String of hearts is a succulent-like plant, known for its toughness and adaptability. As well as the pleasing cascading effect that can be created with its serpentine tendrils. If you’re looking to liven up your interior with an elegant plant, but are wary of killing it instantly – string of hearts might be for you.
One of my first plants was a string of hearts. I picked it because I’d heard how easy they are to care for. I quickly learned that while they’re easy to manage, they also have their quirks. At first, I made mistakes. However, I was able to bring it back from the brink, and years later it is still flourishing in my home.
Hopefully, this guide will stop you from repeating my mistakes!
Table of Contents
- How Much Light Does It Need?
- Can I Forget To Water My String of Hearts?
- What Kind of Soil Should I Use?
- What Temperature Is Best?
- Do I Need To Stress About Humidity Levels?
- How Do I Fertilize It?
- How Can I Propagate String of Hearts Plant?
- Are There Any Pests or Problems I Need to Worry About?
- Is It Toxic?
- About String Of Hearts Plant
How Much Light Does It Need?
String of hearts plant is a sucker for bright light. Place your string of hearts in a bright room with a south or west facing window. This way it should get ample natural light throughout the day.
There’s an important caveat to bear in mind. While this plant loves bright light, it’s not fond of direct sunlight. It can handle direct sunlight when the sun is lower in the early morning and late afternoon. But, too much direct sun will scorch its delicate leaves. So, try to ensure only filtered sunlight is hitting it.
If the leaves of your string of hearts begin to pale and the spaces between leaves grow wider it could mean you’re not providing enough light. In this case, move it to a brighter room.
When I first picked up my string of hearts I made the mistake of thinking no direct sunlight meant not much light. It became leggy and the leaves started to lose their color. I only noticed an improvement when I moved it to a brighter room.
One last point – try to rotate it every now and then. This guarantees the entire plant receives the same amount.
Can I Forget To Water My String of Hearts?
The question of how often to water string of hearts is one that qualifies it as a good plant for any beginner botanists. This is because, as a succulent-like plant, you can get away with forgetting to water it here and there.
The flip side to this hardiness when it comes to underwatering is its sensitivity when it comes to overwatering. It’s vital you don’t leave your string of hearts standing in wet soil. This is a surefire recipe for root rot.
It’s worth noting that while string of hearts doesn’t need frequent watering, it still needs a healthy amount of water when you do water it. Water it until water drains out of the bottom of the pot, then dispose of the excess water that gathers in the saucer below.
You’ll know if you’re under-watering your string of hearts as the leaves will begin to wilt and shrivel. Additionally, you’ll probably notice a slow in growth.
As a final note, when watering your string of hearts it’s best to vary the frequency depending on the season. During the plant’s active growing season in spring and summer, water it whenever the top couple inches of soil have dried out. When it’s dormant in autumn and winter, only water it when the soil has dried all the way through.
What Kind of Soil Should I Use?
Before I get into what soil to use, I want to highlight that you need to pot your string of hearts in a pot with drainage holes. It may seem obvious but I’ve made this mistake more times than I care to admit.
Once you’ve picked your pot (with drainage holes), fill it with either a well-draining succulent or cacti potting mix.
Feel free to add perlite or pumice to further increase the drainage. Extras like this should ensure you have the best soil for string of hearts possible!
In the same vein as soil, you’ll need to consider repotting at some point.
Only do this when you notice the plant outgrowing its current pot. Also, make sure you do it during the active growing season.
Finally, pick a pot that is only slightly larger than the previous pot. String of hearts prefers to stay nice and cozy – even when moving to a bigger house.
What Temperature Is Best?
Lucky for you, string of hearts loves temperatures similar to those we usually keep our homes at. Ideal temperatures are in the region of 60°F up to 85°F – no need to even touch that thermostat right?
Try to prevent your string of hearts from being in temperatures of 50°F or below for extended periods of time. This could prove deadly to your new friend.
Furthermore, try to avoid putting your string of hearts through significant temperature fluctuations. This can cause stress and lead to slow growth. In practice, this means keeping it in a room where the temperature remains stable and with few if any drafts.
While the above may make string of hearts sound like a bit of a diva, this is not the case. In general, they’re adaptable. They can live outside their ideal temperature ranges up to a point. But, if you want your string of hearts to thrive rather than just survive, follow these general guidelines.
Do I Need To Stress About Humidity Levels?
Don’t worry too much about humidity when it comes to string of hearts care. As a hardy plant, the string of hearts succulent can handle a range of humidity levels. It can survive in drier climates than most plants – further adding to its beginner credentials.
Keep your string of hearts out of excessively humid conditions for long periods though. Too much humidity can lead to all kinds of nasty fungal diseases. One technique to help avoid this is to keep your string of hearts in a room with good air circulation.
With all this said, it performs best in moderate humidity. So, it’s best to aim for around 40%-60% humidity. This is ideal as this range is within that of a typical home. In turn, this means it’s unlikely that you’ll need to make any changes to accommodate your plant.
How Do I Fertilize It?
In terms of fertilizer and string of hearts plant care, pick up either a low-nitrogen fertilizer or a fertilizer produced with succulents in mind. Moreover, ensure that the fertilizer you choose is water soluble and balanced. Ratios of 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 are suitable for string of hearts.
When fertilizing remember to dilute the fertilizer as recommended by the packaging to avoid overfeeding. Too much fertilizer can prove harmful, I guess too much of a good thing really isn’t that great!
Only fertilize during active months in the spring and summer. During this period, don’t worry about regular fertilization, once a month is adequate. If you wanted, you could even cut this down to once every two months – as I said, it’s a hardy plant!
Don’t worry about fertilizing during the winter months as it will be dormant.
How Can I Propagate String of Hearts Plant?
Your propagation attempts are more likely to meet with success in spring and summer as it is during the plant’s active growing season.
There are several methods for propagating string of hearts, but I’m only going to list three beginner-friendly ways (that I still use to this day).
- Firstly, take healthy cuttings from your string of hearts, the cuttings should be a few inches long. Include some of the small nodes you see the leaves growing from. This is where the new roots will spring from.
- Next, cut away the leaves from the bottom and place them in a clear vase of water – leafless end first. Keep the vase in a brightly lit room with plenty of indirect sunlight.
- Then wait for the roots to start growing. Change the water about once a week, more if you notice the water changing color.
- Finally, remove the cuttings and pot them when the roots are an inch or two long.
- Take cuttings that are a few inches long. Again make sure the cuttings have nodes.
- Secondly, cut away the lower leaves.
- Dip the tips – from the ends where you’ve cut away the leaves – into rooting hormone.
- Plant the ends in a pot filled with the same soil you would use for an ordinary string of hearts.
- Thoroughly water them. Subsequently, try to water them as little as possible to encourage new growth.
- Upon seeing signs of growth commence with normal care.
- Lastly, as with the water propagation method, keep the pot in a room with plenty of indirect sunlight.
- Initially, find the biggest tuber you can on your string of hearts.
- Without removing the tuber from the tendril it’s attached to, gently push the tuber lightly into the soil of another pot.
- Then just wait a few weeks for the tuber to take root. After it has taken root cut it away from the mother plant.
- Alternatively, detach the tendril and tuber from the mother plant immediately. In this case, water the tuber more regularly than you would ordinarily water a string of hearts – keeping the water slightly moist until you notice growth.
There you have it, three hopefully foolproof methods to propagate your string of hearts!
Are There Any Pests or Problems I Need to Worry About?
As with any plant, it’s crucial to know how to care for string of hearts should any problems arise.
I’ve compiled several common issues a string of hearts owner may face.
- Root rot: a fungal disease that leads to root decay and death. It’s caused by overwatering.
Symptoms that suggest root rot are yellowing leaves, wilting, soft mushy leaves, and often the soil will start to smell off.
Handle root rot by removing your plant from its pot, cutting away the affected roots, and replanting it in fresh dry soil.
- Leaf spot disease: another problem that occurs when conditions are too wet. To avoid leaf spot disease, keep your plant in a well-ventilated area.
The primary indicator of leaf spot disease is small brown spots will start appearing on the leaves.
To treat leaf spot disease: remove the affected parts of the plant. Next, spray the plant all over with systemic fungicide.
- Leggy growth: usually caused by lack of sunlight. If your string of hearts is starting to look leggy, move it to a brighter room.
- Mealybugs: these are small white insects, generally between 1/12 inch to ⅕ inch in size.
You’ll see mealybugs scurrying around on your string of hearts. Another indicator is the small fuzzy-looking structures they build.
Mealybugs drain your plant of sap. Expect issues such as yellowing leaves, stunted growth, honeydew, and even the eventual death of your plant if left untreated.
Use cotton swabs to rub your plant with rubbing alcohol to deal with mealybugs. Or spray your string of hearts with either: neem oil, a diluted soap solution, or insecticidal soap.
- Aphids: aphids also drain your string of hearts of sap – resulting in symptoms similar to those listed above.
Aphids can be tough to spot due to their size (around ¼ inch) and coloration – so keep a close eye on your plant.
One technique for handling aphids is to blast them off with a stream of water. If this fails, try neem oil or insecticidal soap.
- Scale: another insect that wants your plant’s sap! Scale looks like a tiny limpet shell and will stick to one place and not move.
Expect the same symptoms as those described with the other pests.
To treat scale, wash your plant in neem oil, soap water, or insecticidal soap.
Is It Toxic?
String of hearts is non-toxic and is perfectly safe to keep around animals and children.
This is yet another reason why string of hearts is so ideal for any beginner plant parents out there. No toxicity means you won’t spend the whole day worrying you’re going to die if it brushes your hand while watering it.
About String Of Hearts Plant
A succulent-like native to South Africa and Zimbabwe, string of hearts is best suited to tropical or sub-tropical climates. It’s an ideal trailing houseplant, with delicate long tendrils, covered in elegant heart-shaped leaves, that curl out of the soil and just keep growing.
String of hearts is known to grow up to 12 feet, especially in its native habitat. The leaves covering the vines that give string of hearts its name are small – typically no more than an inch long.
Expect classy shades of dark marbled green on the tops of your string of hearts leaves, while the undersides will be almost pinkish in hue.
The long vines, make string of hearts a superb choice if you’re after a hanging plant. On the other hand, the slow-growing vines also look great if you prefer to have them cascading over an ordinary pot. Either way, they’ll help create an almost jungle-like aesthetic for your home.
The low effort required to care for string of hearts makes it a fantastic choice for anyone looking to pick up a stylish hanging plant that you won’t kill within a week.
Are string of hearts easy to care for?
String of hearts is very easy to care for! String of hearts suitability to house-like conditions, combined with its ability to go without water makes it a superb plant for beginners.Do string of hearts need sun?
String of hearts flourishes when provided with plenty of indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight is a big no-no though.
Is string of hearts hard to grow?
It’s not hard to grow. Even beginner gardeners will come to consider themselves green-fingered after owning a string of hearts.Is string of hearts a good indoor plant?
String of hearts is a brilliant indoor plant. It prospers in conditions that match those of an average home. This is especially with regard to temperature and humidity levels.
How do you keep a string of hearts happy?
With ease. Just provide heaps of indirect sunlight, only water when the soil feels dry, and don’t leave it sitting in water.
Do string of hearts like to be wet?
String of hearts far prefers to be too dry to too wet. Don’t ever leave string of hearts sitting in water as it is particularly susceptible to root rot.
String of Hearts Plant: An Excellent Starter Plant
With its endearing heart-shaped leaves and low-maintenance attitude, it’s understandable why string of hearts is such a hit worldwide.
Even if you’re new to the houseplant game, I couldn’t recommend string of hearts more. Their adaptability and love for houselike conditions make them the perfect starter plant.
Not only are they easy to keep, but there’s a variety of ways you can display them. I keep mine in a hanging basket, allowing the vines to trail down adding depth and an almost captivating element to your interior.
Ready to Branch Out From Your Typical Houseplant Choices?
At houseplant hub, we’ll keep you in the loop on all the juicy hints and tips you’ll need to keep your plant family flourishing. No matter the houseplant, no matter your experience we’ve got just the guide for you!
Hit us up on our contact page with any questions you have, or just let us know how your green friends are doing.