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Variegated String of Hearts Plant Care — Best Guide Ever!

Variegated String of Hearts Plant Care — Best Guide Ever!

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The Ceropegia Woodii Variegata is a unique plant for artistic gardeners who need something extra than the classic green in their plants. 

This plant is not just variegated, but it has pink variegation! This plant is native to South Asia, Africa, and Australia, and it belongs to the Apocynaceae plant family. 

This plant’s other common names include the Hearts-on-a-String, Collar of Hearts, Pink Variegated String of Hearts, Sweetheart Vine, and Variegated Chain of Hearts. 

This low-maintenance vine has tiny heart-shaped leaves colored in pink, white and green. The center of the succulent leaves is greenish-white with pink leaf margins.

The pink color on the edges darkens on the backside of the foliage, creating a colorful palette. 

The creeping vines will adorn any container, but I love growing them in hanging baskets where the colorful leaves cascade downwards and flaunt the color on both sides of the leaves. 

This is a beginner-friendly plant, and it’s recommended for lazy gardeners too. Ceropegia genus was first introduced in 1753, but they share the subfamily with the famous Hoya genus.

These plants are also referred to as wax fountains for their unique flowers. In some cultures, these plants are used as ornamentation. 

This is a fragile but easy plant, and this article shares everything you need to know about growing it as a houseplant. 

 

Variegated String of Hearts Plant Care

This perennial plant needs bright, indirect sunlight along with temperatures of 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 32 degrees Celsius). You should plant it in a cactus soil mix containing coarse sand and perlite. It does not demand high humidity, so maintain the indoor humidity close to 50%. Water when 90 % of the growing medium is dry. Fertilize this plant once or twice a year between March to August using regular houseplant fertilizer.

 

Soil

You have to plant the Variegated String of Hearts in a free-draining soil mix. You can create your own soil mix or invest in a premade succulent or cactus mix. 

If your soil mix lacks drainage, you can amend it with a handful of perlite or pumice. 

I prefer creating my own soil mix, which includes the following ingredients:

  • Perlite
  • Gravel
  • Coco coir 
  • Coarse sand

 

Water

Watering your Variegated String of Hearts

This succulent plant is not finicky about its watering, meaning it will do just fine if you skip watering once in a while. 

However, keeping it underwatered for a long time will create issues, so it’s better to water the Variegated String of Hearts when the potting soil has dried out. 

90 % of the growing medium should be dry before you water the Variegated String of Hearts. 

This plant should be watered deeply but make sure the pot has a drainage hole to remove the excess water. 

Letting the extra water remain in the soil can easily lead to a root rot infection. You can read our articles about root rot symptoms and treatment to avoid this issue for your houseplants. 

The frequency of watering per week will change depending on the light, temperature, and season. 

As a general rule, you can water this plant once or twice a week in the active growing summer season. However, in winter, it does grow actively, so water it every two weeks. 

 

Light

This vining plant will appreciate a location with bright indirect sunlight for 4-6 hours. 

Variegated plants need brighter light compared to the original green versions to maintain the variegation on the leaves. 

The colorful leaves need protection from direct sunlight as that can damage the leaves. If the light at midday is too harsh near the window, you can relocate the pot or hanging basket. 

You can also use window blinds or sheer curtains to minimize the intensity of sunlight during peak hours. 

 

Temperature

This Woodii plant will grow best in a warm, cozy environment; therefore, make sure the temperature falls between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 32 degrees Celsius) during the daytime.

This plant is not frost or cold hardy, so avoid exposing it to temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius). 

If you are growing it in a hanging basket or pot in an outdoor spot, it’s best to shift this plant indoors during the winter season

Otherwise, the cold damage will eventually kill this beautiful String of Hearts plant.

For outdoor gardening, this Woodii plant is hardy in USDA hardiness zone 10a and 11. 

 

Humidity

Measuring Humidty for Variegated String of Hearts

This plant is a perfect pick for growers with low humidity conditions because you do not have to buy a humidifier to fulfill the humidity needs. 

It needs air moisture levels of 40-50%, which can be easily achieved with misting. In fact, the average household humidity is enough to keep this plant happy. 

 

Fertilizer

This plant can grow well even without feeding as long as the soil is nutrient-rich. But I would recommend using a regular houseplant fertilizer at least in the growing season. 

Liquid fertilizer is the best choice because you can spray the solution on the long vines or add it directly to the soil. 

This plant grows actively from March to August; therefore, add the fertilizer during this period. 

Since the Variegated String of Hearts is not a heavy feeder, overfertilizing it has damaging effects.

You should also avoid adding anything to the soil in the dormancy or winter. 

Fertilizing this plant once or twice a year will encourage blooms.

 

Repotting

This vining plant likes to expand, so if the current pot looks small for your plant, it’s time to repot. You need a new, bigger pot about two inches larger than what you previously used. 

Carefully repot your plant in early spring when the plant is strong enough to handle the transplant shock. Prepare a fresh batch of a well-draining soil mix for your newly repotted plant. 

Repotting will give more room to your plant to grow new heart-shaped leaves but avoid disturbing the root system during this process. 

You can inspect the roots for any sign of damage or infection. And trim the unhealthy roots before moving your plant to the new pot. 

 

Pruning

Pruning is an essential practice to care for your vining plants. Prune the Variegated String of Hearts to get rid of the old leaves that look weak and discolored. 

You should also remove the leggy or overgrown vines to shape your plant.

 

Propagation

The Variegated String of Hearts makes a perfect gift for a gardening friend, and you do not have to buy a new plant. Simply propagate from your plant and share it with friends and family. 

Propagation can also help you save a diseased plant or expand your collection because you can have as many new plants as you like.  

This plant is easy to propagate but make sure you perform this procedure when the plant is growing actively. This makes spring and summer the ideal season for propagating the Variegated String of Hearts. 

Several methods are used for propagating houseplants, but this variety is best propagated via the stem cuttings method. Follow the steps given below:

  • Look for a healthy, long vine on the mother plant because you will need a 6 inches long stem cutting with healthy leaves on it. Ideally, the cutting should also have a few leaf nodes for new growth. 
  • You will also need a pair of clean scissors or pruning shears to cut the cutting. Using sterilized tools is crucial if you want to avoid bacteria or disease issues. Always clean the tools before and after propagation with rubbing alcohol to remove any harmful bacteria that could infect the plant. 
  • Cut the vine near the leaf node. Remove some of the leaves near the bottom end. Let the cuttings dry out for a couple of hours. Dip the stem cutting’s lower end in rooting hormone, or add it to the water. 
  • You can root the Variegated String Heart cutting in water or soil. But if you love experimenting, try water propagation. 
  • Fill a water bottle or glass jar with room temperature, clean water. Dip the lower end of the stem cuttings underwater, but the leaves should not be underwater. 
  • Now place this cutting in a warm area with no direct light and let it root. The roots will emerge from the node underwater. 
  • Water propagation involves changing the water whenever it gets dirty. It’s a good practice to change the water every three or four days. 
  • Root development underwater usually takes 2 weeks. Water propagation allows you to see the roots growing each day, so growers find it enjoyable. 
  • Once the rootlets are 1 or 2 inches long, you can shift your cutting to a soil-based medium.  

 

Blooms

The beautiful flowers on this plant form an umbrella-like canopy, and there are five or more petals for each flower. All these petals will join at the tip to create a tubular look. 

The pinkish-purple blooms will appear on the plant in the summer season. 

 

Growth

The vines on this creeping plant will reach a maximum height of 4 inches (10 cm); however, they can grow horizontally to a length of 13 ft (4 m). 

The heart-shaped foliage will reach a maximum size of 4 inches (10 cm). These leaves will grow in alternating patterns on the vine or stems. 

The plant’s purple stem also adds color to the plant.  

 

Common Problems for Variegated String of Hearts

 

Pests

The Variegated String of Hearts is a resilient plant, but it can fall prey to pest issues. 

Mealybugs are one of the annoying houseplant pests that will bother this beautiful plant. They will feed on the fleshy leaves and hide near the leaf nodes or undersides of the leaves. 

Mealybugs on a Leaf

They will leave honeydew and a cottony mass on the foliage after feeding on the plant. Once you notice any of these signs of infection or poor growth, you need to treat the plant immediately. 

Start by pruning the heavily damaged leaves. Spray your plant with a strong stream of water to drown these bugs. 

You should also apply neem oil to infected leaves. If you repeat the treatment for a few weeks, you can save your plant from further damage. 

 

Tips for Growing Variegated String of Hearts

  • Soggy soil or over watering is a big no for this plant; therefore, maintain a watering schedule according to your plant’s growing environment. 
  • Grow this plant next to a window or any other location with bright light to help it maintain the coloration. You should keep the pot in the sunniest room of your house.  
  • When propagating, keep the cutting in a window but make sure it receives indirect sunlight. 
  • Rotate the plant every few days while watering to evenly distribute the sunlight. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Variegated String of Hearts Plant Care

 

How does the Variegated String of Hearts and the original String of Hearts plant differ?

The plant care for both these plants is the same. The two just differ in their appearance. The Original String of Hearts or Woodii plant has white borders, whereas this variegated version has pink hues on the leaf borders. 

 

Is the Variegated String of Hearts plant a safe one?

This plant is not toxic for pets or humans, but I would still encourage you to keep it away from the reach of children and your pets as you do not want them to consume the leaves.  

 

Can the Variegated String of Hearts survive in low light conditions?

Low sunlight is not recommended for this variegated plant. Growing under inadequate light will result in pale leaves, leggy growth, and lots of space between individual leaves. This plant needs bright, indirect light for the best growth. 

 

What is the best spot for this variegated plant indoors?

Place the pot at a high shelf where the lacey leaves will elegantly fall downwards. Whatever spot you choose, ensure the plant’s receiving lots of bright light. 

 

Conclusion

Whether you look at the pink and white variegated leaves or the tube-like flowers, everything about this plant is worth the hype. 

The easy-care schedule of this plant helps it win the hearts of plant lovers. It features lots of heart-shaped stems on the creeping stem. 

If you enjoyed reading about this variegated plant, read our article about the original String of Hearts plant