In this article, this focus would be on how to propagate string of hearts. With their heart-shaped, marble-patterned leaves growing on trailing vines, very few houseplants come close to the String of Hearts when it comes to making a unique statement.
When grown in hanging baskets or kept on windowsills, the sprawling vines of the mature plant are always eye-catching.
But the vines can quickly overwhelm the space inevitably losing their charms and creating an untidy mess if left unpruned.
The ideal solution is to prune the vines and while at it, propagate them to get new plants.
Fortunately, the common methods are pretty straightforward even a newbie would get it right on the first try.
How to Propagate String of Hearts
The String of Hearts, Ceropegia woodii, has a string of common names such as Heart Entangled, Chain of Hearts, Rosary Vine, and Chinese lantern.
Native to some areas of southern Africa, it is a partial-succulent capable of storing excess water in leaves.
They are also easy to care for and are able to survive neglect for a while.
There are several ways of propagating String of Hearts. However, the most common methods use vine cuttings and a growth medium such as water and soil to root the vines.
You can also propagate them with the seeds but this is a rather tedious method and besides, the seeds are hard to source.
And what is the best time to propagate String of Hearts? Ideally, you want to do it in the growing season as that gives the rooted cuttings a greater chance of thriving.
But you can propagate them all year round when they are grown indoors.
When it comes to propagating Chain of Hearts, the key is to replicate the growing conditions of the parent plant. We’ll expand on this in the care tips in a bit.
So be sure to check out all the care tips at the end because you’ll surely need them for successful propagation.
First, though, let’s talk about the potting soil you’d need and how to get your cuttings.
Getting your Strings of Hearts Cuttings
The first thing to do when propagating houseplants like the string of hearts is to cut a piece from the parent plant using a sterilized pair of shears or scissors.
So where do you cut the String of Hearts for propagation?
You would start by finding the nodes. String of Hearts nodes are pretty easy to find.
They look like small onion bulbs on the vines. That is where the new roots would sprout from; at this stage, leaves are attached to the nodes.
Simply cut a long vine at the interval between two nodes.
This interval is known as the internode.
The vine cutting should have several leaves along it.
Depending on how you want to propagate, you might have to strip some of the leaves or even cut the vine into smaller pieces so you have several cuttings.
Best String Of Hearts Potting soil for Propagation
The best soil should contain equal part regular potting mix and percent cacti soil mixed with a bit of percent perlite, pumice, coarse sand, or orchid bark to improve soil drainage.
However, they would do well in most standard potting soil as long as the soil is not compacted and not too rich.
You would need the potting mix for all the propagation methods and for transplanting the rooted vine cuttings.
How to Propagate Strings of Hearts in Water
This is a very popular method of propagating Strings of Hearts.
You would have to cut the vines into manageable lengths because they would be submerged in water.
And It is okay to propagate several cuttings in a single jar.
Items you’ll need:
- A jar filled with water
- Your string of hearts cuttings
- Planter filled with the potting soil
- Use your cutter to cut up the vine into smaller cuttings. These smaller cuttings must have at least a node. Multiple nodes on each cutting would be awesome though.
- Strip some leaves on one end of the cutting; don’t touch the nodes while doing this.
- Dip the stripped end into the jar of water. Ensure that the leaves at the opposite end (especially the top leaves) are not submerged in water.
- You can place several cuttings in a single jar of water if you want to.
- If you are using a transparent jar, you can do two things to fast-track the development of the roots.
– wrap a piece of paper around the jar or
– place the jar in a dark area
This is to simulate the dark soil environment that roots fancy.
Another option is to use an opaque jar. This also prevents light from getting to the roots. With an opaque jar, there is no need to wrap the jar with a piece of paper or place it in a dark area.
- Change the water anytime it becomes murky or cloudy.
- Wait for the roots to sprout. That should be in about a couple of weeks or slightly more.
- When the roots are about 4 inches, you can transplant the cuttings to pots or planters.
- Then simply follow the String of Hearts care & maintenance routine to nurture them into thriving and healthy plants.
How to Propagate Strings of Hearts In Soil
Items you’ll need:
- String of Hearts cutting
- Pot or planter filled with potting soil
In this method, you simply plant the cutting or cuttings directly into the soil and allow it to root. You don’t have to transplant it after it roots.
- Place a vine cutting on top of the potting soil. Make sure each node is covered by the potting soil.
- To provide enough humidity, you can cover the pot with a transparent container. This helps the roots develop faster.
Covering the pot or planter might not be necessary if the area is humid enough.
- Water the soil if it is dry. Ensure the soil never dries out, and don’t give it so much water that it becomes soggy. Moist is perfect.
- From this point on, everything is routine in terms of care. Water the soil when it is dry and ensure the right temperature and humidity are provided. New growth would sprout in a few weeks signaling a successful propagation.
How To Propagate String of Hearts without Cuttings
In this method, you don’t need any vine cuttings. The long trailing vines are all you need. This method is perfect for ‘lazy’ gardeners as it requires the least amount of effort and time.
Items you need:
- Pot or planter filled with potting soil
- Matured String of Hearts with long trailing vines
- Place the matured plant on an elevated platform. However or wherever you place it doesn’t matter as long as the vines can reach the potting soil below it.
- Place the bottom part of the vines on top of the potting soil.
- Water the potting soil if it is dry.
- Given enough time and care, the vines would grow new roots in the potting soil.
- Once the roots are established, cut the trailing vines at the rim of the pot containing the newly-rooted vines.
- Place the new vines in a bright spot away from indirect light and water the soil when it is dry. From this point on, simply provide the necessary care and maintenance for the vines to thrive.
How to Propagate String of Hearts in Coco Peat
Note that you can also use sphagnum moss or perlite as the propagation medium.
Things you’ll need:
- String of Hearts cutting with several nodes
- Wide, shallow planter or container
- Coco peat
- Ziploc bag
- Create a planting bed in the planter using the cocoa peat.
Simply spread a few inches high of the coco peat inside the planter to create the planting bed.
- Then place the cutting on the coco peat bed. Ensure that all the nodes are covered by the propagating medium. The leaves should be uncovered to prevent rot.
- If necessary, pin down each node with floral pins or rubber bands to keep them under the growing medium.
- Place the planter inside the zip lock bag. Zip it close to create a humid environment for faster root development.
- Open the bag daily to let in fresh air. Also, use the opportunity to check for rot. Immediately cut out any rot you see so it doesn’t spread.
- If too much condensation or water droplets form inside the bag, leave it open for a few hours.
- Spray water on your propagating medium to moisten when it looks dry. Don’t make it too wet though.
- Once new growth begins to form (this happens after new roots appear), remove the bag since high humidity is only good for root development. This promotes leaf growth.
- Depending on the growing conditions, it would take about three weeks for the roots and leaf to become established.
- In about 3 weeks, the new plants would be ready for soil life. Go ahead and transplant them to potting soil and observe the standard String of Hearts care routine.
String of Care & Maintenance Tips
Water – Irrigate only when the soil is dry and this can be once every 2 – 3 weeks depending on the weather conditions. And when you do, water well and allow excess to drain out the drainage holes.
Lighting – String of hearts love bright, indirect light.
Humidity & Temperature – As semi-succulent plants, they don’t need that much humidity to thrive. They prefer drier air especially in winter when they go into dormancy.
In terms of temperature, they don’t like prolonged exposure to temperatures below 20°F. On the opposite end, they prefer a warm environment rather than a hot one.
Fertilizer – Use fertilizers specifically formulated for succulents regularly. Keep in mind that plant food with too much nitrogen risk making the vines very scraggly and soft.
For the most part, String of Hearts is fairly easy to care for. The tropical plants grow fairly quickly shooting forth long vines with heart-shaped leaves attached to the nodes. Pruning the long vines is inevitable or they’d simply crowd out the space.
The good news for newbies is that learning how to propagate String of Hearts is just as easy as taking care of them.
Best done in the growing season, the cuttings can be rooted in water, soil, a growing medium, or by directly placing the long vines on potting soil.
And it takes on average about 3 weeks to successfully root the vines