Updated June 2023
String of Heart, also known as Ceropegia woodii,  is a gorgeous trailing succulent to add to any living space. While to some, they might be difficult to care for, however once you get the hang of it, String of Hearts Succulent is one of the most tolerant houseplants. You can find some basic knowledge to take good care of String of Hearts in this article.
The String of Hearts is a sweet and fantastic hanging plant native to South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. Due to its dark green with variegated silver markings or in cream, pink, and green heart-shaped, patterned leaves, this magnificent succulent has stolen the hearts of many collectors. It can grow up to 2 to 3-inches tall and has purple-toned stems that can reach about 3 to 9 feet long, so make sure to hang this plant somewhere high, for you to be able to witness how breathtaking it can be, especially when it starts to cascade out of the pot like a waterfall.
Growing String of Hearts outdoors
The String of Hearts can be grown outdoors as a sprawling ground cover, in rock gardens, or for cascading down walls during the summer months or even all year round, given that you are located in USDA zones 10 and above or where the temperature is consistently maintained at 60°F or warmer. Otherwise, it's better to grow this succulent in a pot or container where you can easily carry it indoors as soon as the temperature starts to drop for protection.
It's better to grow this succulent in a pot or container where you can easily carry it indoors as soon as the temperature starts to drop for protection.
Additionally, like any other succulents, too much sunlight can cause the leaves of String of Hearts to scorch (browning or crispy leaves, dry leaf-edges, stunted growth), and lack of exposure, on the other hand, will cause issues like discoloration or overwatering. So if you plan to grow yours outdoors, make sure to put it in a spot where this plant can get at least 3 to 4 hours of bright, indirect sunlight and some shade in the afternoon. Also, remember to gradually acclimate it first to stronger light when moving this plant from indoors to outdoors during the summer to prevent sunburn.
1. Light and Temperature
The String of Hearts plant likes heat and bright light but doesn't tolerate direct sunlight. So if you plan to grow your String of Hearts as an indoor houseplant, make sure to place it near the brightest window possible (South or West facing windows is highly recommended), and keep the temperature at 80 to 85°F, and 60°F during wintertime. If grown outdoors, the plant should be placed in a bright, shaded area.
String of Hearts likes heat and bright light but doesn't tolerate direct sunlight.
In case you are not sure whether your String of Hearts is getting all the light it needs, one easy way to tell is through its leaves. If you see that the leaves are starting to become pale in color (with less marbling), and at the same time, wider apart than it normally should, then better transfer the plant to a brighter spot to supplement its lighting needs.
In addition to that, it is important to rotate the plant as well from time to time. This will ensure that all sides of your String of Hearts will get a balanced amount of sunlight and that all sides will have an even color.
Since the Chain of Hearts has a succulent-like nature, root rot is most likely to happen, especially when left sitting in wet soil for too long. This, however, can be prevented by giving this plant a good soak of water once a week or whenever the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil is completely dry during its growing season, which happens in Spring and Summer. In the Autumn and Winter months, on the other hand, this succulent will go dormant, and therefore your watering should be cut back to once every 3 to 4 weeks or when the soil feels completely dry through the pot.
Give String of Hearts a good soak of water once a week or whenever the top 2 - 3 inches of the soil is completely dry during its growing season.
Another way to ensure that your String of Hearts only gets the right amount of water it needs to thrive and grow happy is by watering it from the bottom. To do this, you simply need to submerge 1/4th of the pot in a container filled with water for about 10 minutes. And remember to allow for the water to drain before putting the plant back in its place to avoid root rot.
Also, one way to help you determine whether it's time to give your Chain of Hearts a good soak of water is through its leaves. If you feel that they are firm to the touch, then your succulent doesn't need to be watered for a while more. However, if the leaves feel soft as you gently squeeze them and can easily bend, then it's time to give it a thorough watering.
Although String of Hearts is a succulent that can be kept in drier areas that most plants may not tolerate as much, it's better to place them where they can enjoy about 40 to 50% of humidity.
String of Hearts only need infrequent fertilizers and half-diluted fertilizers. They can be fed at most once a month during their active growth period in May – August. They don’t need any fertilizer during winter, their dormant period.
String of Hearts only need infrequent fertilizers and half-diluted fertilizers.
These String of Heart plants are prolific and benefit from being repotted every few years. Although they can live pot-bound, repot them when roots poke out of drainage holes. The best time of year for repotting is during summer, their active growing period to minimize the risks.
However, as the delicate vines can easily break, care must be taken. And make sure that the new pot has drainage holes and be porous; a terracotta pot would work well as it allows moisture to escape.
[Underwatered or Overwatered]How to know if your String of Hearts is underwatered or overwatered?
When overwatering happens, the leaves of your String of Hearts will most likely start to shed or turn yellow, brown, or black, and at the same time, will feel soft and mushy.
Once you see these signs, hold off with your watering right away and allow the soil to dry out completely. Also, since overwatering also means the soil might have already become poor in quality, it's better to replace it with a fresh, new one that's well-drained and porous enough to prevent root rot.
Photo credit: @Joe Earley on Houzz
Underwatered String of Hearts, on the other hand, will show you symptoms of leaves curling up and may begin to look thinner as there’s no water left from its storage. Now when this happens, immediately give the plant a good drench of water (again, letting the soil dry in between waterings), and move it in a shaded spot. Doing this should allow your String of Hearts to recover in 2 or 3 more cycles of watering.
How to make String of Hearts fuller
One trick to make your String of Hearts look fuller and bushier is through pruning. Though this process isn't really necessary unless the stems of this succulent have become leggy and the leaves have started to lose their bright color.
Pruning String of Hearts is simple. All you need to do is to cut 1 or more vines from the mother plant using a clean, sharp knife or a pair of scissors. Make sure to cut it right under one of the nodes along with the stem (take whatever length you desire), allowing it to grow roots in water first before putting the cuttings back in the soil for an instant fuller String of Hearts.
[Propagation]How to propagate String of Hearts
String of Hearts is relatively easy to propagate, there are three main methods to propagate them, as introduced below:
1. Water Propagation Method
This propagation method is popular as it is quite easy to carry out. All you need to do is to prepare a vase, scissors, and some water. Then cut off the vine pieces you want to root, put them in the vase, and wait for root to grow. Remember to place the vase in a warm area with enough light so that the root can grow more quickly.
Photo credit: allaboutgardening.com
The time needed for roots to grow depends on light and temperature, with the right conditions, roots will appear after a couple of days.
2. Soil Propagation Method
To carry out this method, you need to cut off the vines, then remove the leaves on the side that you will plant and stick the vines into the soil. In this step, you have to ensure that the nodes are covered in the soil so that the root can grow. Make sure the vines are placed in a light and aerated area with the soil slightly moist (water once a week) for the roots to grow out.
Make sure that the nodes are covered in the soil so that the root can grow.
To get detailed information, be sure to grab our free printable to see what problems you might face while propagating succulents.
3. Tuber Propagation Method
For the tuber propagation technique, you need to find the biggest tuber possible. A fingernail-sized model may be a good choice. You can leave the tuber on the vine and press it into the soil to grow root. Once it grows root you can cut the vine from the mother plant.
Photo credit: ohiotropics.com
Another way is to remove the vine with the tuber from the mother plant. Place it in a pot with soil and slightly cover the tube in the soil mix. Keep it in a bright area and water weekly, a few weeks later, the tuber will be rooting.
4. 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.
As a succulent, the String of Hearts has adapted to survive in dry conditions by storing water in its leaves and stems. This plant requires minimal upkeep and can thrive in most indoor environments. However, it does not mean that String of Hearts is trouble-free. Curling or wrinkled leaves is one of these succulents' most common problems, and it usually is an indicator of several underlying issues. Here are some possible reasons for curling leaves:
Underwatering & Overwatering: Insufficient watering is a frequent culprit behind leaf curling in succulents. If the leaves appear wrinkled or shriveled along with curling, it signifies that the plant needs more water. . It may sound strange, but too much water can also cause the leaves of String of Hearts to curl and wrinkle. The reason is that overwatering can saturate the soil, depriving the roots of necessary oxygen. This can lead to root suffocation, resulting in poor nutrient uptake and overall plant stress. Moreover, excessive moisture in the soil can cause the roots to become waterlogged, preventing them from absorbing water properly. As a result, the leaves may curl as a response to stress.
Insufficient Light: String of Hearts requires an adequate amount of light to carry out photosynthesis and maintain its overall health. Without enough lighting, its ability to produce energy is impaired, which can lead to leaf curling.
- Low humidity: String of Hearts succulents thrive in moderate to high-humidity environments (40-50% humidity level), and when the air becomes too dry, they can experience moisture loss, leading to leaf curling.
Transplant shock can also be a reason for leaf curling in String of Hearts. When a plant is transplanted into a new pot or location, the plant's roots can be disturbed or damaged, affecting its ability to absorb water and nutrients. This disruption can lead to temporary leaf curling as the plant adjusts to its new environment.
- Pests and diseases can disrupt the plant's ability to regulate water uptake and transpiration. Excessive feeding by pests or damage caused by diseases can result in water loss from the leaves. This water imbalance can lead to wilting and curling of the leaves as the plant tries to conserve moisture.
See more about Curling or wrinkled leaves in String of Hearts
[FAQs]Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are string of hearts hard to grow?
While String of Hearts plants don't require too much care and can tolerate neglect well, it's particular about what it needs, so it's a medium in terms of difficulty care level.
2. Why is my string of hearts losing leaves?
If your String of Hearts' leaves turn yellow before they fall off, then the main reason is overwatering. The roots of this plant are very delicate and short, too much water in the soil will lead to root rot, which means the leaves and vines will slowly start to die before falling off the plant.
3. How do you make a string of hearts bushier?
The best ways to make your string of hearts fuller is to keep them in a bright location with plenty of indirect light. It's also a good idea to prune the vines occasionally to encourage branching and bushier growth.
Watch the video below (and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos) to see easy tips to care for a String of Hearts.
If you found this article interesting, share it with your succulent loving friends!
And get a free plant when your friends make an order. Sign up here!
Find out more other Types of Succulents Care Guide.