How To Propagate String of Hearts?

How To Propagate String of Hearts?

String of hearts plants, with the botanical name Ceropegia woodii, are eye-catching hanging plants native to Zimbabwe, Eswatini and South Africa. These variegated plants only grow up to three inches tall, but their reach can be nine feet long! They are loved for their dark green leaves with variegated silver markings, and may also come in cream, pink and green patterned heart-shaped leaves. You can add to your string of hearts collection by applying any of the propagation methods discussed in this article. 

Below are the common methods used to propagate string of hearts:

How To Propagate String of Hearts?

Water propagation

Water propagation is seamless and fun, because you can check on the progress of the roots and monitor their speed of growth. First, cut a couple of vines from the mother plant. Since the roots will grow from the same nodes where leaves grow from, you should have at least one node submerged in the water. Clip off the leaves from the nodes that will be submerged. 

Next, pour room-temperature water into a propagation tube. Pop the tubes in water and place them in a warm spot where there is bright, indirect light. Check often and you will start to see roots developing in approximately two weeks, although it could also take longer, depending on the growing conditions and the time of year. 

Change the water every two weeks, or when it becomes murky. Once the roots start growing, they will grow fast and there will be daily improvements. You can plant the string of hearts in soil once the roots are about half an inch long. Fill a pot with moist planting soil, make a hole, pop in the string of hearts and cover the base with soil. 

Place a clear plastic bag over the newly-potted plants for about a week to keep the humidity high. This will help the plants transition from water to soil. 

Soil propagation 

Cut the strand, remove the leaves and prepare the cutting just as you would for water propagation, above. Prepare fresh potting soil (ideally succulent or cactus mix), moisten the soil and place the strands in it. The node without leaves should be under the soil, but do not bury it too deep. Dipping the strands in rooting hormone before planting them is optional, but useful. 

Place the pot in an enclosure or clear bag to maintain high humidity, and check the soil regularly to ensure that it is constantly moist but not wet or waterlogged. The roots should emerge in a couple of weeks. As long as the stems are healthy, there is nothing to worry about, even if some roots take longer to sprout. 

Laying cuttings on soil 

With this method, it is important to make sure that the nodes are always touching the soil; you may have to secure them with paper clips. The soil should always be moist, so mist it regularly to maintain moisture levels. After a few weeks, you will notice the growth of roots at every node. 

Propagation in sphagnum moss 

Soak your sphagnum moss with water and place it in a clear container, or any container that you can place in a clear bag and cover with clear film. Take your cuttings – you can use whole strands or small cuttings. Cut a little bit from the node on both sides, but spare the leaves on the node. For whole strands, you do not have to cut off the leaves. 

Next, place the strand or cutting on the soaked moss and tuck it in a little so that the nodes touch the moss. Close the container and place it in a warm area with bright, indirect light. Open the container occasionally to provide fresh air and check on the roots. 

You should see some growth after one week. Once the roots are half an inch in length, you can transfer the plants to soil. This method is easy and fast with a high success rate. It is the middle way between water and soil propagation, and combines the benefits of both methods.

Looping the vines back into the soil

First, ensure that the soil is moist by watering the mother plant. Take a strand and loop it back into and across the soil, but do not cut the strand. Secure the strand so that the nodes are properly in contact with the soil and the leaves are facing up. Use bobby pins or paper clips to keep the strands in place. 

Keep the soil’s top layer constantly moist until the plant has roots and becomes anchored. You can do this by misting with a spray bottle. Do not keep the soil wet for longer than necessary, as it could affect the mother plant.  

This method is ideal if you want to fill out the mother plant by adding to it. It takes more time than the other methods and you need to be more hands-on, but the results are ideal. 

Propagating from tubers 

Aerial tubers that form along the strands can be planted in soil to produce new vines. Keep the tubers attached to the vines and press them into the moist soil. In a few weeks, the tubers should start to have roots and you can cut the vine from the mother plant.

Propagating from seeds

You can also propagate these plants using the seeds produced by their flowers, which look like flamingo heads. First, collect the seeds and plant them in moist soil. Keep them in a warm and bright space and ensure that the soil is moist but not damp. After a couple of weeks, you should see new root growth. 

Propagating from a single leaf 

Place the leaf directly into the soil, water or sphagnum moss. Maintain moisture but ensure that the leaf remains dry; it will rot if it is wet for long. The leaf you will use should be a healthy one. 

New roots should appear in a couple of weeks, but the leaf should also be able to produce a tuber. This could take a few months. This method does not have a high success rate, and although a single leaf could produce roots, it may not go beyond that and you might end up with an unhealthy single-leaf plant. 

When is the best time to propagate a string of hearts?

The best time to propagate a string of hearts is during the growing season, which is spring. This will ensure that you will get the most out of your newly propagated plants, although you can propagate them year-round. 

Conclusion 

String of hearts vines are sought-after indoor plants with attractive, variegated leaves. They can be grown near windows where there is bright, indirect light, and thrive in hanging baskets. These beauties, native to Africa, can be propagated using various methods, such as soil, water, or sphagnum moss. Their tubers, seeds and leaves may all be used for propagation.

Image: istockphoto.com / sunabesyou