stone. If you skip a month or two your plant will not really mind as it is pretty self-sufficient. During the winter, string of hearts enters their dormant period where they do not really grow or need much care.
Fertilizing your string of hearts can also cause it to flower, which is one of the best parts of owning a plant. The flowers that string of hearts give out are a very pretty magenta pink color, and if you fertilize the right amount (a small portion) then the flowers will bloom and thrive. Be careful not to add too much fertilizer, as this could harm the plant and cause it not to flower.
Know How to Repot Your String of Hearts
Most house plants at one point or another need to be repotted in order to have their space for their roots to grow. With a string of hearts, it will not happen often, as they are not very large or exceedingly fast-growing.
You should repot:
- Every year to year and a half for plants in a small pot
- Every two years to two years and a half for plants in larger pots
- If you notice that your plant is suffering
If you have a small desktop or kitchen counter string of hearts, then you will not need to worry about repotting until a year and a couple of months have passed by. If you wish for your plant to grow larger, then repot gently to a new pot that is not much bigger than the previous pot. Getting a pot that is much bigger than the previous will most likely drown the roots.
If you wish to keep your plant the same size, then transfer it into the same pot or a different pot of the same size, but make sure to trim the roots a bit. This will cause it to have to regrow until it eventually maintains its small shape that is molder to the small pot it resides in.
If you have a bigger pot for your string of hearts, then you will need to repot your plant every two to two and a half years. When repotting, make sure to do it during the summer months, when your plant is at its healthiest. The winter months are the plant’s time to rest.
If you notice that your plant has some rot root issues or is perhaps looking a little more dull than usual, it is time to repot the plant. Plants need space to grow, and if the roots are infected with fungus or bacteria, cutting out the infected parts and repotting the plant to a new location may be the best bet for saving its life.
Know How to Propagate Your String of Hearts
When a plant is propagated, it begins its first steps in reproducing and breeding. If you are looking to have more than one string of hearts in your home, or want to give one out as a gift to a friend, then you need to know the correct way to propagate this plant.
There are three methods of propagation for a string of heart plants. They include:
The great part about string of hearts is that they are mostly very easy to propagate, and with a few different methods, you should be able to have more than one string of hearts in no time.
The water method of propagation is fairly simple and probably the most popular method to use because of how easy it is. The first step is to find a piece of vine from your string of hearts that you would like to use to propagate with. With a pair of gardening scissors, carefully cut a piece of vine off from the plant and transfer it to a vase of water.
After a few days or weeks, the plant should begin to sprout roots. Make sure to propagate during the right time of the year. For a string of hearts, this means the summer months, when they are at their strongest and most healthy. The summer is also a perfect season because of the ample sunlight and hot temperature.
The summer sun and heat will speed up the root growing process and in turn, speed up propagation. In this environment, roots should appear in a few days.
The soil propagation method is also relatively simple as your string of hearts will make sure to help you.
In order for this method to work, you will need some soil in its own separate pot, water, and the right amount of light.
Simply find a part of the plant that has a leaf and a vine. With gardening scissors, cut off the perfect piece of vine. Make sure that the side of the vine that you are planting in the soil does not have any leaves. If it does, just remove these excess leaves and plant the vine into the soil.
Make sure to water the area. Water is especially important during propagation. For best results, water about once a week, so that the soil is consistently semi-moist. Make sure to place your propagated plant in the perfect amount of sunlight. Make sure the area is not a place with blazing direct sunlight, as that will be too harsh.
It is also important to note that the area needs to have plenty of fresh air. Air is very important for new roots to form and grow into healthy adult roots.
As your plant becomes bigger and healthier, you will begin to notice small nodes or nodules on the plant between the leaves. These are part of the propagation process and will help you tremendously. They are known as tubers.
When you cut your vine to begin propagation, make sure to cut a piece that has these nodules on it. In a separate pot of dirt, plant the vine and the end with the nodules into the soil. This is mandatory for your plant to sprout roots.
String of hearts are so easy to propagate because of these nodules. Naturally, these plants will propagate if you let the plant grow and fall into a layer of dirt below it. If the nodules get buried in the dirt, they will sprout roots with enough luck and care.
If you plan on using this method, take the part of the plant with the tuber and without separating it from the mother plant, dig it into the soil of the pot and wait until it sprouts a root. Once a root sprouts, you may cut it from the mother plant and move it to its own separate pot where it will grow.
If you have never propagated plants before, a string of hearts will make for an excellent place to start. Make sure to water the soil and that it is placed in enough sunshine.