How to Propagate String of Hearts: 3 Methods

The string of hearts plant, also known as Ceropegia woodii, is a beautiful vining succulent that is highly sought after for its cascading strings of heart-shaped leaves. Propagating string of hearts is an easy way to get more of these trailing beauties for your home or to share with friends. There are a few different methods for propagating string of hearts, giving you options to choose what works best for your needs and environment.

Taking String of Hearts Cuttings

Taking cuttings from an existing string of hearts plant is the most direct way to propagate it. This allows you to clone the parent plant for identical new plants that will have all the same features and growth habits.

How to Take a Cutting

Taking a cutting from your string of hearts is simple:

  • Use sterilized, sharp scissors or garden snips to cut a strand of the vine around 6 inches long. Choose a stem that is healthy with several leaves on it.
  • Cut just below a node, which is the point where a leaf emerges from the vine. This is where new roots will emerge.
  • Optionally, you can dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder which contains ingredients to help stimulate root growth. However, this is not required.
  • Plant the cutting into well-draining potting mix. Standard cactus/succulent soil or a 50/50 blend of potting soil and perlite works well.
  • Stick the cut end 2-3 inches deep into the soil so the leaves emerge above.
  • Water lightly and place the pot somewhere warm (70-80°F) with bright, indirect light.
  • In 4-6 weeks, you should see new root growth. Once established, you can begin watering more frequently.
  • Once the cutting is rooted and putting on new growth, transplant it into a hanging basket or other container to allow the strands to cascade.

Taking several cuttings at once improves your chances of success. And be sure to use clean tools to prevent spreading disease. With the right care, string of hearts cuttings root quickly for fast and easy propagation.

Tips for the Best Results

Follow these tips when taking and rooting string of hearts cuttings:

  • Take cuttings in spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. Avoid winter.
  • Select young, healthy stems that are showing vigorous growth. Older wood is less likely to root well.
  • Keep the cuttings hydrated by misting them daily until roots establish.
  • Place in bright, indirect light but avoid direct hot sunlight while they root. Too much light can scorch tender new cuttings.
  • Keep the soil moist but not soaked. Check daily and water when the top inch becomes dry.
  • Use bottom heat, such as a heat mat or warm spot, to encourage faster rooting if desired.
  • Once rooted, acclimate the new plant gradually to normal conditions.

Propagating String of Hearts in Water

You can also root string of hearts cuttings in water rather than soil. This allows you to visually monitor the rooting process.

How to Propagate in Water

Follow these simple steps for propagating string of hearts in water:

  • Take 6 inch cuttings the same as you would for soil propagation.
  • Optional: Dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder or gel.
  • Place the cut end in a small jar or vase of room temperature water.
  • Top off with water as needed to keep the water level just below the lower leaves.
  • Set in a warm spot with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sun.
  • Change the water every 4-5 days to prevent rotting.
  • In about 4 weeks, new white roots should begin emerging from the nodes submerged in water.
  • Once the cutting has a well established root system 2-3 inches long, plant it in soil, taking care to keep the new roots undisturbed.

Propagating in water allows you to enjoy watching the rooting process unfold. Just be sure to plant in soil once well rooted for the best long term results.

Tips for Water Propagation Success

Follow these tips when rooting string of hearts in water:

  • Use clean, room temperature water. Avoid cold water.
  • Add a drop of hydrogen peroxide to the water to prevent fungal or bacterial growth.
  • Change the water frequently to prevent rotting.
  • Use filtered water for best results.
  • Place in bright, indirect light to encourage photosynthesis.
  • Monitor daily and top off water level as needed.
  • Transition to soil once a good root system is visible. Don’t allow roots to grow too long.
  • Take extra care when planting water-rooted cuttings into soil to avoid disturbing new root growth.

Though it may take 1-2 weeks longer than soil propagation, water rooting is an easy and fun way to propagate string of hearts.

Propagating from Leaf Cuttings

An intriguing way to propagate string of hearts is by taking leaf cuttings. This involves removing an individual leaf and getting it to root directly into a new plant. Though trickier than stem cuttings, it can be done with care.

How to Propagate from a Leaf

Here is how to try propagating string of hearts by leaf:

  • Select a healthy leaf from the end of a vine. Avoid old leaves.
  • Use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to carefully cut the leaf from the stem.
  • Cut a clean slice crosswise through the end of the leaf, separating the leaf blade from the petiole (the “stem” of the leaf).
  • Allow the cut leaf to dry or callous over for 1-2 days.
  • Optional: Dip the end of the petiole in rooting hormone.
  • Stick the end of the petiole into well-draining soil. Bury it 1-2 inches deep.
  • Water lightly and place in a warm area with bright, indirect light.
  • In 6-8 weeks, new roots may emerge from the petiole and tiny plantlets from the top of the leaf.
  • Once the plantlets have leaves, cut them away from the original leaf and plant separately. Discard the original leaf.

This method is slow but possible. Having patience is key as it can take 2-3 months to establish a new plant this way. Not all leaves will be successful.

Tips for Leaf Propagation Success

Maximize your chances by following these tips:

  • Choose young, healthy leaves from the tips of vines. Avoid old leaves.
  • Make a clean cut and callous the end before planting.
  • Dip in rooting hormone to encourage cell growth.
  • Maintain warm temperatures around 70-80°F.
  • Keep soil moist but not saturated.
  • Allow plenty of time, up to 3 months, for roots and plantlets to emerge.
  • Remove plantlets carefully once they have small roots and leaves.

Though tricky, propagating a string of hearts plant from just a single leaf is an exciting challenge for an advanced gardener.

Common Questions about Propagating String of Hearts

Propagating string of hearts is usually straightforward but if you run into trouble, here are answers to some common questions.

How long do string of hearts cuttings take to root?

In soil, string of hearts cuttings normally root in 4-6 weeks. In water it may take up to 6-8 weeks. Propagating by leaf alone can take 2-3 months. Provide warm temperatures around 70°F and keep consistently moist for fastest rooting.

What causes string of hearts cuttings to fail?

Cuttings fail to root due to improper care, including cold temperatures, soggy soil, or too much direct light. Using old, damaged, or too-short cuttings also reduces success. Sterilize tools and use sharp, clean cuts for best results.

Should I use rooting hormone on string of hearts?

Rooting hormone is optional but can speed up the rooting process. It contains auxins that promote root cell growth. Rooting hormone is most helpful for water propagation or tricky leaf propagation when roots need extra encouragement.

How do I get my string of hearts to grow longer?

To encourage a long trailing vine, provide bright indirect light, fertilize monthly in spring and summer, water when the top inch of soil is dry, and prune lightly to remove any dead strands. As it matures, the vine will naturally elongate if given proper care and space to dangle.

Why are the leaves falling off my propagated string of hearts?

If propagated leaves fall off, it is likely due to rot from too much moisture. Allow the cut end to callous over before watering and ensure the pot has drainage. Water sparingly until new roots establish to prevent leaf drop.

When can I repot a propagated string of hearts?

Once the cutting has rooted and is showing steady new growth, it is ready for repotting. Select a container with drainage holes just one size larger than the root ball and use fast draining succulent soil. Take care not to disturb delicate new roots when repotting.


Propagating string of hearts by cuttings, either in water or soil, is a simple way achieve more of these trailing beauties. Thoughpropagating by leaf alone is trickier, it can be done with care and patience by an experienced gardener. In 4-12 weeks, you can have new string of hearts plants ready to adorn indoor spaces or share with other plant lovers. With the right propagation method and proper care, you’ll have cascading strings of charming leaves in no time.

How to Care for String of Hearts to Keep it Growing Strong

Once you’ve propagated some new string of hearts plants, you’ll want to provide proper care to keep them happy and healthy. Though relatively easygoing, string of hearts plants have some preferences when it comes to light, water, soil, temperature, and humidity. Meeting these simple needs will allow your cascading vines to thrive and grow to their full potential.

Providing the Right Light for String of Hearts

When it comes to lighting, string of hearts prefers bright daylight filtered through sheer curtains or provided under grow lights. Here are some lighting guidelines:

Natural Light

  • Place in an east, west, or lightly shaded south window
  • Avoid direct hot midday sun which can scorch the leaves
  • Sheer curtains filter harsh light and prevent leaf burns
  • Turn plants occasionally for even sun exposure
  • Supplement with grow lights if indoor light is inadequate

Artificial Light

  • Use LED grow lights or fluorescent plant bulbs
  • Position 6-12 inches above the plants
  • Provide 14-16 hours of light per day
  • Monitor for signs of too much light including bleaching or yellowing

Bright, indirect light keeps string of hearts happy and encourages lush cascading vines. Too much light or too little will result in sparse, stunted growth.

Watering Your String of Hearts Correctly

Developing a proper watering routine is key to keeping your string of hearts healthy. Here are some tips:

  • Water only when the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry
  • Check by poking a finger in the pot to gauge moisture
  • Avoid set watering schedules and only water when needed
  • Water thoroughly until it drains from the pot bottom
  • Allow pots to fully drain excess water before returning to the cachepot/dish
  • Drooping leaves can indicate under-watering; increase frequency
  • Wilting or yellowing can indicate overwatering; allow to dry out
  • Reduce water in winter when plants are less actively growing

The specific watering frequency needed will vary based on factors like pot size, light, and humidity. But allowing the soil to partly dry out between waterings is key. Proper drainage is also critical to prevent soggy soil that can lead to root rot.

Using the Right Soil for String of Hearts

An open, porous potting mix provides the fast drainage string of hearts require. Look for:

  • A blend designed for cacti & succulents
  • With ingredients like sand, perlite, gravel, or bark
  • Avoid any potting mixes with water-retaining peat moss

You can also make your own fast-draining blend with:

  • 1 part potting soil
  • 1 part perlite or coarse sand
  • 1 part pea gravel or bark chips

Use containers with bottom drainage holes and avoid grouping plants, which can increase humidity and lead to rot. Well-draining soil is essential to prevent soggy roots prone to disease.

Maintaining the Ideal Temperature

String of hearts thrives in average home temperatures between 65-80°F. Consider these temperature guidelines:

  • Ideal range is 70-75°F during the day & 60-65°F at night
  • Can tolerate a wider range of 50-90°F briefly
  • Avoid drastic temperature swings and cold drafts
  • Use care when moving to outdoor spaces in summer
  • Move pots gradually to prevent shock from sudden increases in light or temperature

Providing consistent, moderate temperatures keeps your string of hearts happy and growing steadily. Allow plants to adjust slowly to any environmental changes.

Managing Humidity

String of hearts enjoys average indoor humidity levels. Here are some humidity tips:

  • Prefers 40-50% humidity which is comfortable for most homes
  • Increase humidity by misting leaves or using a pebble tray
  • Avoid grouping plants together as this raises local humidity
  • Improve air circulation with fans to prevent leaves staying wet
  • Reduce humidity by moving plants away from swamp coolers or humidifiers
  • Decrease watering frequency if humidity is naturally high

Monitor your plants and make small adjustments to find the ideal balance of humidity for your environment. The key is avoiding extremes of overly wet or dry air.

Providing the Right Potting Container

Choosing the proper pot is important to maintain the airy, well-draining soil string of hearts requires. Consider these potting tips:

  • Select containers with drainage holes to allow excess water to escape
  • Plastic pots retain moisture longer than terra cotta or wood
  • Match pot size to rootball leaving just 1-2 inches of space
  • Re-pot annually in spring as plants become root bound
  • Use hanging baskets to allow vines to cascade
  • Monitor for cramped or circling roots and re-pot promptly

With the right container that fits its root system, your string of hearts will thrive and grow vigorously.

Troubleshooting Common String of Hearts Problems

If your plant appears unhealthy, look for these common issues:

Leggy growth – Insufficient light

Leaf drop – Underwatering or root rot from overwatering

Leaf scorch – Too much direct sun

Slow growth – Low temperatures or inadequate fertilizer

Wilting – Too little water or too much water

Stunted vines – Poor soil or lack of nutrients

Providing the proper care will prevent most issues. But even experienced gardeners run into problems occasionally. Just address any issues promptly once noticed for the best plant recovery.

With the right balance of bright indirect light, proper watering, humidity, ventilation, and temperatures in the 65-80°F range, a string of hearts is sure to cascade beautifully. Aim to meet its preferences, adjust as needed based on your environment, and enjoy this gorgeous trailing succulent.

Interesting Facts About the String of Hearts Plant

Beyond its beautiful trailing vines, the string of hearts plant has some fascinating details when you look closer. Here are 5 interesting facts about this delightful succulent:

1. Its botanical name refers to wax flowers.

The genus name Ceropegia comes from two Greek words meaning “wax” and “fountain” which references the waxy bloom these plants develop. The species name woodii honors Mrs. M. Wood who first discovered the vine in South Africa.

2. It’s native to tropical forest floors in Africa.

In the wild, string of hearts grows anchored to the ground in the shady understory of forests in Mozambique and South Africa. Temperatures stay warm year-round with high humidity.

3. Modified leaves help it thrive in shade.

The heart shaped leaves have a transparent margin that allows light to pass through to the interior cells. This adaptation lets the plant absorb more sunlight under forest canopies.

4. Tiny hairs help it cling.

The stems have fine hairs that emerge when humidity is high. These help the vines cling to surrounding trees and rocks in its native habitat.

5. It’s related to the peacock flower.

String of hearts belongs to the milkweed subfamily Asclepiadoideae along with popular houseplants like peacock flower (Calathea makoyana) and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).

Beyond being an easy & fun houseplant, string of hearts has some fascinating adaptations for life in the shaded African jungle floor where it naturally originates.

Decorating with the Gorgeous String of Hearts Plant

With its beautiful cascading vines and purple-striped foliage, the string of hearts plant lends a decorative accent in any indoor space. Here are some tips for highlighting this gorgeous succulent in your home décor:

Hanging Baskets

A hanging basket is the perfect way to display trailing string of hearts. Let the vines spill over the edges as they mature. Hang in front of a sunny window where the cascading strands can be backlit beautifully.

High Shelves

Set a string of hearts pot on a high shelf or top of a bookcase. Allow the vines to dangle down attractively. Position shelves in front of bright windows to illuminate the leaves.

Mantels & Countertops

Trailing plants look gorgeous arranged along the top of fireplace mantels, buffets, kitchen counters, sideboards, or dressers. Just be sure to keep pots elevated to prevent dangling vines from being damaged.

Plant Walls

Create a living art display by securing pots to a wall-mounted board or hanging planter rack. Arrange multiple string of hearts at staggered heights for a lush cascading plant wall.