4 Different Ways to Propagate String of Hearts Plants
If you've decided to propagate your string of hearts plant, you might be confused about the best way to get it done. There are actually four different methods you can use to propagate these popular houseplants! In this article, gardening expert and houseplant enthusiast Madison Moulton walks through each propagation method, step by step.
One adorable houseplant that has gained popularity is the String of Hearts. It is very easy to maintain, thriving in low-light conditions. It makes an excellent addition to just about any room that needs a little greenery. They even make an excellent houseplant to grow on top of your refrigerator!
With its cute heart-shaped leaves growing along thin, hanging vines, String of Hearts is being seen as an indoor hanging plant in more and more homes. This South African native semi-succulent cascades downward in delicate strings, adding whimsy to your space.
Thankfully, these tiny vines are simple to propagate so you can share them with friends or add them to other low-light areas of the home that need a little life. Let’s dig into four easy ways to propagate String of Hearts from a single plant.
If you prefer watching videos to reading a step-by-step guide, we’ve created a useful video walkthrough you can watch. However, if you prefer to read, continue on to learn about the four easy ways to propagate String of Hearts!
Propagating String of Hearts
String of Hearts, scientifically known as Ceropegia woodii, is an adorable vining plant native to Southern Africa. Its common name truly says it all – heart-shaped green and purple leaves appear on long vines that are easy to train along objects.
Much like the beloved indoor plant Pothos, the vining nature of this houseplant makes it easy to propagate this succulent in a number of ways. In fact, due to the growth habit of the vines, there are more ways to propagate String of Hearts than most plants.
Propagation efforts generally have a high success rate too, no matter the method you choose. You can grow as many vines as you can take care of, filling your home with hanging vines of cute hearts. Almost any cutting you remove, whether with the intention of propagating or even when pruning, will root quickly to produce a standalone vine.
But propagation doesn’t always have to involve making brand-new plants. Propagating the vines can also make your existing plant fuller if it begins to appear sparse. This can be done over and over until it reaches the desired size and shape.
We’re going to look at four of the ways you can propagate your String of Hearts with a high success rate. The method you choose will depend on the size of your plant and your ultimate propagating goals.
With so many propagating options, it can be hard to decide which one is best. Rooting cuttings in water or soil, rooting within the same pot or a nearby pot, or even propagating from tubers grown along the vines are all viable options.
Cuttings are ideal if you’re looking to make a full and healthy new String of Hearts plant. They can be taken almost any time and any cutting you remove, even when pruning, can be used to make a new plant.
But you’ll have to decide between rooting in water or in soil. Rooting in water lets you keep track of the root growth while rooting in soil tends to produce stronger initial roots more accustomed to soil conditions. Rooting in soil also means you can skip the transplanting step, but does take some of the fun out of propagating – watching the roots grow.
Propagation can also be used to make the existing plant appear fuller by looping the vines back into the soil to develop roots. Once rooted, you can trim them to hang as normal, or you can pull any extra cuttings you don’t need to plant in a separate pot.
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to have a String of Hearts with tubers growing along the vine, you can also use those to propagate new plants. This is one of the only houseplants this method is viable for so it does make an exciting garden experiment if you want to give it a go.
Ultimately, all methods are simple to follow and lead to reliable results. Choose the one that suits you best, or try them all at once for a bounty of String of Hearts plants.
Materials You’ll Need
You do not need specialized tools to propagate String of Hearts. What you prepare will differ slightly based on the method you choose.
To propagate in water, you’ll need a sharp pair of pruning shears or even sharp scissors. Clean them before use to remove any harmful bacteria. A glass propagating station is recommended to keep the top part of the vines out of the water. You can also take longer cuttings if you need to rest them on the side of a large glass.
Propagating in soil starts off with the same tools. However, you’ll also need a brand-new pot and a propagating mix to root the cuttings. A combination of coconut coir (or peat moss) and perlite provides the least resistance to root growth. Many gardeners have also seen success by laying cuttings in sphagnum moss.
For tuber propagation, you’ll need the same tools – just in a different order. Plant the tubers in the pot of propagating mix first while still attached to the plant. You can trim them off later once growth is strong.
Finally, to propagate in the same pot, all you’ll need are small pins or paper clips. This allows you to anchor the vine into the soil and hold it steady to encourage new root growth.
Four Easy Propagation Methods
There are four different options when propagating String of Hearts – in water, in soil, from tubers, and within the same pot. The method you choose will largely depend on your preference. Follow these easy methods and you will have a brand new String of Hearts in no time.
Propagating in Water
The most popular method of propagation is via cuttings in water due to its simplicity and quick results. It also allows you to watch the propagating process unfold, making it an exciting gardening experiment for experienced gardeners and new plant parents.
Start by taking a cutting (or a few) from one of the vines. It should be a few inches long with at least three or four sets of leaves. If you’d prefer to start out with longer vines, you can cut them as long as required. Your cutting should be healthy with no signs of any disease or damage.
Use pruning shears or a pair of sharp scissors to cut a vine just below a set of leaves. Leaves emerge from points on the vine called nodes, and this is also the point where roots will emerge when planted in water.
Do not remove more than 1/3 of the plant to avoid shock or damage. Lay each of the cuttings out and remove the bottom set of leaves (or the bottom two sets, depending on length). The bottom half of the cutting will be underneath the water line. Any leaves left on the cutting will only end up rotting.
Then, place your cuttings in a glass of filtered or distilled water. Make sure the top half of the cutting, with at least two sets of leaves, remains above the water line.
Top up the water as it evaporates and replace it completely around once a week. Within a few weeks, you should see roots developing along the nodes of the vine. Once the roots are around half an inch to an inch long, gather the vines together and transplant them into a pot filled with houseplant potting mix.
Propagating in soil may not be as exciting as propagating in water, but it does lead to stronger root development and a healthier plant early on. If you want to avoid the process of transplanting, this is also the best option for you.
When propagating in soil, the process is similar to propagating in water. Grab pruning shears or scissors and snip as many cuttings off the main plant as you’d like to propagate. The cleaner the cut you make, the healthier the plant will be.
If you’d like to start off with a full-looking plant, trim cuttings long enough to hang off the edge of your chosen container. If you have a small plant with shorter vines, you can make cuttings as small as a single node to root.
These cuttings, containing a single node and a small piece of stem on either side (known as the butterfly method) do take longer to develop into full vines. However, they are ideal for those with a smaller plant.
Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting. Do this to expose one or two nodes and leaving one or two sets of leaves at the top. Fill a small pot with propagating mix. Make a small hole and root each of the cuttings in the same container, leaving the vines hanging over the edges.
Water well after planting to encourage new root growth. Move the pot to a warm spot with high humidity and roots should develop within a couple of weeks.
To make your current plant appear fuller, or even to make sure your vines will root successfully before repotting, consider looping the vines back into the same pot. Not only is this method the easiest and least time-consuming, but it also uses the least supplies. All you need to get started are a couple of pins or paper clips.
Grab any long vines hanging off the side of the pot and simply loop them back into the soil. Make sure to loop a few vines at one time to stop the plant from looking unbalanced.
Then, keep your chosen node in contact with the soil. You can do this by pinning the vine down on either side of the leaves. The leaves should both be facing up to prevent any rotting when in contact with the soil.
Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged for the next few weeks to encourage roots to grow. Make sure you don’t overdo it to prevent root rot in the parent plant.
The vines can then be left to hang as is, growing and filling up the current pot. Alternatively, once rooted, you can cut the extra piece of vine off to replant it into a brand-new pot.
The final method of propagation relies on the parent plant having one or two tubers along the vine. These small nuggets have the ability to produce roots, growing into brand-new plants.
It’s best to leave the tuber on the vine while rooting. This allows it to draw energy from the main plant to develop roots as it won’t have any leaves of its own once removed. All you need to do is root it in a pot of soil placed next to the container to spur growth.
Start by filling a small container with propagating mix. Moisten the soil before you start to create the ideal conditions for growth and test drainage levels. Place the container right next to the pot containing your String of Hearts plant.
Grab the vine holding the tuber and lay it along the soil in the new pot. Press the tuber into the soil gently to ensure contact. Keep the pots out of reach to avoid any accidental disturbances. Keep the soil moist enough to facilitate root growth without rotting the tuber.
All you need to do now is wait for roots to develop. When you’re confident the tuber has rooted, you can trim the vine off the main plant and move the pot wherever you’d like to continue growing. Make sure it stays warm and moist to allow the tuber to continue to grow and fill out the pot.
With so many propagating options, you could propagate your String of Hearts every couple of months with no trouble. Whether you intend to gift them to fellow houseplant enthusiasts or keep them for yourself, any of the propagation methods you’ve learned about here will help you filling your home with these delicate, romantic houseplants.