Ceropegia Woodii: Grow A String Of Hearts

Ed Wike
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Ceropegia Woodii Overview

You may be familiar with a tropical succulent plant called the wandering jew. The common name is one that makes sense as the plant has long green stems. From these stems, bloom yellow and red flowers. It’s a happy looking plant and you’ll find it in many container gardens. What you may not be familiar with is the string of hearts plant.

The string of hearts plant grows in similar ways to the wandering jew plant, as it has long stems. It has a string like appearance as well. It’s called a string of hearts because of the heart shaped monocots that grow on its vines. Each heart will grow on its own stalk, and the hearts will form a link together, hence the string of hearts name.

This is a succulent plant, so it prefers warm, dry climates. It’s originally from Southern Africa and was adopted as a house plant in the middle of the 20th century.

Today, you’ll find it easily within the UK. There is a long string on hearts, and then a small fork in the string which produces a fork in the hearts as well. There’s even a weeklong string of hearts plant care week available to help you grow these unusual, yet beautiful plants.

All About The Rosary Vine

A Conversation Piece That Can Grow For Years.

If you're interested in growing a spectacular plant that will continue to amaze you (and anyone else who spots it) until it literally fills out because of its sheer mass, you might want to know more about the ceropegia woodii (also called ceropegia ficoidea or asparagus rose).

These plants are true conversation starters, and once you have one, you will be enthralled by its beauty, amazed by the way its heart-shaped leaves seem to just hang in midair, and amused by its exotic nature.

It is also a plant that can grow and grow, with the top of the vine (or rhizome, or corm) sweeping over a banister or growing along a fence and even clinging to the side of a house.

They can measure up to several feet long and fill out with their leaves and "hearts," making a plant that is quite breathtaking, especially growing in a hanging basket or in multiples.

The plant can spring to life so quickly “ growing from almost nothing to a stunning plant in a matter of weeks “ that your head will spin if you're not paying attention.

In fact, some people — inexperienced at growing these unusual plants — complain that it grows too quickly and won't bloom.

Ceropegia Woodii Plant Care

Plants like C. woodii have their detractors; but for people interested in a plant that is tolerant of either minimal care or neglect, hardy, and beautiful, these plants are hard to beat.

Mature C. woodii plants can produce a continual string of heart-shaped leaves, one after the other, for more than a year and a half. With minimal care, a two-foot C. woodii plant can grow nearly a foot in a year and a half. Although they like to be kept moist, like other plants you water the more frequently the greener the leaves will be.

The C. woodii plant grows well in either sun or partial shade. For indoor plants, a half-hour of sun a day will maintain a healthy and lush C. woodii. Planting the woodii in the shade will result in heart-shaped leaves having green centers and a white border and/or light green centers and darker green borders.

Canker-stem plants attract and support ladybug and lacewing insects, which help control aphids.

Take care to protect the C. Woodii from getting too much sunlight, especially if you live in a hot climate.

Keep an eye out for aphids, which will like the nectar from the Ceropegia.

Sprays of either homemade or commercial soap wash will do the trick.

Light

Ceropegia Woodii (Heart-leaf philodendron) can tolerate very low lighting, but will put on a spectacular display with medium to bright lighting. Place your plant near a sunny window if possible. Avoid the hot afternoon sun. Like many other house plants, Ceropegia Woodii has light and temperature tolerances. Keep the plant away from air conditioning or heating vents (these can dry out or overheat the plant). In general, this plant is not fussy about light and that makes it a good pick for those of us who want to keep it in a dark corner. Another option is to put it outdoors, in the light shade of a larger tree, for the summer.

Water

Ceropegia woodii are succulent plants that are easy to grow and make for an adorable houseplant. They are also known as string of hearts because of the way their leaves grow. The leaves grow along a fleshy stem, creating a string of hearts.

They are normally grown indoors as a house plant, and although they can take a bit of neglect while growing, they need good maintenance to survive.

Ceropegia woodii can also be grown as a garden plant, as they are frost tolerant, but extra care should be taken to protect it from frost, and once again, watering is the key.

Ceropegia woodii is beautiful to behold and very easy to grow.

This plant will give you a string of hearts during the summer and fall months until it experiences a cold snap.

Although the plant doesn’t have a lot of leaves, it does require regular watering.

It also needs to be cut occasionally so its stems don’t become too tall.

It’s water needs are similar to that of other succulent plants. Ceropegia woodii is a bit more tolerant of moisture than most succulents and can even survive with damp soil, but they’ll grow faster or better with regular watering.

Soil

Ceropegia Woodii, commonly known as Heart of the Jungle or String of Hearts Bush, has become a very popular houseplant over the last decade or so.

Who would have thought that a plant that is quite fragile and sensitive when it comes to its environment, can flourish as a houseplant?

After getting one or two of these plants as a gift from a friend or relative, you will probably want to grow your own Ceropegia Woodii.

Luckily, Ceropegia Woodii is not a difficult plant to grow. In fact, you can even successfully grow Ceropegia Woodii as a houseplant.

There are several factors you have to take into consideration though. Their natural habitat is in the African tropics, where they receive sun most of the day. You should therefore direct as much light as you can towards the Ceropegia Woodii. Another important factor is the water you give your Ceropegia Woodii. These plants do not like to be kept too moist and the soil should drain quickly.

Your Ceropegia Woodii will reward your efforts by growing a string of beautiful heart-shaped leaves which are a wonderful addition to any home.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer tips vary considerably for the String Of Hearts. This is because the requirements of this plant change during the course of a year. During the first part of the year, the Ceropegia Woodii needs to be fed with liquid fertilizers every two weeks. During the latter part of the year, it needs to be fed every five weeks.

Don’t use a combination of a liquid and a granule fertilizer at the same time. In fact, if you start with a liquid fertilizer and progress to a granule fertilizer, you will be fighting against your String Of Hearts. It is important that your soil mixture be free of air pockets or pockets of water.

When using a granular fertilizer, sprinkle it on the soil; don’t bury it. Your String Of Hearts thrives on sunlight, so plant it where it will get the sunlight that it needs.

Propagation

Ceropegia woodii is essentially a parasite plant that lives on other plants and has the uncanny ability to reuse its own leaves as seeds. This adaptation allows the plants to be distributed worldwide by wind and water. You can grow ceropegia woodii from a leaf cutting, vegetatively, or from seed.

Ceropegia woodii is commonly known as “string of hearts,” because of the pattern of the leaves. The leaves are thin and very succulent, and will appear as though they are tied together at the base. The heart-shaped leaves circle from the base to the end of the stalk.

Ceropegia woodii is actually a climbing vine. It needs something to climb on, so it can climb high into trees and gain lots of sunlight. They can live for up to a decade or more, and can grow up to 40 feet, so you might want to put a baby fence around your plant so it doesn’t get too far away.

Repotting

The plant does not grow large enough to be suited for any indoor purposes, but it is reasonably rugged, and if given brightly lit, airy conditions, it can be grown outdoors in a partly shady and wind-sheltered spot, provided that the winter minimum temperature is not below about -10 C.

In containers, the plant is easily grown under moderate warmth in a compost of 60% John Innes No. 3 and 40% sharp grit. In good conditions, the leaves will flower from June to September and, if the plant is not then in active growth, it can be potted on, taking care to choose the smallest of the stoloniferous offshoots.

Otherwise, the plant can be annually repotted during August, September or October (when growths are plentiful), and it will produce a flowering stem (with a few flowers on it) by the following summer.

Note: Agave species are highly valued by the horticulture industry as landscape and container material. Most are native to areas where the climate is mild and frost-free, so they are not suitable for growing outdoors in cold temperate zones of Europe; they are grown indoors as houseplants.

Pruning

This flower originates in Africa but is now grown in many parts of the world. It is a trailing annual vine with heart-shaped leaves. In spring it is covered with masses of small white flowers that look like tiny hearts.

This plant needs to be pruned after flowering, in order to encourage more growth. The tendrils are quite long and will quickly reach branches and twigs of nearby trees to climb.

When it first begins to flower, the stems will still be short and you will be able to reach them easily. Start pruning at this stage to remove the few new shoots that are there.

Later, when the stem is longer, you will need to get onto ladders to cut the shoots. You can prune long tendrils, if you want to grow it up a trellis. Alternatively, if you want to train your String Of Hearts to grow up against a wall or fence, let it trail down or even cut it right down to the base. Otherwise, just up to 5 feet should be enough.

Problems

Ceropegia Woodii needs as much sunlight as possible and needs to be kept in direct sunlight, preferably, so this plant may not be a good fit for your indoor window sill. Because there is not much of a root system, this plant needs to stay in one place, so that it can be found easily. It can be moved, of course, but don't expect it to come back very easily when you find it difficult to remember where you placed it.

Growing Problems

If you have been searching for a thorny, heat tolerant, low maintenance flowering vine, you might want to consider Ceropegia woodii also known as string-of-hearts or heart vine. It is native to South Africa, and Madagascar and is a spreading, leafy vine. It can reach heights of twenty feet but is easily kept shorter by pruning. In the right conditions it produces a chain-like, reddish-green heart-shaped flower at the top of each vine. Tiny heart-shaped leaves appear from stolons, or side shoots. It is considered a succulent plant and needs lots of sun.

Ceropegia woodii is easy to grow from seed, but they do not produce seeds every time they flower. Several large Ceropegia woodii plants will fill a large patio container or the front of a small house in no time.

The easiest way to grow a Ceropegia woodii vine is the purchase a grafted plant. These are the only plants you can purchase that have a guarantee of rootstock. The Ceropegia woodii grafted plant can generally be purchased from your local garden center or through your local native plant or succulent society.

Pests

Ceropegia woodii is a pretty and very unusual plant. It’s also a succulent, which makes it easy to care for.

This plant produces a string of flowers called a raceme. This raceme changes from green to pink and finally to red as the flowers on the end mature. It can be a bright display in your garden or indoors as a houseplant.

If your plant is damaged, it may not bloom. So avoid rough handling, and provide your ceropegia woodii with a sunny spot and well-drained soil.

If your plant is still small, but well established, and is beginning to flower, you may be delighted when a big, fat bug shows up.

These pests resemble large ladybugs and they can do quite a bit of damage. Don’t crush them, but try to remove them as soon as they are spotted.

If you crush the pests, you’ll likely crush the flowers, too. Give your plant a good watering. If pests continue to bother your plants, you can try an organic pest control such as dish soap sprayed on the leaves.

Once the aphids are gone, higher quality fertilizer can be used. Some fertilizer can take time to break down – perhaps while the aphids are sucking the nutrients from the plant.

Diseases

Your heart is located in the center of your chest, between your lungs. The heart is about the size of your fist. It’s divided into four sections called chambers. Each chamber works differently to get blood throughout the body. The upper and lower chambers (atria and ventricles) are separated by one wall of muscle.

In the center, a thick wall of muscle called the septum separates the lower chambers from the upper chambers. The walls of the atria pump blood to the ventricles, which pump blood to the lungs. Blood then flows from the lungs to the lower chambers of the heart via the pulmonary arteries. The lower chambers then pump blood through the body.

The heart beats about 60 to 100 times each minute. Pumping blood through the body makes it pump out about six gallons of blood every minute. When the heart muscles contract, the blood flows from the right atrium through the tricuspid valve to the right ventricle. The valve allows blood to flow out of the atrium, but not back in. The mitral valve then closes. Soon the septum closes, and the blood is pumped from the right ventricle through the pulmonary valve and into the pulmonary artery. The blood flows through the lungs where oxygen is added before it returns to the heart. While the blood is in the heart, the lungs remove carbon dioxide, which is a waste product.

FAQs

Ceropegia Woodii is one of my favorite plants. I remember when I was a child in Sunday school my teacher told us that if we watered it with 1,000 tears then it would bloom a beautiful flower. We all the children started to make offerings…but unfortunately for us, we did not have many decorative vases that could hold that many tears and most of us did not have a thousand tears to spare.

However, I did manage to try it. I watered it with a box of tissues and a box of kleenex with 2 tablespoons of salt to raise the PH of the water. It did not grow a flower, but the plant grew about four or five strings of flowers on a bunch, and it grew much taller. It was really exciting because I had no idea that it could do that. It was following my heart. 🙂

Ceropegia woodii, also known as string of hearts, is not a true cactus, but it is a succulent plant. Cactus plants are native to North America, Europe, and South America. Succulents come from South Africa, Madagascar, South America, Australia and Asia.