String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii) is a long trailing plant species desired for its small, kidney-shaped leaves and unique, tubular pink-purple flowers. It is also known by other common names such as Chain of Hearts and Hearts Entangled.
This species is native to South Africa and is fantastic to grow in a hanging basket, with trailing stems reaching 3 feet or more in length.
This species is a succulent (although it may not look like one) and does well when not overwatered and given bright, indirect sunlight.
This species is easy to propagate by a variety of methods, the most common being stem cuttings or division of an existing plant. This means that if you have a friend who already owns this plant, you can have your own string of hearts with just a few easy steps!
How to Propagate String of Hearts
Depending on the method you use, the basic method is as follows:
- Identify healthy, vigorous stems (ideally in the springtime when growth is active)
- Using sharp, clean scissors, cut the stem just below a node (the location where two leaves meet on the stem)
- Leave the cuttings to dry and callus over slightly, which helps to prevent rotting
- Place the cuttings in your medium of choice (soil, water etc.)
- Leave your cuttings in an area with indirect light for 4-6 weeks
- Repot your plant into a larger container once roots have formed
Different Ways String of Hearts Propagation
And that’s it! We will go into detail below about each possible method so you can ensure you succeed in propagating your plant.
How to propagate string of hearts in water
The method used for propagating string of hearts in water is very similar to the method described above. A couple of specific steps should be added to ensure your plant cuttings root properly and do not rot and go mushy when in the water.
Once you place the cutting in water, make sure the cut end and additional nodes are submerged, as this is where roots will grow from.
You should also be sure to change the water every few days to ensure the water is fresh and not stagnant. Use room temperature water, as hot or cold water may shock and harm the cuttings.
Just like with other cuttings, you will want to place your cuttings in a bright area with indirect light, but if your container is made of glass you should cover it to make sure the submerged part of the stems are in darkness, but the leaves are in the light.
This is because roots are more likely to grow if they ‘believe’ they are underground and avoid growing in bright areas.
Keep a close eye on your cuttings and check for roots every week or so. After 4-6 weeks you should start to see roots form.
Don’t let your plant sit in water for too long after roots start to develop, as it may fail to adjust to being planted in soil and your cuttings will die.
It is also important to protect String of Hearts from extreme heat and cold, as it is not a frost-tolerant species and may freeze.
How to propagate string of hearts in soil
The method of propagating string of hearts in soil is a popular choice as you do not need to transplant your cuttings after they form roots, potentially increasing the success of your propagation.
After you find suitable stems to cut and allow them to callus over, dip your cuttings in a rooting hormone. Rooting hormone is a plant growth regulator that is used to stimulate root growth in cuttings of plants.
It is commonly used when propagating plants to increase the chances of success and to speed up the rooting process. Rooting hormone is usually a powder or gel that contains auxins, a type of plant hormone that promotes root growth.
When a cutting is dipped into rooting hormone and then planted, the auxins stimulate the growth of roots, helping the cutting to establish itself as a new plant.
After dipping your plant in rooting hormone, plant it into some well-draining potting soil and water thoroughly. Keep the soil moist (but not waterlogged) for a few weeks to encourage root growth from the nodes.
Once your plant cutting has established a healthy root system (you can plant your stems into a clear pot or cup so you can see the roots develop) you can transplant it into a bigger pot with more soil to help it grow larger.
As your plant grows, you can choose to allow it to grow long and trail (desirable if in a hanging planter) or trim it regularly to encourage a fuller, bushier growth habit, depending on the aesthetics you want.
How to propagate string of hearts from a leaf
Although not a very popular method, String of Hearts can also be propagated from a leaf.
- Cut a leaf (or two if attached to the same node) from the stem making sure to leave a small part of the stem attached.
- Place the leaf stem-side down in a pot of well-draining soil. Press the leaf gently into the soil to help secure it in place and make sure the stem and node is partially covered by soil.
- Water the soil gently (or mist to avoid disturbing the soil) and leave the pot in an area with bright indirect light.
- Eventually, the leaf will develop roots from the node and a new plant will grow from the base.
Propagation String of Hearts from a leaf is not as reliable as other methods such as stem cuttings or division. This is because not all leaves will successfully root.
It may also take a long time for leave to form roots. However, it is an easy and interesting method to produce multiple plants as you do not need a length of stem to propagate. You have the option to root several leaves in a single pot, creating a fuller plant in the end.
Where to cut string of hearts for propagation
Although it may be surprising, not all parts of a plant can be used for propagation! This is because specific cells are present in some areas of the plant that encourage new cell development, allowing the plant to grow.
In other parts of the plant, cells for leaf development or root growth are present. To locate the areas of your plant usable for propagation by stem cuttings, you want to look for nodes.
On a String of Hearts, these nodes are located along the stems at the junction of leaves.
To cut your plant for propagation, ensure you have at least one node in your cutting to ensure roots can be developed.
If your plant has been looped back up into the pot onto the soil, you may even see roots develop from these nodes to help the plant establish a more secure connection to the soil.
When making a cut for propagation (or trimming) of your plant, be sure to use clean, sharp scissors.
String of Hearts are not particularly strong, so you shouldn’t need clippers or shears.
Making clean cuts will ensure your plant heals over properly and minimizes the chance of disease or pests impacting the plant.
String of hearts propagation by division
Propagation by division is another common way to propagate String of Hearts. This method is simple and effective and when done properly, can establish a new plant and help the mother plant grow more.
The key to this method is to wait until the mother plant has overgrown its current pot. This ensures there are ample roots developed and the division will be less harmful to the plant.
To check if your plant is root bound, carefully lift it and the soil out of the pot it is in.
If roots take up most of the visible area, with little soil between them, and circle around the perimeter of the pot, then your plant is ready to divide. Ideally, you will also divide your plant in the spring season to ensure your plant is ready to grow after being split up.
Gently tease apart the roots to separate the root ball. Don’t worry about breaking some roots, as this can actually stimulate growth and encourage the plant to recover after division.
You can make as many plants, in as many different sizes, as you like, as long as each new plant has a healthy root system and at least one stem (but ideally more).
Repot each divided plant into a new pot, using a well-draining potting mix and watering them thoroughly. Water more often than usual as roots begin to establish, as roots are less likely to grow into soil that is dry.
Be sure not to over-water your plant however, as root rot can develop and will stress and possibly kill your plant before it can establish properly. Place your new plants in bright, indirect light to encourage new growth.
By dividing your plant this way, you can create new String of Hearts plants to sell or share with friends, and you also avoid needing to repot the original mother plant into a bigger pot when it becomes root bound.
By gently disturbing the roots, you can also stimulate growth and encourage a healthy, happy plant.
Can you propagate string of hearts from leaves?
Yes, you can propagate String of hearts from leaves. This method is often slower than through cuttings of division, but can result in a fuller and happier plant if done properly.
Follow the steps outlined above to locate a suitable area to cut and propagate your plant from a leaf cutting. Once you see new growth develop from the leaf, you will know your efforts have been successful and you have a new plant on the way.
This is a great way to make the most of your plant, as each leaf node along a stem can be used, resulting in potentially hudreds of new plants from a single mother plant!
Although your new plants will be small, with proper care and growing conditions they will quickly grow into an army of String of Hearts!
How do you make a string of hearts bushier?
String of hearts is well-known for going “bald” on top once it reaches a certain length.
This means that leaves on the top of the plant, often within the pot or directly over the soil, will slowly wilt and die off over time as the plant grows longer and more trailing.
To solve this issue, there are a few methods you can use to make your plant grow bushier at the top:
- Prune the plant regularly: regular pruning of the tips of stems will encourage your plant to become bushier and fuller. Stems will sometimes split into two when trimmed back, increasing the number of stems your plant has.
- Provide bright, indirect light: String of Hearts grows best in bright, indirect light. Direct light can burn the leaves and cause them to wither and dry out, creating a thin and naked look for your plant.
- Wrap your plant: wrapping stems in a circle and placing them on top of the soil in the pot can help to stimulate new root growth from nodes. Light and regular misting will help roots establish back into the soil, helping to cover the “bald” stems at the top of the plant.
- Avoid overwatering: as succulent, string of hearts does not need excessive watering to survive. Overwatering can lead to root rot and slow down the growth of the plant.
- Fertilize regularly: application of fertilizer on a regular basis can help to promote healthy growth and encourage bushiness. Only fertilize during the growing season and follow the instructions for your specific type of fertilizer to avoid shocking your plant.
- Propagate: Propagating your String of Hearts by stem cuttings or division will increase the number of plants you have. By planting these cuttings back into your pot you can increase the bushiness of your plant and help it appear fuller.