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How to Propagate String of Hearts Using the Butterfly Method

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How to Propagate String of Hearts Using the Butterfly Method


The String of Hearts is a lovely trailing succulent with gorgeous heart-shaped leaves that sprout from delicate vines. Also available as String of Spades, String of Arrows, and Silver Glory String of Hearts, the Ceropegia Woodii succulent comes in many varieties. 

One of the biggest complaints that come with trailing succulents is plant thinning. When your succulent develops longer vines, the plant can start to look thin and leggy– that’s where propagation comes in. Aside from propagating your plants to share them with loved ones, you can also replant cuttings into your mother plant’s pot to make your trailing succulent appear thicker and fuller. 

Traditional Propagation Method

Typical trailing plant propagation requires long cuttings, usually about three to six inches in length. To get these cuttings, use a clean, sharp pair of scissors to cut the vine just below a node (where leaves join the stem). After making the cutting, remove the first few sets of leaves, and place the vine in a jar of fresh water or soil with rooting hormone on the tip. After a couple of weeks, you should start to see root growth.

How to Propagate String of Hearts Using the Butterfly Method
After making the cutting and remove the first few sets of leaves, place the vine in a jar of fresh water.
Photo by @growing_betty on Instagram

What is the Butterfly Method?

The “Butterfly Method” in String of Hearts propagation uses much smaller cuttings than the typical three-inch to six-inch cutting. With this method, cuttings should only be about ½ of an inch long and have leaves on either side of the node. Many gardeners love using the Butterfly Method for propagation because it has a higher chance of growing vines on either side of the cutting.

How to Propagate String of Hearts Using the Butterfly Method
The “Butterfly Method” has a higher chance of growing vines on either side of the cutting.
Photo by @plantasi_ on Instagram

Getting Started 

To start with Butterfly Method propagation, you’ll need to prep your succulent just as you would for any other kind of propagation. As usual, only propagate your String of Hearts during its summer growing season to ensure the plant has plenty of time and energy to develop and recover from any trimming or repotting.

Tools You’ll Need

You’ll also need the same types of tools for Butterfly propagation as you would for traditional cutting propagation:

-A clean, sharp pair of scissors

-Clean water

-Gardening gloves, if preferred

-Fresh potting medium like soil or sphagnum moss

-A rooting hormone (optional)

-A container to hold your cuttings, preferably one with a clear lid like a reusable takeout container

Rooting Hormones

Although they aren’t necessary for propagating your cuttings, rooting hormones help speed up the process by providing extra nutrients to the cutting for root development. If you don’t have any garden store rooting hormone on hand, that’s okay! You can use common household ingredients like honey, cinnamon, or apple cider vinegar to make your own natural rooting hormone.

How to Propagate String of Hearts Using the Butterfly Method
Some common household ingredients like honey can be used to make your own natural rooting hormone.
Photo by on Pexel

Choosing Your Potting Medium

Although you can propagate Butterfly cuttings using soil or sphagnum moss as a potting medium, there are a couple of differences between the two. Sphagnum moss is much better at holding moisture than a String of Hearts’ preferred soil, but you’ll need to transplant your cuttings moss-free once they’ve developed roots. If you choose to use well-draining succulent soil, you’ll have to mist the cuttings more often to ensure they’re moist enough to take root. However, the transplanting process is much simpler because you’ve already got your baby Hearts rooted in soil.

Propagation With the Butterfly Method

Before you propagate, make sure your scissors are clean, and you’ve got plenty of room to make your cuttings and let them grow. With your early preparations out of the way, it’s time to begin:

Making the Cut

Using your pair of clean, sharp scissors, start by removing a length of the vine with several pairs of leaves on it. Make sure you cut about ¼ of an inch away from the last node. Then, separate the leaf nodes to create your “butterflies.” When cutting, leave at least ¼ of an inch of stem on either side of the node. Your finished cutting should look something like this:

 How to Propagate String of Hearts Using the Butterfly Method

Photo on

After you’ve made your cuttings, let them sit in the open air for about 24 hours so they can callous over. Then, dip the tips of your cuttings into your rooting hormone, and place them in your potting medium.

Building Your Greenhouse

To help your baby Hearts grow to full size, we recommend creating a miniature greenhouse to keep their growing space warm and moist. The best way to go about making your tiny greenhouse is with common household items: plastic wrap and toothpicks make effective tents for a terracotta pot. If you have a clear takeout container, poke some drainage holes in the bottom of the container, and use the base to hold your potting medium. Then, you’ll just have to remove the lid every time you mist your cuttings.

Encouraging Growth

With the help of a tiny greenhouse, your cuttings should take root shortly. To promote root growth, keep your cuttings away from direct sunlight, and mist the soil whenever it gets dry to keep things moist. You’ll need to remove the top of your greenhouse every few days to check the soil. With sphagnum moss, expect root growth in about a week; for soil, your baby Hearts should take root in about two!

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