Plants

Ceropegia Woodii Guide: How to Grow & Care for “String of Hearts”

Complete guide to Ceropegia Woodii for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting and caring for “Rosary Vine”

Ceropegia woodii, more commonly known as the rosary vine, is a strong, long-stemmed plant in the Milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae), and is famous for its unique appearance and impressive length. The leaves as well as the small bulbs that grow on the stem closely resemble how a rosary looks with its beads, earning the plant its name.

It is known as “String of Hearts” or “Rosary Vine”.

It is native to regions in Africa, particularly those with more tropical and humid climates. Other names that it is given include string of hearts, sweetheart vine, hearts entangled, and chain of hearts.

Over the years, the rosary vine has garnered quite the reputation as a great houseplant by how easy it is to maintain along with its beautifully long trailing stems and striking features. It is definitely a consideration if you would like to have hanging baskets around your porch, living room, or garden.

About the “String of Hearts”

  • Ceropagia woodii is part of the Asclepiadaceae family, which consists of approximately 280 genera and 1800 species. Most of them have variegated on their leaves and foliage that grow in tropical or subtropical regions.
  • Ceropagia woodii is a large genus that is often cultivated for the sparse foliage on its stems and variegated heart-shaped leaves. Its wispy vines and peculiarly shaped flowers make as great contributions to its appeal.
  • In 2017, C. woodii gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), this plant is not an invasive species. Still, you must keep an eye on it because of its fast-growing ability, especially when placed outdoors.
  • Indoor rosary vine houseplants are archaic greenery that can catch your attention with their thick heart-shaped leaves and slim stiff stems. When potting a rosary vine, be sure to use a container with enough drainage holes and create a potting soil mixture that is one-third sand.
  • The Ceropegia woodii variegata is a fabulous house plant, adding details to any gloomy corner in your house. However, it must be placed in an area where it can receive a sufficient amount of light.
  • The Ceropegia woodii is quite tender. It is popularly grown outdoors in temperate regions. Be sure to give your rosary vine partial shading and proper amounts of water when planting it outside.
“String of Hearts” or "Rosary Vine"
“String of Hearts” or “Rosary Vine”

Rosary Vine Features: An Overview

  • The rosary vine has pairs of heart-shaped leaves about every three inches along its stem, reaching lengths of up to 12 inches with this growth pattern.
  • The leaves are marked lightly on the top surface with white and on the underside with purple. The stems curtain over a pot or container and hang down to around three feet (91 cm.).
  • If you plan on growing the rosary vine as an indoor houseplant, its size can be better controlled by placing it a small pot along with careful pruning. It does not often grow much past 2 inches, unlike when grown outside.
  • It is a pretty hardy plant, which means it can stand in a rockery or wall surface. You can use a cactus potting soil mix or a combination of a regular potting soil with sand so long as it is well-drained.
  • Native to the tropical and subtropical area, this plant is calm in most household settings. When keeping it indoors, it might start to look weary when overwatered with insufficient exposure to bright light from the sun during the winter season.
  • The Ceropegia woodii can withstand cold temperature but remains dormant. It successfully grows and bears flowers outdoors in warmer conditions, where its bulbs and stems bloom faster and longer.
  • During warm periods, you can grow the rosary vine outdoors year-round under partial shade if the minimum outside temperature is 59°F (15°C).
  • Because it is typically found in warm surroundings, rosary vine plants have a high tolerance for drought and can grow in diverse lighting conditions such as partial sun, full sun, or partial shade.
  • It is safe according to the USDA, but it is important to be mindful of their peas because it is confirmed to be toxic. It is best to keep the plant out of the reach of pets and children.
Ceropegia woodii
Ceropegia woodii

Growing Rosary Vine

Your rosary vine will greatly appreciate being exposed to bright indirect sunlight for an hour per day when grown indoors. It thrives with bright shade light when grown outdoors and not really under direct sunlight.

It is fine to put the rosary vine in a low light setting, but it must be kept away from drafts and air vents. Placing it in low light will cause the leaves to develop a slightly purplish hue underneath as well as a less apparent variegation pattern. This succulent-like vine does not require high humidity for it to survive.

The ideal location would be close to or in front of windows facing the south or west. A western facing window could work as long as the plant is not placed against the hot glass. In the winter months, investing in a grow light might be essential in caring for and growing your rosary vine.

String of Hearts Plant, From Amazon

If you are currently living in the United States, you can grow your rosary vine outdoors all year round in USDA zones 10 or above. Otherwise, it is advisable that you bring your plant outside in light shade during the summer, and bring it back inside once fall draws near.

However, you should take note that growing the rosary vine outside comes with a bit of a challenge as this plant can propagate very easily. Although it is not classified as an invasive species, the small, pea-shaped tubercles of the plant grow without much fuss once they touch soil.

One of the most crucial things to know about your rosary vine is that it needs to be well-drained, so an effective soil-draining mix is necessary. Choose a kind of soil with chunky particles so that water can flow more freely, such as a cactus or succulent soil mixed with one-third sand.

Take note that the best season to transfer or repot this plant is during spring or summer. Moreover, make sure to keep your eye out for aphids and mealybugs as these may cause the plant to wilt.

Watering Ceropegia woodii

When it comes to proper watering of this gorgeous viny plant, you have to check that the top portion of the soil is dry. This actually promotes blooming effects for your rosary vine as well as helps prevent overwatering. In addition, it’s also crucial that you adjust how frequently you water the plant depending on the season, as it has growing and dormant seasons.

  • Summer – Water an average of once a week during its active growing era.
  • Winter Period – There is a lot less light available during the colder season, which calls for less frequent watering. Resume your regular watering habits for this plant once spring rolls in.

As mentioned, your rosary vine goes dormant in the winter, so watering during this season should be very sparse. It might look a bit droopy when it is cold, but that is completely normal. Like many other plants, avoid overwatering when growing your rosary vine to prevent root decay and fungus problems.

Rosary Vine
Rosary Vine

Propagating Rosary Vine

There are two common ways that rosary vine is propagated. It can be easily proliferated by making cuttings on its stem or through potting its bulbs. For the bulb potting method, you will first need to check for the plant’s tubercles.

These are the little, bead-like pearls attached to its stems. You can easily pull them off and lay three to four buds in a well-draining soil mixture, keeping them in a small pot at room temperature while waiting for roots to grow.

Given the proper conditions, these little buds can sprout very quickly and can be transferred once the roots have developed.

Another way to propagate the rosary vine is by cutting a small portion with a few leaves from the stem of a parent plant, then planting the wiry stem into a pot in a sand and soil mixture. The plant needs to be placed in a well-lit area afterward.

In Conclusion

The rosary vine is a wonderful houseplant if you are looking for something that’s easy to take care of and is flexible to different conditions. Its appearance is unlike any other with its string of dark green, heart-shaped leaves and long wispy stems.

The rosary vine can pretty much grow throughout the year as long as it is placed under the right conditions and care. Not only will it grow considerably, but can also produce many other plants. The most important things to consider when growing this succulent plant indoors are proper watering and sufficient lighting.

Having this rosary vine will not only be a stunning decoration to liven up your home, but can also make as a wonderful gift for family members, friends, or for a significant other. These beautiful houseplants are surely worth the effort, and the results will be outstanding.

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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