Variegated String of Hearts is considered rare succulents, so the desire to be a plant collector in me had to get one.
The dreamy pink heart-shaped leaves are to die for.
Along with the beautiful Hearts climbing down your pot, you need to know how to take care of those Hearts.
The Variegated String of Hearts prefers 4-6 hours of bright indirect sunlight, 65-90°F temperature, and 40-50% humidity. It needs frequent fertilization, weekly waterings, and re-pot in every 1-2 years. Try pruning if it becomes thin and spindly.
Believe me, and you wouldn’t break the heart of those Variegated String of Hearts.
Hence, here is a complete care guide on the Variegated String of Hearts.
Table of Contents
- Variegated String of Hearts Overview
- Variegated String of Hearts Care Guide
- Propagation Methods for Variegated String of Hearts
- Common Problems of Variegated Strings of Hearts
- FAQs about Variegated String of Hearts
Variegated String of Hearts Overview
The Variegated String of Hearts is a magnificent hanging plant native to South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.
Let us have a quick Variegated String of Hearts overview.
|Botanical Name||Ceropegia woodii|
|Native||South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe|
|USDA Zone||10 and 11a|
White and Green with Pinkish touch on the edges
|Toxicity||Non toxic to pets and children|
Variegated String of Hearts Care Guide
You can place the Variegated String of Hearts plant on a high shelf, and then you can see the strings falling, putting on a beautiful view.
Here is a quick overview of the optimum requirement of the plant.
|Light||Bright, indirect light
Minimum 4-6 Hours per day
|Watering||7-10 days during summer.
Once a month during winter.
|Ideal Soil Mix||Well-Draining Mixture|
|Fertilization||Use Mild fertilizer every month during the growing season.
Cut off the fertilization in winter or fertilize once in 2 months.
|Repotting||Once in 1-2 years|
|Pruning||Once a year|
|Propagation||Stem, seeds, tuber|
|Pests||Mealybugs, Spider mites, Scales, Thrips|
Let’s have a look at each of the requirements of your plant and know in detail about them.
1. Adequate Sunlight and Suitable Location
Variegated String of Hearts requires a good amount of indirect sunlight.
Generally, a well-lit location facing east or south is the best for Variegated Strings of Hearts. They need bright indirect light for at least 4-6 hours every day to function properly.
However, brighter sunlight ensures better variegation, but too much sunlight might cause your plant’s leaves to darken and lose their lacey, silvery patterning and wither.
Low-light situations should be avoided because they can cause Hearts to retain a dark green color, large leaves, and large spaces between the leaves. The vines will become leggy and unattractive as well.
Large spaces is not actually a problem, but some might find that unattractive. Once etiolation, there is no turning back, so the plant enthusiast needs to be careful from the beginning.
Tips to Maintain Proper Sunlight
- If the sun is scorching hot during the summer, relocate the plant or use sheer curtains.
- Maintain distance between the plant and the window to keep them away from direct sun rays.
- Bring your plant indoors to avoid frost and nurture it under artificial light during the winter.
- If your temperature is warm enough for them, leave them outside.
- Keep in mind that they will need to be moved to a shaded location, especially when the sun is at its hottest.
- Two hours of morning sunlight can revive the plant during the cold season.
- Occasionally rotate the plant and ensure compact, consistent growth for your plant.
- The Hearts are sensitive to too much direct sunlight; hence it is best to avoid long hours of direct sunlight on their strings.
ALERT!! Brown and Crispy leaf edges is SUNBURN.
2. Watering Requirements
Variegated String of Hearts prefers dry feet. The plant hates moist and sloppy soil because it needs proper aeration through the soil.
Hence, watering daily or very frequently is not a good idea.
The plant can forgive you if you forget to water it sometime but will never forgive you for overwatering.
While watering, pour the water till it oozes out from draining holes in your pot. Once you water, let it go without water at least for a week.
Because the String of Hearts has succulent-like characteristics, root rot is more likely to occur, especially if it is left in damp soil for an extended period.
This can be avoided by giving this plant a good soak every week or mostly when the top 2-3 inches of soil are totally dry during its growing season, which occurs in the spring and summer.
On the other hand, Variegated Strings of Hearts will go dormant in the Winter and Autumn season; thus, watering should be lowered to once a month.
The frequency of watering depends on the seasons and the availability of sunlight.
Signs of Watering Issues
- Tip of the Variegated String Hearts goes yellow or brown with slow growth is the sign of overwatering.
- Droopy, soft, and mushy leaves
- Moist soil all the time
- Root rot
- Crispy leaves and wilting indicate underwatering
- Stunted Growth
- Wilting and curling of leaves
How to Treat Overwatered Variegated String of Hearts?
The Variegated String of Hearts is a hardy plant and less susceptible to diseases but overwatering is the issue you need to watch out for.
The fungal infection in the root and root rot resulting from overwatering is the cause of major suffering for this plant.
Since a Variegated String of Hearts is susceptible to overwatering, here are some tips for treating your overwatered plant.
- Place the Variegated String of Hearts in a spot where it receives long hours of indirect sunlight. Do not keep the plant in the dark areas.
- Cut off the watering till your plant heals and the soil becomes dry.
- Remove the damaged branches.
- If the plant is severely overwatered, place the pot upside down and pull the plant along with the soil. Let the soil dry out a little. You can use absorbent cloth or newspaper.
- You need to prune them off and re-pot the plant if you see damaged roots.
Tips to Water Variegated String of Hearts Correctly
- Before watering, check if the top three inches of soil are dry or not. If it’s dry, you can water the plant, but if not, you need to wait one or two days more.
- Water the Variegated String of Hearts once a week or in 10 days.
- If the plant receives 5-6 hours of indirect sunlight, water it in 7 days. If the sun hours are less, water the plant in 10 days.
- You can water the plant monthly during dormancy as the water requirement decreases.
- Dip a finger to test moisture in the soil. If it’s moist, wait a few days. Give your Variegated String of Hearts a good soak if the soil feels dry.
- If you are prone to overwatering, check the top 3 inches of soil. Water only if the soil is dry. If the soil has moisture, wait till it fades away.
- Use a spray bottle to spray water on the leaves too. It increases the humidity and cleans the strings and leaves.
- Do not use hot or ice water. Room temperature water is best for the plants.
Want to know how to treat overwatered staghorn fern? Read on to know all about it.
3. Warm Temperature
Variegated String of Hearts is a warm-weather plant growing beautifully in summer and spring.
The ideal temperature for them is 65-90°F.
While it can withstand lower temperatures for a short time, it cannot resist for a longer time. As a result, make sure you can pay attention to your plant during the winter.
The plant can’t tolerate temperatures below 40°F, so if you are hanging the Variegated String of Hearts on your balcony, it’s time to bring them inside.
Tips to Maintain Ideal Temperature
- Choose a well-lit area with plenty of indirect light for the plant.
- Keep them away from drafts, air conditioning, and heating vents.
- Bring your plant inside and keep it away from cold and drafty windows in the cold.
- For an intense light, use curtains.
- If the temperature is very low, you can add heating pads. Heating pads are often used to enhance plants germination.
- In cold places, frost covers are often used.
You can easily make your own frost cover using a clean fabric. Plastic bottles and baskets are also used. Place them over your Variegated String of Hearts to trap some warm air before it gets dark.
4. Household Humidity
Varigated Strings of Hearts thrive in humid environments. The typical humid environment will be enough to keep your Hearts HAPPY.
Variegated String of Hearts prefers a humidity between 40-50%.
If the tip of the foliage begins to turn brown, the air is too dry. Hence, to keep the leaves healthy, you’ll need to increase the moisture level right away.
Tips to Maintain High Humidity
It can be quite a job to maintain good humidity in the cold. Therefore, here are some of the common ways to maintain high humidity as your plant requires.
Plants grouping: Plants can pool their humidity resources through a process known as transpiration. You’re effectively establishing a mini biosphere that aids the performance of all your plants.
Hence, grouping your houseplants is effective in increasing the humidity. The grouping, on the other hand, may foster pest infestation.
Artificial Humidifier: Adding an artificial humidifier to your plant’s area is an easy way to provide the necessary humidity to your Variegated String of Hearts and other plants.
It is easy as well as highly effective.
Pebble Tray: Take a pebble tray and add some pebbles to it. Add water and place the Variegated String of Hearts on the tray.
Do not completely soak the lower end of the pot as it may overwater the plant.
Occasional Misting: During the low humidity season, spray the plant leaves occasionally to increase the humidity as well as to clean the strings.
However, do not over mist. Let the leaves dry, and do not leave them dripping. Too much water on leaves promotes bacterial and fungal attacks.
5. Well Draining Soil Mix
A Variegated String of Hearts requires an airy potting soil, has high porosity, and is well-draining.
It’s crucial to get the potting mix in the right consistency because the plant will be in this potting mix till it’s time to re-pot.
Similarly, a large amount of organic matter should be included in the mix to aid with moist retention and plant nutrition.
For the preparation of potting mix, keep in mind that the plant loves its pH on the acidic side of 6-6.5.
Below is one of the recommended potting mixes:
- 1 Part Gravel
- 1 Part Grit
- 1 Part Perlite
- 1 Part Coarse Sand and
- 2 Part Coir
Similarly, you can get any of the following potting mixes for your Variegated String of Hearts.
- Pothos Air Cleaning Plant Soil
- Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting
- Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix
- Potting Mix organic
6. Proper Fertilization
Any liquid fertilizer should be diluted to 1/4th of its strength to avoid over-fertilization and salt buildup in the soil and roots.
A moderate N-P-K fertilizer is sufficient to feed a Variegated String of Hearts.
Phosphorus aids in the conversion of energy into essential components for newer tissue and cells. In comparison, nitrogen aids in converting energy into essential components for newer tissue and cells.
Additionally, potassium also enhances the health of the plant’s root system. Finally, minerals like calcium and magnesium and phytonutrients like iron and zinc are essential.
Use slow-releasing fertilizer to feed your Variegated String of Hearts and use it every three to five weeks in summer. In winter, fertilize once in two months.
You can also completely cut off the plant-feeding in winter.
You can select the organic fertilizers from the market or simply use manure and homemade compost from time to time.
Here are some of the common fertilizers suggested for a Variegated String of Hearts:
- Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food
- Purived Liquid Fertilizer for Indoor Plant
- Perfect Plants Liquid Indoor Plant Food
7. Growth Habit and Flower
You need to keep your Variegated String of Hearts completely hanging to see its growth. A completely grown plant’s trailing stems can grow up to 6 feet (2 meters) long.
They would produce cute Heart-shaped leaves in white and green with pinkish touch on the edges.
The growth rate depends on the season, temperature, pot size, and more. If your plant is root bound, the growth will be stunted.
At the end of the growing season, you can see dainty small pink and purple lantern-shaped flowers.
Variegated String of Hearts appears to blossom without much effort.
But you can encourage flowering by watering with a diluted liquid succulent and cacti fertilizer during the summer months.
During the winter, there won’t be much growth as this is the dormant period; however, during the growing season, the growth becomes visible as you see the hanging strings of heart from the plant’s pot.
If you are having a problem with flowering your plants, read on, Common Reasons for Anthurium to Lose Flowers
8. Annual Pruning
As you know, the trailing stalks are the distinguishing trait of the Variegated Strings of Hearts, and they do not require extensive pruning.
However, it loves the annual grooming.
You can just cut off any discolored or dying foliage at the end of winter or the beginning of the spring.
It would be best if you used sterilized pair of scissors to avoid the risk of any infection.
Using thumb and fingertip to pull out the dead and dying foliage is also considerable unless you have to pull the leaves and strings with force.
- Make sure you use sterilized pair of scissors or knives.
- Avoid applying too much force while pulling the dead or foliage off the plant with bare hands.
- Do not cut off the green foliage. Select the dead, dried, discolored foliage and stems and prune them one by one with care.
- Pruning should be done only before the growing season. Prune only if required during the winters.
9. Potting and Repotting
When you buy a Variegated String of Hearts from a plants store or nursery, you may get them in a small pot, which eventually requires proper potting.
A partial root bound is good for a Variegated String of Hearts as it enhances the string growth.
Therefore, a pot slightly bigger than the previous pot is good to go with.
Generally, a pot with an 8-inch diameter is best for your Variegated String of Hearts.
Since Strings of the Heart is a semi-succulent plant, so it won’t thrive in moist or soggy soil; terra cotta and clay pot are the best options.
For the Variegated Strings, re-potting is done only if necessary. Otherwise, it can go for 1- 2 years without re-potting.
It is best to re-pot your plants during their growing season. Early spring or summer is the best time to re-pot as it is easy for them to handle re-potting stress.
Re-pot the Variegated String of Hearts if-
- The roots of your Variegated String of Hearts are popping out through the drainage holes of the pot.
- The plant starts lifting itself from the pot due to a lack of space for growing roots.
- There are signs of root rot due to overwatering or other infections
- Soil is always soggy and retains too much moisture
- There is too much salt built up in the soil due to regular fertilization
- Strings show stunted growth
- Signs of discoloration to yellow or brown persists for a longer time
Learn more about repotting in Step by Step Guide to Repot African Voilet with Long Neck.
Steps to Re-pot the Variegated String of Hearts
Taking care of Variegated Strings is easier said than done. Hence to help you throughout the process, here is a stepwise re-potting process.
Prepare the Potting Mix
- Begin by making a suitable potting mix. Some of the best potting mixes are mentioned above while discussing well-draining soil for variegated strings.
- If you want to make the mixture slightly acidic, adding sphagnum peat moss helps.
- After that, get a clean container, either clay pot or terra cotta, with many drainage holes.
- Fill 1/3 of the way with potting mix and a few pebbles and spray some water.
Prepare the Plant
- A day before re-potting, give your Variegated String of Hearts plenty of water.
- Grasp the bottom strings with both hands and gently pull them out of the pot. Alternatively, you can also invert the pot to make the pulling non-stressful to your plant.
- Check if the roots are healthy. If you see rotting or browning, you can prune them off with a sterilized tool and wash them with room temperature water.
Re-pot the Plant
- Gently place the roots at the center of the pot and cover the pot’s side with potting mix.
- Do not fill the soil up till the top edges. Leave some space for water and fertilizer.
- Water your newly re-potted Variegated Strings till the water runs out of the drainage holes.
- Keep the plant in a suitable location considering light, temperature, and humidity.
Quick Tip: It is normal for your Variegated Strings to wilt a bit after repotting. It will revive to its normal state in no time.
Not only the Variegated String of Hearts is beautiful, but it is also friendly to you and your pets. The Variegated String of Hearts is non-toxic to humans and is pet-friendly.
However, you may want to hang the Strings to a height that is unreachable to your pets, especially your cat, because nibbled plants won’t look good and healthy.
Having said that, it is best not to let your pets play or nibble the plant. Also, in the case of children, if they eat the leaves, it is general to upset the stomach or disturb the taste.
So yes, keep the Stringy stems away from pets and kids!
Also, watch the video to know more about growing a happy and healthy Variegated String of Hearts.
Propagation Methods for Variegated String of Hearts
Everyone wants the ideal hanging heart-shaped plant in their house. Hence the plant can be propagated easily.
Here are a few ways to propagate Variegated Strings of Hearts below.
1. Tuber Propagation
The Variegated String of Hearts produces tubers on its strings at the base of the leaves.
Tuber propagation is the easiest way of propagating your variegated strings with the highest success rate.
Young Variegated Strings do not produce ariel tubers. Hence this method is applicable only if you have an old enough plant that produces tubers.
Quick Steps to Propagate Variegated String by Tuber
- Select the tuber from which you want to grow a new plant.
- Prepare the new pot and the potting mix if you want the tuber to grow in a new pot, or you can simply loop the String and cover the tuber half on the soil in the same pot. Do not cut the stem.
- Take extra care to provide enough light and water until the tuber grows multiple roots and shoots.
- If you are propagating in the same pot, after the tuber grows 2-3 or more leaves, you can move it to the new pot by cutting the stem.
- Place the pot in a bright place.
Worried about how to propagate other houseplants too? Read on, Methods to Propagate Hoya
2. Seeds Propagation
You can propagate Variegated Strings of Hearts from seeds. After the plant flowers, you can collect the seeds can propagate them.
Quick Steps to Propagate Variegated Strings by Seeds
- After the Variegated Strings blooms, you need to wait till the seed develops and collect them.
- Take a small container and soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight. Alternatively, you can soak them and sprout in a wet paper towel.
- Prepare a well-draining soil mixture and keep it moist.
- Place your desired number of seeds in the soil and gently press them onto the soil.
- You do not need to bury them completely. Keep them half-buried, or 2/3rd buried.
- Maintain the growing environment. You can use a heating mat to sprout them well.
- Provide a good amount of water.
- Do not pour water directly but use a spray bottle instead to avoid pressure and force on germinating seed. However, do not make the soil soggy and wet all the time.
- Check on the progress and provide them with a new pot once they grow mature foliage.
Quick Tip: Avoid seed crowding as it leads to competition for space, water, and nutrients.
3. Stem Propagation
Stem propagation is the common method of propagating houseplants.
In the case of a Variegated String of Hearts, you have an abundant amount of strings and stems from experimenting with even for a new plant parent.
There are numerous ways of propagating Variegated String by cutting their stem, but these two are the most common methods.
Propagation in Water
Propagating the newly cut stems in water has to be the easiest way to propagate any plants.
All you need is a pair of sterilized scissors, gloves to protect your hands, a suitable glass container, and some clean water.
Also, an existing mother Variegated String of Hearts is a must.
Steps to Propagate Variegated String of Hearts in Water
- Select the branch or String from which you want to grow a new plant. Make sure it’s healthy and has no pests or any discoloration.
- Take a pair of clean scissors and cut off a String. Make sure you make the cut just above the leaf nodule.
- Cut off the extra leaves. You can keep only 2-3 leaves on your 5- 15 cm long string.
- Take a clean container and pour some clean water.
- Gently place the String on the water. Make sure the base is submerged in the water and does not touch the end of the container. You need to keep space for roots.
Propagation in Soil
To propagate Variegated Strings in soil, you need a healthy mother plant and some tools. Prepare a pair of sterile scissors, gloves, soil mixture, pot, and growth hormones.
Steps to propagate Variegated String of Hearts in soil
- You can prepare the stem as you did for the water propagation. Cut off a clean and healthy stem to plant in the soil.
- Take a pot of a suitable size and prepare the potting mix. Any succulent and cacti soil mixture is good for Variegated Strings of Hearts.
- You can add pebbles or sand to further well-draining and provide proper aeration.
- Place the stem into the center of the pot and cover it with soil mixture.
- Spray water with a spray bottle on a daily basis to keep the soil moist but do not make it wet and soggy all the time.
- Water the plant well once a week or in 10 days.
- You can add growth hormone to enhance the growth and rooting.
- Keep the pot in a bright place and check for progress.
Common Problems of Variegated Strings of Hearts
The Variegated String of Hearts is a beautiful plant, and we all do our best to take care of the plant.
Nevertheless, no one can avoid each and every problem the plant is prone to.
Here are some of the problems that you may encounter while being a variegated string of heart parents.
1. Pest Infestation
This lovely plant doesn’t attract many pests, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to these bothersome little critters.
When the plant is damaged, common pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and scales attack it.
Among all of the pests, mealybugs are the most common pests attacking a Variegated String of Hearts.
Mealybugs are tiny pinkish insects that conceal in a white cottony web. They eat the plants, weakening and killing them.
|Mealybug||White cottony material on the strings and leaves.||They infect the roots and leaves. They siphon the plant sap, which causes them to wilt and turn yellow.|
|Spider mites||Small spider-like webs can be seen on the strings.||Plant wilting and discoloration of leaves.|
|Scales||Discoloration and brownish patch on the strings and leaves.||Discoloration, sometimes, red spots and patches can be seen on the leaves. Dryness of plant sap.|
|Thrips||Small brown group of insects on the strings and leaves.||Brown coloration on the pest infested region.|
- Regular inspection for pests, avoid overwatering and too much misting.
- Separate the non-infected plants from the pest-infested ones.
- Before potting the plant, make sure it’s in aphid- and pest-free gardening soil.
- Wiping or simply misting the Strings of Hearts once in a while and letting the leaves dry can help with leaf cleaning.
- You can either wash pests away with water or wipe them away with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab.
- You can use insecticidal soap or Neem oil to wash the Strings and leaves according to your availability.
- If the pests are larger, like caterpillars, you can remove them with a stick wearing a pair of gloves (can show an allergic reaction on the skin) and clean the Strings and leaves with chili or pepper spray.
2. Yellowing of Leaves
Among the many reasons your Variegated String of Hearts goes yellow, the most common is overwatering.
Your plant can also probably have rotten roots or undergo root rot if they turn yellow and easily fall falling down.
It can also be due to pest infestation, which is discussed above.
You can water the plant on your regular schedule, but if the temperature is low and the plant is not receiving enough sunlight, the soil can remain moist for longer days.
Solutions and Preventive Measures
- Fertilize regularly to add micronutrients like magnesium, potassium, and nitrogen but be careful not to overfertilize.
- 5-6 hours of indirect sunlight solves many problems.
- Cut off the watering if the problem is overwatering. Soggy and moist soil can turn leaves yellow.
3. Leaves Curling and Falling Off
During the winter, leaf curling can be seen commonly. However, it is not a life-threatening issue.
Leaves can curl due to a lack of sunlight during the cold.
Mind you, when the leaves are young and small, the curling is natural for them to grow into mature leaves.
We keep the String of Hearts inside our homes, but sometimes, you can hang them just outside on your balcony so that it can receive more hours of indirect sunlight.
Two to three hours of direct sunlight too can do no harm.
Falling off the leaves from your Variegated String of Hearts can be due to lack of light, but it can often happen due to overwatering.
Solutions and Preventive Measures
- Move your Variegated String of Hearts to a location where it can receive 5-6 hours of indirect sunlight or 2-3 hours of direct morning sunlight.
- Check if the soil is dry enough to water the plant again. The top two inches must be dry to water your Variegated Strings.
- Provide artificial light like fluorescent tubes or grow light bulbs if necessary.
FAQs about Variegated String of Hearts
Is Variegated String of Hearts Rare?
The Variegated String of Hearts is not commonly found in plant stores or nearby nurseries. However, you can find them online, but they can be a bit on the expensive side.
Once you get hold of one, you can easily create multiple of them by tuber or stem propagation.
Can Variegated String of Hearts Revert?
Too much sunlight without any filter can give the Variegated String of Hearts a bit more a pinkish look.
Alternatively, if you keep the plant in a more shady location where it cannot receive enough sunlight, the Heart-shaped pink leaves will go green.
Therefore, to prevent reverting, providing 1-2 hours of morning sunlight or 5-6 hours of indirect sunlight can do right by the plant.
Do Variegated Strings of Hearts grow Fast?
On receiving enough sunlight, i.e., 5-6 hours a day, the Variegated String of Hearts can grow pretty fast.
However, if the Strings are thin and the space between the leaves increases, it is better to prune and increase the light exposure.
In order to slow the excessive growth, you can keep the Variegated String of Hearts partially root-bound.
How can you Identify between the Variegated String of Hearts and the Original String of Hearts?
The Original String of Hearts is darker in color. The dominating green color is deep, and the edges of the leaves have only silver lining without pink blush.
Whereas for a Variegated String of Hearts, the leaves have a lighter color. It has lighter leaves with whitish edges. On proper growth, the whitish edges give pinkish color.
The pink hue is one of the differentiating factors between an Original String of Hearts and the Variegated String of Hearts.
Variegated Strings of Hearts is a unique plant that gives your home an aesthetic look with pinkish Heart-shaped leaves.
Sunlight balance is the key to maintaining the color of the leaves. Provide a good amount of indirect sunlight, temperature, and humidity.
Water according to the plant’s need and let the Strings hang on your balcony.
Fertilize the plant once during the spring and summer, and do not be surprised if the plant shades off some leaves during the winter.