The trailing String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii) is one of the simplest vines to propagate at home. You can transform a single leaf into a trailing beauty with surprisingly little effort.
If the growth node on the vine is intact, you can propagate a String of Hearts from a single leaf. The String of Hearts leaf will take root between two weeks and two months if given good quality soil, bright indirect light, and gentle, consistent moisture.
A string of Hearts is also known as Rosary Vines because each pair of leaves can produce a bead-like tuber, similar to a tiny potato.
They use these tiny tubers in their southern African homelands to establish roots as they trail along the ground. This means that even a single leaf is easy to spread if it has a tuber attached.
How to propagate String of Hearts
You will need:
- A single leaf from a String of Hearts plant, with a tuber, node, or aerial root attached.
- Potting soil blended for cacti or succulents.
- Shallow container with transparent lid. Transparent containers are ideal.
- Clean garden shears or scissors
- Small shallow pot.
- Small trowel or spade.
- Misting bottle.
- Rooting hormone (optional)
8 Steps to Propagate String of Hearts from A Single Leaf
First, choose your leaf. Then, check beneath the leaf for small, bead-like tubers and include one if possible. Aerial roots are also preferred.
If you’ve chosen to use a rooting powder (Amazon link), dust the leaf liberally now. This synthetic hormone stimulates the plant’s production of new roots and is an excellent tool for propagating from such a small cutting.
Fill your container with an inch or two of growing medium. Mist the soil with water to keep it moist but not soggy.
Place your cutting on the soil, allowing the tuber and aerial roots to rest on the surface. If you like, you can cover the tuber or roots with soil, ensuring the leaf remains clean.
Place your container in an area with plenty of bright, diffuse light. Direct sunlight should be avoided as it can overheat the delicate new propagation.
It’s just a matter of waiting now. The growing medium must be kept moist while the roots develop.
If necessary, mist once a day, preferably in the mornings, to keep the top half inch or so of soil damp.
String of Hearts plants, especially those with a large tuber, are voracious root growers. Expect roots to appear in two to six weeks. If your Hearts had less to draw from, it could take a month or two.
Once its roots have established themselves in the soil, the new String of Hearts plant is ready to be transplanted.
If the leaf does not move when gently pressed or tapped, it is time to transfer it from the nursery container to a larger pot.
Choosing the right pot is critical to ensuring your baby String of Hearts lives long. Aim for something no wider than two inches and very shallow. They do not establish any deep roots.
Terracotta is an excellent plant material for String of Pearls. However, you should also ensure that it has plenty of drainage holes.
After selecting a pot, fill it with potting medium to about two-thirds of its depth.
Scoop out the entire String of Hearts plant and about an inch of soil beneath it with a small shovel or trowel. Then, you can transplant everything directly into the new pot, adding soil as needed.
Water the plant thoroughly and place it in a well-lit area of your growing environment away from direct sunlight.
Optimum Conditions for Propagating from A Single Leaf
Growing roots is difficult to work, and the String of Hearts will require as much light as possible to power that growth. Therefore, they require as much bright, indirect light as you can provide.
However, avoid direct sunlight light. Overheating is a risk for the tiny plant, especially in a closed container.
To be safe, I usually drape a white napkin or a sheet of thin tissue paper over the container like a sunshade. It allows enough light to pass through to support the Hearts while preventing overheating.
The right potting mix is critical to the survival of a new String of Hearts plant. They truly require a free-draining mix with minimal organic material.
I like to make my own for new propagation by combining one good quality potting mix, one part perlite, and one part coarse sand. This provides excellent drainage and the necessary nutrition to support newly grown roots.
If you’d rather take the easy route, most commercial cactus and succulent blends (Amazon link) will suffice.
Controlling the moisture level in your potting soil is also essential for starting a String of Hearts. They require soil that is moist but not soggy.
A closed container lets you precisely control the moisture level around the emerging String of Hearts. It prevents evaporation and maintains a comfortable humidity level around the baby Hearts.
You don’t need to worry about ventilation too much; opening the lid once a day to check on the plant is more than enough fresh air for such a small plant.
Using a plant mister will also aid in moisture control. It provides a gentle supply that does not wash away the new roots, keeping the water where it is needed.
The baby String of Hearts plant must be kept warm. Keep these tiny babies at 72-77°F (22-25°C) for the best growth.
Consistency is also important; don’t let them get cold then hot, as this stresses the plant and slows its growth. With a stable environment, they’ll be producing new vines.