Rosary vine (Ceropegia woodii variegata) is a very easy houseplant to grow. It has many common names. You may also hear it referred to as:
- Sweetheart Vine
- Hearts Entangled
- String of Hearts
- Chain of Hearts
- Rosary Plant
This unusual, hardy vining succulent produces pretty, variegated, heart-shaped leaves on tough, wire-like stems.
Ceropegia woodii trails nicely and makes an unusual hanging plant. The vines can grow to be two or three feet long, and the pretty leaves are deep green with variegated silver markings.
The nearly odorless Chinese lantern flowers are small and a peculiar shade of brownish pink.
Some people say these blooms looked like little vases with a rounded base and long, narrow top.
As a member of the Milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae), the plant provides plenty of visual interest.
In addition to its attractive leaves, it also produces small, bead-like tubers or bulbs at intervals along the vine giving it the appearance of a rosary.
These bulbs can be planted like seeds to grow new plants quickly and easily.
Tuck them into the soil around the parent plant or place them in new pots and you’ll have a new rosary plant almost before you know it.
- String of Hearts Plant Requirements
- Caring For The Rosary Vine Throughout The Year
- Is Ceropegia Vines Difficult To Grow?
- Good String Of Hearts Plant Care Gets The Best Results
- Steps For Rosary Plants Propagation
- Troubleshooting Rosary Plant Pests and Problems
- Should I Buy A Big Ceropegia Woodii Plant?
- Ceropegia Woodii Overview
- All About The Rosary Vine
- Ceropegia Woodii Plant Care
- Planting a String Of Hearts Vine
- Tips for Planting String of Hearts
- Rosary Vine Houseplants: How To Grow Rosary Vines Indoors
- Rosary Vine String of Hearts
- How to Grow Rosary Vines
- Rosary Vine Plant Care
- Growing Ceropegia Rosary Vine Outdoors
- How to Care for a String of Hearts Plant
- How to Propagate a String of Hearts Plant
- Common String of Hearts Problems
- Ceropegia Woodii
- Chain of Hearts care tips
String of Hearts Plant Requirements
Water: As a succulent, these plants like to be watered sparingly, especially in the wintertime. Allow the soil to dry out (almost) and then water thoroughly.
Winter care: Your plant will look a bit droopy during the cold months, but only water it sparingly. Begin watering normally in the springtime.
Humidity: Ceropegia woodii is comfortable in most household settings. It does not require high humidity.
Light: The chain of hearts plant appreciates bright, indirect sunlight, but it can do well in a low light setting.
Lower light will result in less contrast in the leaf variegation. Additionally, a low light setting will cause the backs of the leaves to take on a purplish hue.
Soil: Use a cactus potting soil mix or combine a regular potting mixture of soil with sand.
Fertilizer: During the growing season (spring to midsummer) use a balanced fertilizer for houseplants. Follow packaging instructions.
Stop fertilizing in midsummer and allow the plant to wind down for its semi-dormant period during the autumn and winter.
Hardiness: This plant is native to Africa, so it is only winter hardy in semi-tropical areas of the United States.
You can grow it outdoors year-round in zones 11 and 12. Otherwise, let it enjoy being outdoors in light shade the summertime, but be sure to bring it back indoors before the temperature drops in the fall.
Note that, even though Ceropegia woodii is not listed as an invasive species by the USDA, if you do live in an area where it can stay outdoors year round, keep an eye on it and keep it under control.
A hardy, enthusiastic grower like this one is very likely to adapt and run amok if we aren’t vigilant!
Repotting: Keep an eye on the roots, and repot when the plant seems root-bound. Typically, you should repot the parent plant and start new plants early in the springtime.
Propagation: You can grow the plant from “seed” any time. Just gather the peas and plant them in their own little pots of soil. Alternately, you can grow these succulents from cuttings. Just tuck the wiry vine into soil and watch it grow.
Growth Habits: The rosary vine tends to have a long, thin, trailing growth habit. Vines can grow to be two or three feet long and may look a bit spindly. This is why it is a good idea to tuck a few of the peas or cuttings into the soil around the mother plant to create a fuller, bushier effect.
Toxicity: Ceropegia woodii is non-toxic, but don’t get it confused with the “rosary pea”, which is thought to be the most poisonous plant in existence.
Uses: Ceropegia woodii is ideal as a small hanging basket plant with long trailing vine and stems with small, attractive variegated heart-shaped leaves.
The rosary plant makes a nice specimen plant on its own when sitting on a pedestal or hung alone in a tall narrow window. These plants also make a nice filler when hung between other hanging plants.
Because the plant’s light requirements are flexible, it can do well in a variety of settings.
Hang Ceropegia in your bathroom; set it on a pedestal in an entryway; hang it over your kitchen sink or in your sunroom or conservatory.
Caring For The Rosary Vine Throughout The Year
The plant may bloom at any time but is most likely to bloom during the summer months and into the autumn. After blooming, the plant rests until springtime.
From late autumn (around November) until early spring keep the Ceropegia plant in a cool place (no warmer than 65° F) with plenty of indirect light.
During this time, water the plant very little and do not feed it at all.
In early spring (around April) evaluate your plant and repot it as needed. Use a light, porous, well-drained soil mixture.
This is also a good time to give the plant a trim and start new plants from cuttings or corms.
Throughout the spring and into early autumn Ceropegia woodii should grow and flourish.
Keep it in a warm setting with plenty of light. A south-facing window is a good choice as long as you protect the plant from harsh, direct sunlight.
Water the plant regularly throughout the summer months.
Allow it to dry out nearly completely and then water the plant thoroughly.
Provide water-soluble houseplant fertilizer solution through the month of August. Stop fertilizing in September and resume in April.
How long will the rosary vine live?
Your original, parent plant can live a very long time on its own.
Add to that the fact that this is a very prolific plant. Once you have a rosary vine you can count on having at least one in perpetuity.
Is Ceropegia Vines Difficult To Grow?
These plants are so enthusiastic and hardy so anyone can grow them successfully.
They are attractive, rugged and require little care.
If you like to have lots of little plants to share with your friends and garden club, you need to have a rosary vine.
They are super-easy to root, grow and care for and they make a cheery addition to any collection of indoor plants.
Good String Of Hearts Plant Care Gets The Best Results
Even though these plants are practically indestructible, it naturally makes good sense to provide them with the best care for best results.
Water your rosary vine regularly throughout the summer months. Always protect it from harsh sunlight.
A happy plant is more likely to bloom and produce lots of growth buds at the bases of the leaves.
These are easy to plant to grow lots of new rosary vines that you can share with your friends.
Steps For Rosary Plants Propagation
Propagation is incredibly easy as this plant grows very well from cuttings and from the small, pearl-like seed pods growing along the vine at the base of the leaves.
You can sow these growth buds in soil exactly as you would seeds.
Follow these simple instructions:
Place three or four of the buds and a well-draining soil mixture in a small pot.
Water them well and keep them at room temperature. You will be amazed by how quickly new plants emerge.
To start new plants from cuttings you just need to clip off a small bit of stem with a couple of leaves.
Just poke the stem into light, sandy soil and treat it as you would a mature plant.
Before you know it, it will begin to grow. It’s a good idea to place several cuttings in one small pot to create the illusion of a single, bushy plant.
Is Pruning Necessary?
Grooming the rosary plant is easy. Trim it frequently to control its length and keep it looking attractive.
If you wish, you can prune it back a great deal. The plant does not mind hard pruning. Remember to use cuttings to create new plants.
Troubleshooting Rosary Plant Pests and Problems
Like most plants, if you take care of your Rosary plant and do not overwater it you should not have trouble with pests and disease.
Without the right amount of light, the right temperature or the proper amount of water, you may have problems with mealy bugs or aphids.
The plant may also be subject to fungal attacks if plants are overwatered or kept in a cold place. Harsh sunlight can result in scorching.
Aphids: If you notice tiny bugs on your plant, you may have aphids feeding on floral tissue, and there are a few options for dealing with them.
Try spraying the plant with a solution of water and natural soap to kill aphids (e.g. Dr. Bronner’s natural liquid soap).
This does not need to be a very strong solution.
A teaspoonful of soap to a cup of water should do the trick. Spray daily until the infestation is resolved.
For a particularly stubborn infestation, use an insecticide that contains pyrethrum. Follow packaging instructions carefully.
Control Aphids And Mealybug With Neem Oil
- Our #1 Plant Pest Control Recommendation is applying a All-Natural Organic Neem Spray Oil to control Aphids, Mealybugs and Scale – Follow the link to learn more about Neem Oil Spray or pick some up at Amazon.
Mealybugs: These pests are slightly bigger and individuals can be removed by hand. You may also be able to remove mealy bugs by wiping away using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
If you see dry, corky looking spots on your plant’s leaves, the problem may be too much direct sunlight.
Prune back the affected areas and make adjustments so that your Sweetheart Vine receives only bright, indirect sunlight.
You can do this by providing a light shade or relocating the plant.
Should I Buy A Big Ceropegia Woodii Plant?
Because these plants grow so quickly and so enthusiastically, there is really no reason to start off with a large plant.
If you want to have a long and luxuriant rosary plant, just wait a minute!
Even if you begin with a handful of corms or a few cuttings or a very tiny plant, you will soon have a long, lush and luxuriant rosary vine.
Clearly, there’s really no need to buy a long trailing plant, and carrying a large plant from one place to another can be quite difficult and may result in damage to the plant.
In fact, if you are moving and have a large plant you want to transport a long distance, prune it all the way back.
When you get to your new home, set it up and start caring for it. You’ll have a large plant again in no time.
Hearts entangled, indeed! Ceropegia woodii is known by many different names. Sweetheart vine, string of hearts, or even the rosary vine are but a few. And it’s a sweet plant indeed!
Its heart-shaped leaves and distinctive flowers are popular in hanging baskets. Indoor growers will love this plant, as it’s an easy grower with partial lighting. Distinctive in color, it stands out from other trailing vines.
Let’s discuss the details of growing chain of hearts plant. You’ll love this unusual and stunning showpiece!
Good Products For Growing Rosary Vine:
- Garden Safe Neem Oil Extract
- Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap
Ceropegia Woodii Overview
Full video care guide on my YouTube channel.
|Common Name(s):||String of hearts, rosary vine, chain of hearts, sweetheart vine|
|Scientific Name||Ceropegia woodii, alt. name Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii|
|Zone:||Hardiness zone 10 if grown outdoors|
|Height & Spread:||Draping, only reaches 2-3″ tall but can have vines up to 9 feet|
|Light||Bright indirect light or dappled partial sun|
|Soil||Extremely well-draining, such as a cactus mix|
|Water:||Water only when potting mix is dry|
|Pests & Diseases:||Aphids and some scale insects, mostly mealybugs. Can get root rot.|
All About The Rosary Vine
With proper string of hearts care, you can get 9′ long vines. source
Ceropegia woodii was first discovered in 1881 by John Medley Wood. In 1894, he sent a sample to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. It has become a beloved houseplant ever since!
A plethora of names are in common use for this plant. String of hearts, rosary vine, chain of hearts, hearts on a string, hearts entangled, collar of hearts, and sweetheart vine are all used. But these all refer to the same plant!
The stems have a purplish hue, as do the underside of its heart-shaped leaves. The upper surface is deep green, often with bluish-white or silvery markings. Along the stems may form aerial tubers called bulbils. White in color, the bulbils look like small beads, which may have led to the name “rosary vine”.
Its tubular flowers are incredible and distinctive to see. Vase-shaped, they have a bulb on one end from which a purplish-pink tube reaches. Five hairy petal-like extensions in a darker purple tone extend from the tip of the flower. These are quite showy and definitely attract attention!
Native to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland, it was originally discovered trailing from rocks. This trailing, curtain-like tendency makes it the perfect plant for hanging displays. The vines can reach extreme lengths, but average at least 4 feet long.
The sweetheart vine is considered an evergreen plant in subtropical or tropical regions. Indoors, it will also remain evergreen as long as it’s in the right temperature range.
On occasion, it is treated as a subspecies of Ceropegia linearis, a close relative. But most often, it uses the botanical name of Ceropegia woodii.
Ceropegia Woodii Plant Care
Rosary vine flowers have a unique, gorgeous look. source
As long as you don’t over-water your plant, chances are that it’ll just keep growing. The chain of hearts is a forgiving plant, and great for beginners. But let’s go over what will get you fabulous flowers and stunning vines!
Lighting for your ceropegia woodii is variable. Most of the time, it performs well in bright, but indirect lighting indoors. If given ample lighting, the leaves will be dark in color with obvious patterning. Lower light conditions will result in paler, light green leaves. Aim for 3-4 hours of bright light, either direct sunlight or bright indirect lighting, as a baseline.
It can adapt to partial sun conditions outdoors during the summer. You will need to harden the plant off to the outdoor climate first. Increase its exposure to the direct sun gradually to prevent sunburned leaves. The rosary plant will tolerate full sun as long as it’s not scorching – aim for afternoon shade in very hot climates.
Outdoor growing should only occur in consistent temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Your string of hearts plant won’t like cooler temps, as it’s a tropical species. Zone 10 and 11 is the only climate where year-round outdoor growth can occur.
One of the trickier things about this plant is that it absolutely hates overwatering. In fact, it’s easily killed by an excess of water. Ensure your soil is very well-draining, and do not water it until the soil is dry. Err on the side of too little, not too much!
When you do water, it’s best to do it in gradual, slow drenchings. Start by dampening the soil, then wait a few minutes. Remoisten the soil, and wait again. Repeat this process a few times until the soil has absorbed what water it needs. Drain off any excess, and don’t leave the pot standing in water for long.
As the seasons shift to the fall and winter, reduce the watering frequency. When your plant shifts from active growth to a dormant state for the cooler months, it won’t need as much water.
Opt for an extremely well-draining potting blend. Cacti or succulent mixes work well for the rosary vine. So too do potting mixes with large-grain sand or perlite blended through them. Avoid heavy, sticky soils with large amounts of clay in them. Your plant may be at risk of rot in soils that hold lots of extra moisture.
It is possible to grow this houseplant in a modified orchid mix, too. However, it prefers less bark than most orchids do. If you screen an orchid bark to remove the largest chunks, it’ll work. You may want to add a little extra perlite for added drainage.
If you do want to fertilize, do so infrequently. Don’t fertilize any more regularly than monthly during active growth. Even then, if your plant doesn’t appear to need fertilizer, skip it.
When you do fertilize, use a diluted houseplant fertilizer. Opt for half strength or weaker, and limit your feedings. As autumn approaches, reduce the frequency even more. Your plant needs a winter rest, and during that period of time it needs less water and even less fertilizer.
Full propagation guide on my YouTube channel.
Propagation of your sweetheart vine can be from bulbil, cutting, or from seed. But the most fun way is from the bulbils.
Those little white bead-like bits that grow from the stem are actually aerial roots. If you nestle one of those bulbils into your potting blend, it will develop roots quickly. Leave it attached to the vine as you’re allowing it to take root. Once it’s formed roots and is actively growing, you can separate it from its parent plant.
This vine can also be grown from cuttings. Use a clean and sterilized pair of shears to take healthy cuttings, at least 6-8″ in length. Press them into your prepared potting blend. Provide bottom heat to encourage the roots to form more quickly.
Seeds can be difficult to come by for this plant, but they are out there. Follow the directions which come with your seeds for the best way to germinate these.
The easiest of these options, and the most entertaining, is to plant the bead-like tubers. I definitely consider that to be the best method of propagating new vines of this species! Just be aware that it can take up to eight weeks for a good set of roots to form and get established.
In the far right of this image, you can see one of the whitish bulbils. Source: blumenbiene
These perform well in crowded pots, so repotting isn’t going to be an annual affair. If you do start to experience overcrowding, opt to repot in the spring. This gives you the chance to re-establish your plant before it moves into its active growth phase.
To repot, prepare your extremely well-draining potting mix in advance. Make sure it’s pre-moistened. Unpot your plant from its older pot, gently removing the old soil. Replant in its new container at the same depth as it was before. Be sure that if you have more than one plant in the pot, you separate them. This allows each plant enough space to stretch its roots.
Due to its preference for drier soils, this plant doesn’t do well in terracotta pots. The absorbent nature of terracotta may actually retain too much water for your vine. Opt for plastic pots for your sweetheart vines.
Pruning is not strictly necessary for this plant. In fact, its only real purpose is aesthetic. If you’re aiming for a specific length of vine growth, you can trim excess with sterile shears. These cuttings can be used to propagate a new plant if you wish.
One of the rosary vine’s flowers, as seen from its tip. Source: gisellecb
Are you likely to run across issues with your chain of hearts? Possibly, but most of the issues you’ll encounter will be from incorrect care. Let’s talk about what you’ll be facing and how to handle it.
As mentioned in the paragraph above, pale leaves are a sure sign that your plant’s getting low light. It won’t harm the plant, but you won’t get the full effect of its foliage without a little sun!
Overwatering is the largest cause of plant death for ceropegia plants. While they can tolerate some humidity in the air (and actually seem to enjoy it), soggy soil is a sure way to cause rot. Ensure you’ve got good quality, well-draining potting soil. If needed, add more coarse sand or perlite to your blend to allow it to drain freely.
Some people experience leaf crinkling when their plant has been dry too long. While this is uncommon, it can happen if you’ve been negligent about your watering regimen for a while. Ensure that you water when the soil dries out, and you should have lush leaves.
Aphids are a common pest. Those juicy leaves seem to draw them in like a moth to a candle’s flame. Dissuade them from moving in on the heart-shaped leaves with neem oil. A misting on both the upper and lower parts of your leaves should keep them aphid-free. If you encounter some, use an insecticidal soap to wipe them out.
Mealybugs and other forms of scale insects can also appear. Of the scale insect family, mealybugs are the most common. Remove these with a cotton swab dipped into rubbing alcohol. The alcohol makes scale release from the leaf, and you can get rid of them that way. Neem oil makes for a great preventative measure here too!
Diseases are not common for the string of hearts plant. Of the varied plant diseases that exist, only a few fungal-based root rots will impact your plant. Even then, those are rare.
To avoid root rot, do not overwater your plant. If it shows signs of yellowing leaves, you may already be suffering from a fungal root rot issue. Often, plants with a high enough level of rot to begin to yellow should be disposed of. It’s best to avoid rots by simply not overwatering your plant.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Ceropegia woodii.
Q. When does String of Hearts flower?
A. Late summer to early fall, usually. The flowers can last for up to six weeks.
Q. Is Rosary Vine drought tolerant?
A. It’s extremely drought-tolerant for a succulent vine, yes. While it does like slight humidity in the air, the soil can be dry for a bit before the plant actually suffers. Wait until the soil is dry before watering again.
Q. Is Ceropegia woodii safe around my pets?
A. At this time, it’s not believed to be poisonous to common pets. If you do discover your cat or dog nibbling on the leaves, check with your vet, but the ASPCA hasn’t issued a warning for this plant.
Your heartstrings will be tugged by this string of hearts! The vivid foliage and astonishingly unique flowers make it a houseplant staple. Find a little room in your home for a rosary vine, and you too can enjoy the glorious cascade of heart-shaped leaves!
The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:
Founder Did this article help you? × How can we improve it? × Thanks for your feedback!
We’re always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better gardener.
While you’re here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube 71 Shares
Oh, String Of Hearts, we’ve been through a lot together. Do you ever feel that way about any of your plants? This trailing plant had gotten so tangled and long that I had to cut it back completely and restart it. This is all about planting String Of Hearts, aka Rosary Vine or Ceropegia woodii. I’ll show you how I did it and the soil blend I used.
This plant came with me when I moved from Santa Barbara to Tucson and got tangled from the get-go during the 9-hour car trip. I put it in a pot with a String Of Pearls plant and a few String Of Bananas cuttings, and it got even more twisted. That, combined with the fact that it was grown outdoors, warranted a significant cut-back. Like all the way.
Planting a String Of Hearts Vine
I cut the long, tangled trails off this plant all the way down to the tubers and then dug those tubers out of the hanging pot. String Of Hearts grows by tubers which sit close to the surface of the soil. The tubers were transferred into a 4″ grow pot filled with succulent and cactus mix. This method of propagation worked the best for me – the String Of Hearts came back with a bang.
This is what was left of the plant after I cut the trails all the way back. A bit of stems & the tubers.
Here’s the plant 1 month later – fresh new growth was emerging from the tubers.
An equal blend of succulent & cactus mix & coco coir would make your String Of Hearts very happy. Or, a combo of half cymbidium orchid & half succulent mixes would be just excellent too. It’s essential to make sure the mix drains really well so the tubers don’t rot out.
Soil Mix Blend
1/3 succulent & cactus mix, 1/3 coco coir & the remaining 1/3 a combo of orchid bark & charcoal. I sprinkled in a handful of compost too & later topped it with a 1/8″ layer of worm castings. Read about my worm compost/compost feeding here.
I gave my String Of Hearts a thorough watering right after the planting and moved it into the garage. It stayed there for a week or so and now I have it on a bookcase in my living room. As you see in the video, I pruned the trails again but this time not all the way. This plant grows so fast here I’m convinced that I’ll be having at it with my trusty Fiskars Pruning Snips every few months!
The pot in the front was grown from cutting the plant back to the tubers & forcing out all new growth. The one in the back was started from cuttings. For me, the cutting back was much more successful.
Here’s the String Of Hearts after the planting. All that nice new growth came back after just 2 months.
Tips for Planting String of Hearts
Spring & summer are the best times to plant, transplant or repot a String Of Hearts. If you live in a temperate climate like I do, then early fall is excellent too. Just avoid the winter months because the plants are resting. Hibernating like bears!
When planting String Of Hearts, don’t sink those tubers too far down. They’re aerial tubers which need to grow closer to the surface of the soil.
This plant grows fast. It also tangles easily & can get straggly over time. Don’t be afraid to cut your String Of Hearts all the way back (just not in late fall &/or winter) to stimulate fresh new growth. The trails on mine had grown to be 6′ long, so it was time.
I’ve found that String Of Hearts doesn’t seem to have an extensive root system. Also, it’s a plant which prefers being slightly tight in its pot so don’t rush to repot it. I’ll leave this 1 in this yellow pot for at least 3 years.
When planting, don’t go up too large in pot size. This plant doesn’t need the room.
Just for fun – the unusual flowers of a String O Hearts. Mine bloomed 2 months after being totally cut back. Now that’s fast!
The String Of Hearts or Rosary Vine is a trailing houseplant which can be grown outdoors year-round in temperate climates. There’s also a variegated form which has a touch of pink if that’s your thing. I’ve decided to keep mine in the house so that the wind doesn’t hopelessly tangle the trails again. That said, I’m sure I’ll be pruning it again in the not too distant future!
Rosary Vine Houseplants: How To Grow Rosary Vines Indoors
Rosary vine is a plant full of distinctive personality. The growth habit appears to resemble beads on a string like a rosary, and it is also called string of hearts. Rosary vine string of hearts is native to Africa and makes an excellent houseplant. Rosary vine plant care outdoors requires a location in USDA zones 10 and above. Otherwise, rosary vine houseplants are the solution if you wish to grow this funky little plant.
Rosary Vine String of Hearts
Ceropegia woodii is the scientific designation for the wiry stemmed plant. Rosary vine houseplants have pairs of heart-shaped leaves about every 3 inches along the slender stem. The sparse foliage adds to the unique look of the plant. The leaves are etched lightly on the top surface with white and on the underside with purple. The stems drape over a pot or container and hang down to 3 feet. Little bead-like structures form on the stems at intervals between the leaves.
Rosary vine plant care is minimal and the string of hearts has a high heat tolerance and light requirement. Choose the sunniest room of the house for growing Ceropegia rosary vine.
How to Grow Rosary Vines
The little bead-like pearls on the stems are called tubercles and form after the plant has produced small tube-like purple flowers. The tubercles will root if the stem touches soil and produce another plant. If you are just in love with your plant and wonder how to grow rosary vines to share, take a look at the tubercles. You can pull them off, lay them on the surface of the soil and wait for roots. It is that simple to propagate and grow rosary vines.
Rosary Vine Plant Care
Rosary vine houseplants are old-fashioned indoor greenery that enchant with the thick heart-shaped leaves and slim stiff stems. Use a container with good drainage holes and plant string of hearts in average potting soil amended with one-third sand.
This vine must not be kept too wet or it is prone to rot. Allow the soil to dry out completely between watering. The plant goes dormant in winter, so watering should be even less frequent.
Fertilize in spring with a half dilution of food every two weeks. You can cut off errant stems, but pruning is not strictly necessary.
Growing Ceropegia Rosary Vine Outdoors
Gardeners in zones 10 and above should be cautioned about growing this funny plant outside. The tubercles spread easily and it takes only the lightest touch to dislodge them from the parent plant. That means rosary vine can spread easily and quickly. Try it on a rockery or trailing over a wall. Just watch out for the pearly little balls and their jackrabbit quick propagation.
This post contains affiliate links. If you were to make a purchase through one, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.
Looking for an easy to care for hanging plant, that shows you lots of love?
The Ceropegia woodii, also known as Rosary Vine, String of Hearts, or Chain of Hearts, gives you just that.
A plant filled with hearts. You can’t go wrong.
The String of Hearts is a trailing succulent-type plant with long slender stems. Along those stems grow pairs of small heart-shaped leaves. They have beautiful marbled patterns of white on green on the top and pink-purple undersides. Oh, the romance of this plant.
The String of Hearts plant might look very delicate, but it is deceptively easy to care for.
Being a succulent type plant, you can forget to water it once in a while and not be in too much trouble.
The String of Hearts can endure quite a bit of neglect. If you notice your plant is dried out and unhappy, give it a good watering and your hearts will perk right back up.
The long vines make it a perfect hanging plant, make an easy diy macrame hanger for your string of hearts, or put it on your plant shelf.
How to Care for a String of Hearts Plant
The Right Light for your Plant
The String of Hearts loves a lot of light. Mine hangs near an East facing window, and is currently just over 5 feet long and filled with hearts and flowers.
Pick the room with the most natural light in your home to grow your String of Hearts. You want to give it lots of bright light, and if possible a couple of hours of direct sunlight in the morning.
Your plant can thrive if it has sufficient light. Without it, it will show you how unhappy it is. The colors won’t be as bright, and the foliage will be sparse with longer empty spaces between the leaves.
Watering your Plant
The String of Hearts plant should be treated as you would care for a succulent. The hearts store water, so there is no need for very frequent waterings.
During the growing season in spring and summer, water when the soil is dry. Make sure the soil dries out between completely before watering again. You can water even less in fall and winter.
Make sure the pot has drainage holes, and the plant is potted in fast-draining cacti & succulent soil. Mixing sand and perlite in with regular potting soil will help with adequate drainage.
Related Post: When and How to Water your Plants.
How to Propagate a String of Hearts Plant
When you want to create more plants or want to have an overall fuller plant, it is really easy to propagate your String of Hearts.
Two Ways to Propagate a String of Hearts Plant
- When your plant is growing happily, you will notice small tubers growing along the stems. These tubers can be used to propagate new vines.
The tuber will form roots when it touches the soil and will then start to grow into a new plant.
So you only have to carefully remove the tuber from the stem, lay it on the soil, press it down lightly, keep the soil moist, and wait for it to grow roots.
- If your plant hasn’t made any tubers, there is another very easy way to propagate a String of Hearts.
You can cut off longer stems to root in water.
Do this preferably in the growing season. Remove a couple of pairs of leaves from the bottom of the stem. The leaf nodes are where the roots will form, and you don’t want any of the leaves sitting in the water.
Place in a bright spot. When the roots are about a quarter-inch long, you can transfer them to soil.
Propagate and start new plants to have ready to go as heartwarming presents.
Read More: How to Propagate your Plants in Water.
Common String of Hearts Problems
Don’t see your String of Hearts problem listed? Leave a comment with your question down below, and I will try to answer it asap. Let’s talk plants!
Do String of Hearts Plants Bloom?
Under the right conditions, they definitely can bloom, even indoors.
The pink tubular flowers are most curiously shaped, and they function as ingenious fly traps. Lured by the scent of the flowers, small flies will get into the purple tops and are trapped inside. Only to be released after they have been covered in the plants’ pollen.
How to prune a String of Hearts Plant?
My living room has very high ceilings so it can handle a 5-feet hanging plant with room to grow. But if your String of Hearts gets too long for its space, you can absolutely prune it back. Just cut back to the desired length.
Don’t discard the cut off stems, have them root and put them back in the soil.
When to Repot a String of Hearts Plant
If your Sting of Hearts is crowding its space in the pot, you can repot it in spring.
Repotting is not hard to do. Get all the steps to repot your plant the right way.
Is the String of Hearts Plant Toxic?
There is no mention of the Ceropegia woodii on the ASPCA List of Toxic and Non Toxic Plants. But most opinions are that the String of Hearts should be safe. Just hang your plant high enough and out of reach to be sure.
Related Post: Indoor Plants and Cats: How to keep it Safe.
Where to buy a String of Hearts Plant?
Being that the String of Hearts Plant is somewhat of an unusual plant, it is not as readily available to buy at every local plant store or garden center.
But there are a few online plant sellers on Amazon and Etsy who usually have some in their inventory.
This “adorable” houseplant is a variegated String of Hearts plant Ceropegia woodii), also called a Rosary Vine plant.
String of Hearts Plant
Rosary Vine Plant
This is a wonderful semi- succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a “fat plant.” hanging plant that is so easy to care for I’m surprised everyone doesn’t have one. The important thing to remember is that A String of hearts plant (Rosary Vine) doesn’t like to be over- watered! Here are some care tips:
Light: bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn’t provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. with some direct sun early in the day.
Water: Keep the soil barely moist in spring and summer. Cut back on your water during fall and winter allowing the plant to practically dry out before watering
fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. : Feed monthly in spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Do not feed in the fall and winter.
Humidity: Basic household humidity
propagationLearn how to propagate plants by plant division at https://www.houseplant411.com/glossary: Really easy to propagate. Plant stem tip cuttings into moist soil, that’s all there is to it!
A string of hearts plant.
String of Hearts, Ceropegia woodii, is just one of many species in the genus Ceropegia that are grown as ornamental houseplants. Native to southern Africa, from Zimbabwe to eastern South Africa, this tender perennial plant in the milkweed subfamily (Asclepiadoideae) of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) is sometimes classified as C. linearis subsp. woodii. The genus name was given by Linneaus to describe his interpretation of the appearance of the flowers as fountains of wax from the words keros, meaning wax, and pege meaning fountain. The species name honors John Medley Wood (1827-1915), who collected native African plants after he retired from the East Indian Merchant Service.
Plants in this genus have many other colorful common names including bushman’s pipevine, lantern flower, necklace vine, parachute flower, and wine-glass vine. Rosary vine is another commonly used name for C. woodii, along with chain of hearts, collar of hearts, and hearts entangled (because the stems easily enmesh).
The pink or purple stems bear many heart-shaped leaves.
C. woodii, like many other species in this genus, is a straggly evergreen climber that in its native habitat would scramble up through other vegetation. The stringy, purplish stems are vining or trailing, making this best grown as a hanging plant. But the stems can also be trained up a small trellis or topiary frame. The simple, opposite heart-shaped leaves are 1-2 cm wide and long. They are dark green marbled with silver on the upper surface and green to purple on the underside. In other species the leaves may be rudimentary or absent, or may be thick, fleshy and succulent. With the tangled, trailing branches that can grow several feet long hanging down, the regularly spaced leaves resemble a row of large beads. Small tubers, which look somewhat like little potatoes, form at the nodes or leaf bases along the stems – another possibility for the “beads” that give rise to the common name of rosary vine.
The interesting flower of C. woodii.
Plants bloom primarily in the summer and fall, but flowers may appear sporadically at odd times throughout the year. The interesting and distinctive inch-long flowers have a bulbous base and tubular corolla in shades of white to pale magenta. The five purple petals are fused at the tips, forming a cage-like canopy so the blossoms resemble a small inverted pink vase. The waxy flowers are lined with small, downward pointing hairs that act to trap small flies that are attracted by the scent and enter the flowers. The insect is prevented from escaping until the hairs wither, and the fly departs with a pollinia (a mass of pollen grains that are transferred as a group) attached that can then be transferred to the next flower the fly visits. Hummingbirds may be attracted to the flowers if the plants are outside during the summer. If pollinated, the flowers are followed by horn-shaped seed pods characteristic of the milkweed family. The stacks of flat seeds each have a pappus – very similar to milkweed seed – that help the seeds disperse on the wind.
The succulent leaves become thickened when storing water.
C. woodii is a caudiciform plant, having a swollen basal stem or root for water storage. It develops a woody caudex at its base as it matures. Underground the roots may develop tubers, which can grow to fill a pot.
There are few cultivars of this plant. C. woodii f. variegata has cream and pink variegated leaves.
The leaves are dark green mottled with silver.
String of hearts can be grown outdoors in tropical or subtropical climates, but is also an easy indoor plant that can be grown in a west or south facing window. In strong light the leaves will be darkly colored, with distinctive marbling; if not given enough light they will be a light green color. Houseplants can be moved outside during the summer, but need to be acclimated gradually to the stronger light to prevent sunburn. If moved outside, be sure to bring indoors before the first frost. During the winter, keep the plants in relatively warm conditions, above 60°F.
This succulent plant requires excellent drainage and should be watered only when dry. It tolerates dry soil much better than soggy soil; it is easily killed by overwatering. Use a freely-draining potting medium with plenty of coarse sand, perlite or other large-textured component to allow for adequate drainage (such as a commercial cacti & succulent mix. Allow the soil to dry between deep waterings. Fertilize infrequently (at most monthly when actively growing) with half strength houseplant fertilizer. Plants do best with a winter rest period. Reduce watering in winter and do not fertilize during this time. This houseplant does best when crowded, so repot only when necessary. Repotting is best done in spring before new growth starts. It has few pests, but mealybugs can be a problem.
The small aerial tubers will root to form a new plant.
String of hearts is easily propagated from cuttings, from tubers produced at the base of the leaves or by seed. The aerial tubers (“beads”) can be planted to produce new vines. Just press the tuber – preferably still attached to the vine – into the soil of another pot. Keep the growing medium moist, but not wet, to encourage rooting. Once the tuber is rooted and growing in a few weeks or months, sever it from the original plant. Cuttings from the vine are best rooted with bottom heat.
– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison
By: Daniel Greiner
Ceropegia Woodii is native to South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. When the plant was first discovered in 1881 it was found hanging from rocks at an altitude of 1800 ft. Later the first specimen was grown at the Kew Gardens in 1894. it appears that it was in limited distribution throughout the mid 1900’s. A few herbarium specimens from the 1940’s still capture the plants interesting flowers and leaves.
Fast forward to 2019 and its been a good 130 years since the first introduction of this plant. It amazes me how quickly people forget the existence of things. This plant for all its merit should still be today as popular as it was 100 years ago and yet its been forgotten.
Currently this plant is enjoying a new surge of interest as it has been “rediscovered” by plant enthusiasts too young or unaware to realize it’s grandmas plant. With the advent of social media and things like Pinterest these plants are now gaining the advantage of wider exposure.
I have been growing this plant since I was a child, however I will admit that I rarely ever see them available for sale and when I have the prices are extremely high.
A succulent vine reaching 2-4 meters with heart shaped leaves arranged in opposite pairs. The top of the leaves are lightly textured with the raised portions being dark green to purple in high light, or light green in lower light. The portions not raised are silvery in color with a suffusion of purple. The edge of the leaf is also trimmed in the darker or lighter shade of green. Undersides of the leaves can vary from dark purple to light green again depending on light as the variable. leaves become noticeably thicker after watering versus when there has been a prolonged period of drought. leaves appear to hook onto things quite well and may assist with the vines in scrambling up through low brush. These vines do not have tenderals so do not possess the capacity to cling to support but rather use other mechanisms such as the leaves to hang to their supports. I suspect the vine grows in areas with little competition for light and primarily creeps across the ground.
Inter node length is greatly influenced by light and plants in lower light can have as much as 2-3 inches between leaf pairs.
Flowers are produced from the leading growing tip and are constantly produced in sufficient light. The base of the flower is bulbous with a slimmer column that meets the dark velvety cap like a small inverted pink vase. The cap is made up of 5 comma shaped petals that fuse together at the top creating a cage. The overall color of the flower is light purple on the lower portions to dark purple at the cap.
Pollination for this species is truly fascinating. Ceropegia rely on Midges to pollinate their flowers. Each species of Ceropegia use different floral attractants to draw in species best suited for pollination. As soon as the top of the flowers opens it begins to emit a scent that draws the midge to it. The midges that are attracted are always female and the insects forces itself between the hairs in the ‘lantern’ appearing top. It then encounters hairs that are downward pointing forcing the insect to proceed downward to the bulbous base where the pollen and anthers are. There are special nectaries located at the base of the anthers and as the midge drinks the sweet nectar it picks up the pollen and deposits the pollen its currently carrying onto the stigma.
Once the flower is pollinated the stockade of hairs withers and the flower bends through 90 degrees on its stalk, so the chimney is horizontal and the midges, carrying pollen, can escape.
The flower will then begin to produce an elongated pod similar to a milkweed. If the Midge pollinated more than one stigma you will get two pods forming as a pair opposite to the old floral stem.
It’s long pendulous stems allow for it to be grown in hanging baskets or pots. It makes no attempt to grow upwards and will produce perfectly strait vines that rarely branch. Most of the new shoots appear from the hidden potato like tubers although these will also appear along the stem periodically.
The plant stores water in these tubers as well as in their fleshy leaves. This allows them to go through short periods of drought. Indoor plants are usually potted in a peat based mix that retains moisture for much longer and caution should be made to not over water. this plant typically should be watered once a week to more likely once every two weeks. Because this vine grows so vigorously you should fertilize the plant at every watering.
Plants seem to be very tolerant of a wide variance of light conditions. They do best in bright indirect to partial direct sunlight. I have seen many people who have successfully grown this plant quite a distance from a bright window and have it do well. Observe the inter node length to help you determine if its getting enough light.
Propagating this plant is slow and requires patience. Plants can easily be propagated by taking 4-5 inch tip cuttings and laying them on the surface of moist potting soil till they root in, or placing the base of the stems in water until roots form. Additionally you may harvest the tubers and plant them. If using tubers for propagation you must not over water. I like to fill a pot with potting soil with a generous amount of perlite and then sprinkle about a quarter inch of perlite on the very top and bury your tubers till the tops are just barely visible under the perlite. keep barely damp unit you see lots of new vines flush out.
water propagation of Ceropegia
I highly encourage you to grow this as it has lower light demands than many succulents. I also want you to remember that plants like this should not be grown just because it is currently fashionable, but because they are truly unique and worthy of a space in your home.
- Ceropegia woodii
- Rosary Vine
The string of hearts is a semi-succulent plant, which means it is more tolerant of dry soil than wet soil and is prone to rotting in wet soil. You should water it sparingly, if in doubt. You can always add more water.
You can confidently allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. This plant goes dormant in Autumn and Winter and therefore needs less watering. The soil should be lightly moist in spring and summer.
Light conditions required
Keep your string of hearts in bright light, with some direct sun (but not all day) for the best colour and plenty of leaves.
If you notice large spaces between leaves, the chances are the plant is not getting enough light.
Temperature and humidity
This is a plant that enjoys 40-50% humidity and thrives between 18 and 24 Celcius, so is well-suited to most UK homes.
The main attraction of this plant is the beautifully-shaped leaves and the gorgeous pattern on its trailing leaves, but it does also produce small purple flowers in the spring/summer.
Trails to 90cm or more.
As your string of hearts grows, you might notice little bead-like nodules on the vines. These appear after the plant has flowered. If these nodules touch the soil, the nodule will send down roots into the soil and another new plant will form. So you can drape the nodules over the surface of the pot, or cut the vines by the nodules and place the vine with the nodule on the surface of the soil to encourage it to grow another plant in the same pot – or even share cuttings with your friends.
In the UK, the string of hearts won’t survive our winter temperatures outdoors. However, in its native habitat, this plant propagates and spreads so quickly and easily that it can be hard to control. It’s a great first plant to get started with propagation.
Chain of Hearts care tips
Chain of Hearts is one of my all time favourite house plants, with those amazing wispy strings that just grow & grow, and those gorgeous heart shaped leaves. They’re generally considered to be easy care plants, although to keep them happy there’s a few things you need to know. In this article I’ll detail my tips and advice on how to find and maintain a lush Chain of Hearts plant.
Buy more than one
The easiest way, by far, to achieve a lush looking plant quickly is to buy multiple plants and plant them together. Chain of Hearts is a slow growing plant when it’s small, so if you’re only working with a few strands to start with, it will be a long play waiting for it to thicken.
Unless they’re rare or hard to find where you live, shop around to get the biggest plant/s you can find. All of my big Chain of Hearts purchases ones have been online and second hand purchases – via Gumtree, FB marketplace, FB Buy/Swap/Sell groups or eBay. Buying second hand is a great way to get established plants at reasonable prices. You can save searches into most if not all of these platforms so you get alerts when your lusted after item becomes available, although I will note this is both a blessing and a curse!
Light is key to make them grow
To make them grow, you need light. Light light light. Bright indirect light that hits the top of soil as well as the leaves. Without decent light, they will not grow well. Whilst they will thrive in bright indirect light, be sure to not allow direct sunlight to hit the leaves as this may cause sun burn. I tend to position my COH plants as close to a window as possible, and in a spot on a shelf or table that is unobstructed by other objects to ensure the top of the soil has ample access to light.
Water them sparingly
They’re not technically succulents, but should be treated like one in terms of their watering requirements. Use your finger or a moisture meter to check the soil before watering, and give them water equivalent to one fifth of the pot size only when the soil is dry. One of the reasons these guys prefer to dry out between watering is due to the tubers they grow in their roots. They look like little potatoes, but are in fact their water stores.
Watch your pot size – keep it small for optimal drainage
Ensure the pot you put them in is only a little larger than the roots. To my eternal frustration, nurseries often grow these in pots that are way too big. The bigger the pot, the more soil. The more soil, the longer it takes for it to dry out after watering. The roots are prone to rot if left in moist soil, so drainage is key. Repotting these plants is very easy, despite how delicate they appear. Simply dig the roots & tubers out of the soil using your hands (they’re not usually that long), and repot them in an appropriately sized pot. They’ll often nicely fit in a small vessel where they can live for a long time before requiring a new pot.
Chain of Hearts is one of the easiest plants to propagate. Snip along the chain, and put the cut end in water to grow roots. You can expect roots to form in around 4 weeks. Once the roots are a few cm long, they’re ready for transplantation to soil, where you can either add them back in with the mother plant or pot them in a new pot to create a new plant. As an added benefit, cutting the chain will encourage bushier growth, as the chopped chain will send new growth out on the nodes further up.
Pin the vines on the top of the soil
Another trick to encourage new vines is to take a vine & loop it around on the top of the pot, ensuring the nodes have contact with soil. Bobby pins are super useful to hold them in place. The nodes will eventually grow roots and then grow new chains.
Watch out for pests
Like you would with any plant, watch out for pests. They tend to attract the occasional mealybug, as well as aphids & scale. Prevention is the best form of pest management, and they’ll benefit from a monthly spray down with neem oil solution to keep pests at bay. If you notice pests on your plant, first ensure you isolate the plant and put it in quarantine while it’s being treated. Then apply the necessary pest treatment a few times during the following month. Neem oil is a good product to have on hand as it works on a range of common plant pests. Be careful if using a soil soak solution, as too much moisture in the soil for too long can results in root rot.
Sale plants are smaller than traditional plants – see first photo for representative specimen. Vines are approximately 6-10″ in length.
Whether you call it “String of Hearts,” “Rosary Vine” or “Sweetheart Vine,” there’s a lot to love about Ceropegia woodii, a flowering plant from South Africa that makes a fantastic houseplant. Its plump leaves are shaped just like little hearts, deep green in color lined with bright light blue. The new grown and stems are often tinged pink. The leaves appear on long cascading vines that hang straight down, creating an effect almost like a beaded curtain of heart-shaped leaves. String of Hearts often flowers when kept as an indoor plant – its pale magenta flowers have deep purple centers, which provide a lovely pop of color.
Ceropegia woodii ‘String of Hearts’ is perfect for a sunny spot in your home – it is happiest with a bit of direct sun, but bright indirect light will do. A semi-succulent, this plant is drought tolerant and simple to care for. In time, its vines can grow quite long – 4 feet or more. Hanging near a window and enjoy this sweetheart among indoor plants.
Ships in a 6″ plastic nursery pot. Leaves measure .5″ long. Each specimen has multiple vining stems, approximately 1-2 feet in length. Natural variation in size, color and appearance may occur.
*Limited quantity available. Hand thrown ceramic planter and Fabric Plant Hanger sold separately.
SHIPPING AND DELIVERY INFO
Items in our Specimen Plants collection require special pre-shipping preparation, and ship within 3-5 business days. You’ll receive a shipping notification email with tracking when your order ships. Box warmer included at no additional charge as necessary during cold months.
International shipping unavailable due to customs restrictions.