Last Updated on May 31, 2021 by Sophie
If you’re looking for an adorable succulent that’s pretty to look at and wonderful to maintain, then you need to look no further than the String of Hearts, which also goes by the name of ‘rosary vine’ and its official Latin name ‘Ceropegia Woodii Variegata’. Here’s a complete care guide, including insider tips for keeping the plant healthy and how you can propagate!
A great addition to your indoor gardening collection, string of hearts is so-called thanks to its heart-shaped leaves which can also come in variegated varieties. The plant is a trailing vine with a purple trunk (stem) and green and white mottled leaves.
The cascading vines stem from tubers and the heart-shaped leaves are situated around every three inches along the vine. String of Hearts originates from South Africa and is part of the Apocynaceae family, which is a group of plants which includes a number of species of flowering shrubs and trees.
String of Hearts Care Guide
Best light conditions for the Rosary Vine
When it comes to caring and growing for your Ceropegia Woodii, much like with most other trailing succulent varieties, the amount of light the succulent receives is one of the most important considerations to bear in mind.
The rosary vine prefers partial sun to partial shade and won’t do well in direct sunlight (this can make the leaves dull and should this happen, the plant should be moved to a less brightly lit area), nor will it do well in limited lighting.
In lower light conditions, the Rosary Vine will not flower, nor will it grow as quickly. Variegated varieties of Ceropegia Woodii will also tend to grow a little more slowly than their non-variegated counterparts.
In the winter months (depending on what climate you’re in), you might want to consider investing in a grow light to ensure that your plant receives adequate lighting. Otherwise, bright, indirect light (such as a few feet away from an East or West facing window) should suffice.
Watering your Heart Leaves Succulent
In terms of watering the Rosary Vine, I’ve found that this beautiful succulent enjoys much more water than some of its other succulent counterparts. With this being said, succulents (though often those with fleshier leaves such as the String of Pearls) are incredibly prone to root rot and so you’ll want to make sure than the top few centimetres of the soil are dry before re-watering the plant.
In the summer months, the plant should be watered every week or so, whereas colder temperatures in the winter and lower light levels will mean that the String of Hearts needs considerably less watering during the winter.
Another way to prevent root rot is to ensure that the container is not too large or too deep for the plant. Much like String of Turtles, the String of Hearts has a fairly shallow root system and so will do better when in a shallow container (it will also put out more vines if the plant is slightly pot-bound).
Fertilising Ceropegia Woodii
During the growing season, the String of Hearts should be fertilised every two weeks or so, and even then only with a diluted fertiliser that is created specifically for indoor plants and succulents. When fertilising the plant, ensure that the roots are not dry and instead have been recently watered. Putting fertiliser straight onto dry roots can cause root burn, from which there is little chance of the plant recovering.
String of Hearts Propagation
There are several methods you can use to propagate your Rosary Vine, though some are more effective than others, while some are also quicker than others. The best time to propagate your indoor houseplant is during the spring (i.e. the growing season). This way, you’ll be giving your new plants the best possible chance of survival.
String of Hearts propagation in water
Simply cut sections of your vines around 4-6 inches long. Place them in filtered water, with the cut part of the plant in the water. and wait. String of Hearts are not the fastest of propagaters and so you can be waiting a month or more before you see any roots. Once the roots are several centimetres long, repot your cuttings in soil. Note that water propagated Rosary Vines tend to be weaker than their soil propagated counterparts.
String of Hearts propagation in soil
Another way you can propagate string of hearts is by taking a 4-6 inch cutting from the vine of the plant which includes several leaves. Lay the cutting atop of some soil and moisten every so often. This propagation method is similar to that of string of pearls, another hanging succulent which can be a lovely addition to your indoor garden.
String of Hearts propagation by tuber
One of the easiest ways to propagate the rosary vine is via tuber propagation. Simply take tubers which develop on the stem and plant them into soil. Leave the rest of the vine attached to the tuber and water as normal. Within a few months, the tuber will have rooted in the soil and you’ll have an entirely new plant to enjoy!
String of Hearts Flowers
If you’re lucky and your plant is receiving the correct growing conditions (i.e. adequate lighting and watering and the like), then you may well be rewarded with flowers in the growing season, spring and summer. The flowers are not much to look at and are similar in appearance to those of the lipstick plant. Long and elongated, they are typically and dark maroon.
When should I repot String of Hearts?
As mentioned previously, the Rosary Vine tends to prefer growing in more pot-bound conditions. Though the vines are fairly fast growing, the plant will only need re-potting every two years or so. When potting into a larger container, make sure that the newer container is no larger than 1/3 of the size larger than the previous container.
Repotting a plant into too big of a container can cause the plant to go into shock, from which it might not be able to recover. After repotting the plant into a larger container, the Rosary Vine will grow at a slower pace. As it will be concentrated on filling the new pot with roots, it will not appear to put out as many vines.
Common String of Plant Problems
Bare plant pot top
One of the most common problems that growers tend to face after having their String of Hearts succulent for several years is that the top part of the plant pot tends to become bare. If this happens, use one of the above propagation methods to create newly rooted cuttings and plant them back into the top of the container so as to make the plant fuller.
You can also wrap one of the vines around the top of the container as it will take root and ensure that the top of the plant pot becomes less bare. You might want to slightly plant the vine (so long as it is dry and not moist from high humidity or misting) into the soil so that it takes root more easily.
Why are my String of Hearts leaves wrinkled?
Yet another plant problem which many indoor gardeners face with the Rosary Vine is that the leaves can become wrinkled and curl inwards. This is a surefire sign that the plant is thirsty and is in desperate need of watering.
If not watered, then the ends of the vines can start to die. Once the leaves at the ends of the vine have wilted and died (they are brown and crispy), they will not recover and should be pruned so that the plant can continue to thrive.
Yellow leaves on the String of Hearts
There are a few reasons that the String of Hearts can get yellow leaves, and the least common reason is pests. The most probable cause for yellow leaves on the Rosary Vine is overwatering. Remove any yellow leaves (they will not turn back to green) and reconsider your watering schedule immediately.