How to Care for Ceropegia Woodii
More commonly known as the String of Hearts and other varieties, the Ceropegia Woodii comes in a variety of forms, identified by its leaf shape and color. The string of Spades, Hearts, Arrows, and Needles are all variations of the same plant, as are the Varigated String of Hearts and Silver Glory String of Hearts.
These trailing, vine-like plants look lovely hanging in a basket, atop a shelf, outside in the shade, or just on your desk. With such a wide variety of looks, this houseplant makes for a unique gift or statement piece just about anywhere. Outdoors, String succulents look amazing in baskets but are also excellent vines for warm climates. Trail your String succulents over a garden wall or pergola, or use them as a groundcover to create a romantic look. String succulents can spread quickly, growing vines up to 13 feet in length. Fortunately, these plants have similar care needs, making them easy to prune and care for regardless of type.
It’s important to note that although this plant is not toxic to animals or people, its vines can easily stick to fur and cling to the skin. To avoid any potential accidents, it’s best to keep this plant just out of reach.
Since all of these String varieties are a single plant– the Ceropegia Woodii– they all have the same general care needs. Although they aren’t as simple as a succulent, the Ceropegia Woodii’s uniform care needs make it easy for collectors to care for multiple varieties at once.
The Ceropegia Woodii requires bright, indirect sunlight. Although bright lights and hot temperatures are ideal for this plant, the harsh afternoon sun can easily burn its delicate leaves. To avoid sunburn, keep your Ceropegia Woodii near an east-facing window for direct morning sunlight or a south-facing window for day-long filtered sun.
Root rot is one of the most common complications of the Ceropegia Woodii. Thus, well-draining soil is a priority. We recommend using a cactus mix or modifying traditional potting soil to achieve the best drainage. When modifying your soil, use perlite, sand, and peat to improve drainage.
Along with well-draining soil, you’ll need to let any excess water drain from your String succulents after watering them. To water, do so once every two or three weeks using the bottom watering method or a succulent watering bottle. This plant should only be watered whenever its soil is completely dry to the touch, so always check your soil moisture before watering.
Temperature and Humidity
We’d mentioned before that the Ceropegia Woodii loves warm weather and thrives in USDA agricultural zones 9-12. Ideal as an indoor plant, this succulent works well in temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can tolerate lower temperatures up to 20 degrees in small amounts. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can and will kill your plant.
For humidity, a low 40% is best for this plant– as long as you’ve got decent air circulation in your home, your Ceropegia will be fine.
This plant benefits from regular feedings with water-soluble succulent fertilizer during the summer growing season. However, regularly adding compost to your pot can also help add nutrients to the soil. Like most succulents, the Ceropegia Woodii doesn’t need fertilizer, but adding some during the growing season can boost growth and encourage blooming.
Potting and Repotting
When choosing your pot, go with something that prioritizes drainage. Pots with drainage holes are essential for the Ceropegia Woodii, but you can further improve drainage by using a pot made from porous materials like concrete, terracotta, or unglazed ceramic. To repot, do so once every few years– while this plant can grow quite large, its roots don’t usually grow as fast as its leaves do. When you repot your succulent, do so during the growing season, so your plant has plenty of energy to recover from potential damage or transplant shock.
All varieties of the Ceropegia Woodii bloom mainly in the summer and fall but may also bloom throughout the year, depending on how much light the plant receives. When in bloom, its flowers appear as long, waxy tubes with rounded bottoms and long stamens. The flowers will range in shades from magenta or deep pink to white.
To encourage blooming in your Ceropegia Woodii, slowly increase the amount of light it receives each day, and add a little bit of water-soluble succulent fertilizer to your watering routine.
Pruning and Propagation
With vines up to 13 feet long, these trailing plants may need some pruning from time to time to keep them from taking over your home. When you prune your Ceropegia Woodii, always do so during the growing season. To prune, use a pair of clean, sharp scissors to trim a vine as close to the leaves as possible. Any pruned vines over three inches long make for excellent propagation starters!
To propagate, remove any leaves from the lower third of your cutting. Then, let the stem callous over for a day before dipping the lower portion in your rooting hormone and sticking it in some fresh soil, covering the lowest node. Mist the soil once a week to keep it moist, and you should start to see root growth in about two weeks.
Common Pests and Complications
The most common problems you’ll encounter with a Ceropegia Woodii are root rot and mealybugs. Both are caused by excess moisture, and the best way to treat them is with a bit of fresh air. To treat root rot, remove the plant from its pot and let the roots air out for a day before repotting. If the roots appear black at parts, trim away the rotted part before setting the roots to dry. After a day, repot the succulent in fresh, well-draining soil. For mealybugs, dip a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to gently wash away any webbing or potential damage.
Legginess is another common problem with trailing plants. Caused by a lack of sunlight, simply relocate your succulent to a sunnier windowsill or provide supplemental lighting during the winter with a UV lamp. You can also prune off any particularly long or unsightly stems to further control the growth.