Variegated String of Hearts: Beautiful Succulent Care Guide

The species of succulents that we bring you in this article is the variegated String of Hearts, also known as ‘Ceropegia woodii variegata’. We are going to talk, specifically, about their care and propagation. The ‘Ceropegia linearis subs. woodii’ or simply ‘Ceropegia woodii’ is a species of very elegant pendant succulent and increasingly popular among lovers and collectors.

variegated string of hearts

Depending on the region, it can be known by one of the following common names: Rosary Vine, Collar of Hearts, Heart Strings, Chain of Hearts, Keepsake Heart, String of Hearts, Chinese Lantern, Hearts-On-A-String, or Sweetheart Vine. It is named for its particular shape as it has thin stems with a pair of heart-shaped leaves that grow at a distance from each other.

This succulent is native to Africa and is hanging or creeping, measuring up to more than a meter in length. Due to its delicate appearance, it is often believed that its care is difficult, but in reality, with the appropriate knowledge, it is one of the easiest plants to care for.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know on how to care for the variegated String of Hearts and how to easily propagate it at home.

How to Care for Variegated String of Hearts

Now, we will explain in detail the care of ‘Ceropegia woodii variegata’ or variegated String of Hearts, namely the lighting, irrigation, temperature, substrate and the type of pot or container.

Also, we are going to explain to you how to fertilize, how to flower and how to prune and transplant the variegated String of Hearts.

Lighting

This plant is relatively versatile in its lighting requirements. They like to be in well-lit places, but they can also bear to live in spaces where they only receive indirect light.

You should be careful to place your variegated String of Hearts in a place where it can receive at least 3 to 5 hours of light each day. Keep in mind that this succulent has thin stems and small leaves, so it does not have much space to store water and it can become dehydrated when exposed to too strong a sun if the climate in your region is warmer. They prefer partial shade or bright indirect light. Keep this in mind when choosing your location.

You can also place this plant outdoors as long as it is in the shade of a tree or in any place protected from direct light. Indoors, place your plant near a window. If you live in the northern hemisphere, we recommend a south-facing window; If, on the other hand, you live in the southern hemisphere, a window facing north is the best option.

If your ‘Ceropegia woodii variegata’ is not getting enough light, it will let you know very soon. When these plants need more lighting they direct the stems towards the light source, the pairs of leaves grow leaving more stem space and the leaves change color to a paler and less marbled color. If this happens to your plant, move it to a place with better lighting conditions.

Watering

As we have repeated, previously, in many other articles , the requirements regarding the frequency of irrigation depends a lot on the conditions in which you have the plant. We recommend that you read the article about how often to water succulents.

Be careful not to over water because, like other succulents, the roots of this plant are prone to rot from overwatering. In this article you can learn how to tell if a plant is overwatered or underwatered.

As a general rule, we advise you to water your variegated String of Hearts abundantly but infrequently. Let the substrate dry completely between each watering day. During the winter, reduce the frequency as this plant enters a hibernation period.

Temperature

‘Ceropegia woodii variegata’ does not withstand low temperatures well. If you have this species outdoors and the temperatures drop below 5ºC (41ºF), it is best to bring your plants indoors or put them in a greenhouse.

Substrate

Make sure to use the best soil for succulents in pots. You can buy it in garden stores, on Amazon, or you can make your own homemade recipe. Here are some homemade succulent soil recipes to make your own substrate.

We particularly like to mix our usual succulent substrate with a little coconut fiber or orchid substrate. The variegated String of Hearts loves that extra porosity.

Container

We recommend using a container or pot with drainage holes to avoid root rot due to excess moisture. If you still don’t know how to choose the perfect pot, we invite you to read our article on how to choose the best drainage pots for succulents.

Since this plant can be more than a meter long, it is advisable to use pots that are hung from the wall or ceiling, so that the ‘Ceropegia woodii variegata’ will have space to hang freely.

Also, this species is very elegant and decorative in hanging pots. A good recommendation is to use a macrame pot hanger. Another option is to put the pot on the top of a shelf, chair or bookcase.

Fertilization

‘Ceropegia woodii variegata’ does not need to be fertilized frequently. In general, an annual fertilization is sufficient and, it is best to do it during the spring, at the beginning of the active growing season.

You can use a compost or commercial fertilizer for succulents following the recommended application directions.

Another highly recommended option is to make your own fertilizer or homemade compost. Do you want to know how to do it? In these two articles we show you step by step how to make banana peel tea fertilizer and using eggshells as fertilizer.

Flowering

In this photograph, you can see the variegated String of Hearts in bloom. This species usually blooms at the end of summer or during the fall.

These small flowers can attract pollinating insects and, depending on the area, hummingbirds.

How to Transplant Variegated String of Hearts

The best time to transplant the variegated String of Hearts is during spring or summer. This plant tends to grow more cascadingly than wide, so you will notice that it is not necessary to transplant frequently.

This succulent tends to become entangled with itself and even with other plants, so when you go to transplant, take the time that is necessary to untangle the stems, thus preventing them from breaking or snapping.

How to Prune the Variegated String of Hearts

When the plant grows too low or is too bushy it is advisable to prune. Don’t be afraid to cut, because you can use the stems to propagate, as we will explain later in this article. Also, did you know that pruning encourages new growth? That’s right, pruning makes the String of Hearts fuller!

We recommend using tools previously disinfected with alcohol and taking advantage of the pruning time to remove dry or wilted leaves and woody stems.

How to Propagate String of Hearts

Now that you know how to care for Ceropegia woodii ‘String of Hearts’, we encourage you to try to propagate this species in your own home.

This succulent is very easy to propagate. It can be multiplied by cuttings, by tuber and by seeds. In this article we will explain three very easy propagation techniques.

To propagate the variegated String of Hearts, we will need the following materials:

  • Succulent plant Ceropegia woodii variegata
  • Scissors or cutter
  • Substrate for succulents
  • Pots
  • Glass jars
  • A water sprinkler

We recommend that you prepare in advance for the propagation. As we always advise, water your plants a couple of days before starting the propagation so that the cuttings have enough time to hydrate and build water reserves between their tissues. This will give them more energy for successful propagation.

How to propagate String of Hearts cutting

Now we tell you step by step how to propagate the Ceropegia woodii ‘String of Hearts’ by stem cuttings:

  1. Select cuttings: Choose cuttings that are more than 2 inches long. They should look good, have a good color, no yellow, brown or black spots, and generally look healthy with well-hydrated leaves.
  2. Disinfect tools: Disinfect your scissors or cutter with alcohol.
  3. Separate the cuttings: Cut the stem of your plant to the desired height, a few millimeters above the node.
  4. Remove lower leaves: Remove the pair of leaves from the part closest to the cut of each stem. You should leave about an inch of stem at the bottom. This is done to make room for new roots and to eliminate the possibility of leaf rot.
  5. Planting: Since this species has such thin stems it is not necessary to leave it to heal. Immediately after cutting them you can plant them using special substrate for succulents.

Don’t bury the stem too deep because it could rot. If it does not stay fixed in place, you can help by using stones or rocks as padding to make weight, or fix the cutting to the substrate with the help of a clip or florist wire.

  • Start watering and take care of your new plants: You must water abundantly every time the substrate dries completely. As the days go by, the cuttings will take root and become new independent plants.

A variation of this method consists of laying the cuttings directly on the substrate (You can fix them to the substrate with clips or florist wire). Make sure the substrate remains moist by spraying it with water and you will notice that over time the stems will take root.

Don’t miss our article on propagating succulents.

How to propagate String of Hearts in water

To propagate String of Hearts in water, you must follow the initial steps of the previous method: Choose the cuttings, cut them with disinfected tools and remove the leaves closest to the cut.

Propagation in water is done to accelerate the rooting process of the plant. In addition, it is usually more effective because it maintains moisture.

So, after having your cuttings (remember that with this species it is not necessary to allow to heal), follow these steps:

  1. Take a semi-transparent container, preferably dark glass. With such a container you will be able to see the growth of the roots and check if the water is still suitable to continue with the propagation or if you should change it. At the same time, the dark glass protects the new roots from light.
  2. Place your cuttings inside the container in an upright position, remembering to maintain the natural order of the leaf and add water until it covers one or two centimeters of the base.
  3. Use potable water; it can be filtered or not.
  4. You should adjust the water level so that the cuttings are always in contact and check that it is always crystal clear. Change the water regularly or whenever it is cloudy.
  5. When your cuttings have several roots, it is time to transfer them to substrate.
  6. Plant the cuttings in suitable substrate for succulents and care for them as you would an adult String of Hearts.

How to propagate String of Hearts from tubers

Small tubers form on the roots of Ceropegia woodii from which the species can also multiply.

  1. Search the roots for the tuber. If it is one with roots, better.
  2. Separate the tuber from the stems using disinfected tools.
  3. Bury the tuber in a small pot with succulent substrate.
  4. Water it regularly, about once a week.

Over time you will notice that new growth appears from the tuber and that means that the propagation has been successful.

Most common problems of String of Hearts

The most common problems in this species have to do with irrigation issues, either due to excess or lack of. This species has very thin roots and is prone to rot when exposed to too much moisture, so avoid overdoing it with watering.

If, on the other hand, they do not receive enough water, their leaves and stems begin to dry out. If you notice that the leaves begin to dry and fall, progressively increase the frequency of watering.

Finally, like other succulents, they can suffer from pests. The most common are the cottony mealybug and aphids. Here are some ways on how to kill mealybugs.