The Variegated String of Hearts is a lovely hanging plant marked by its fantastic combination of colors in the leaves. The colors range from dark green with variegated silver patterns or cream-pink and heart-shaped green leaves.
There are three choices of planting this beauty – water, soil, or tuber. Then it needs lots of light, water, humidity, temperature, pruning, and fertilizer for good growth and maintenance.
How to Plant Variegated String of Hearts
The best way to plant a string of hearts is through propagation, and it is relatively easy to do. The process of propagation is simply taking a part of a mother plant and grow them separately.
It could be that you want another set of strings of hearts, or your old String of Hearts has grown big enough, and they have to be propagated. Whatever the case, propagating them has a higher chance of prolonging presence in your place.
In this case, there are three steps on how to propagate a string of hearts, and we will discuss them individually.
1. Water Propagation Method
The easiest and popular method of propagation is the water method. You only need three essential materials: scissors, a vase, and water.
Start by cutting the vines from the mother plant that you want to root and make sure the mother plant is mature and healthy. Put the cuttings inside the vase with water, and the rest is a waiting game.
Place the vase in a warm area with enough access to sunlight to encourage the root to grow quicker.
Take note, the growth of the roots depends on the temperature and light they receive, so you should set them under the right conditions. When achieved, sources will most likely appear after a couple of days. You can then start planting them in individual pots.
2. Soil Propagation Method
The alternative method to the water method is this one, and the materials need are different because you have to use a pot and potting soil this time. Begin by cutting the vines from a healthy and matured mother plant.
Once you have your cuttings, remove some leaves from the base to expose the stem which will be planted in the soil. Place the vines into the soil and make sure that the nodes are completely covered in soil otherwise, the roots will not grow.
Place the pot in a well-lighted and aerated area to encourage root growth quicker. Water the soil with just enough amount to moisten the earth, not waterlogged it. Do this once every week, and you shall notice roots growing underneath.
3. Tuber Propagation Method
This method is perhaps the uncommon one but can still do the job nonetheless. For this method, you need to have the biggest tuber possible. In that case, the only material you need, at first, is a big tuber that is right about the size of a fingernail.
Once you have it, place the tuber on the vine and press it into the soil where the mother plant is planted to encourage root growth.
After the roots have grown, that is the time you need a scissor to cut the rooted vines from the mother plant. Prepare your pot and potting soil for the newly cut vines to grow.
For a one-way process, you can cut the vines with a tuber and stick them to a different pot using a soil mix and wait for them to grow roots. Just keep them in a bright area and enough amount of water every week, and they will probably develop roots right away.
How To Care For Variegated String of Hearts
When growing a variegated string of hearts, there are things that you have to know to sustain the plant. The general care for a string of hearts is as follows:
1. Light and Temperature
A string of hearts is like a succulent because of their love for heat and bright light except that this plant cannot tolerate direct sunlight, unlike most succulents do.
When grown indoors, place them in a south or west-facing window because this is where bright lights are entering. Keep the temperature at about 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and reduce it to 60 degrees Fahrenheit during wintertime.
On the other hand, if you grow them outdoors, place them in a bright, shaded area to prevent sunburn.
Rotate the plant from time to time, both indoors and outdoors, to equal the light they receive and make sure all sides of the plants are exposed to sunlight.
Enough amount of lighting they receive will result in their brilliant and fabulous color combination.
Speaking of color, that will be your best indication if the plant is receiving enough sunlight or not. If the plant looks pale and the leaves are wider than usual, that is a sign of underlighting. Immediately transfer them to a bright area to solve this problem.
2. Water Requirements
Since the String of Hearts has attributes like a succulent, they also share the same common enemy which is root rot. This will happen if you put too much water in them leaving them to soak for long periods.
The ideal watering schedule for this plant is once a week or if the soil has dried 2 to 3 inches from the surface. This usually happens in spring or summer because it is their growing season, and the temperature in summer is high.
In the autumn and winter months, most plants, including this one, will go dormant, and you have to cut back the watering schedule every 3 to 4 weeks or whenever the soil has dried out.
An alternative way to water the plants without overwatering them is by watering them from the bottom. You simply place the pot in a container with water and submerge only ¼ of the pot for 10 minutes.
The plant will absorb enough amount of water they needed and allow them to drain for a while before putting them back in their places.
Aside from the dryness of the soil, you will notice if the plant is dehydrated or not through its leaves. If the leaves are firm to the touch, that’s a good sign of hydration.
But if the leaves feel soft and easily bends as you touch them, it is a sign that they need a good amount of water.
If the plant is overwatered, the leaves will start to shed or turn yellow, brown, or black simultaneously while feeling soft and mushy. To solve this, pause the watering for some time until the soil has dried out.
If the water takes too much time to dry out, it means the soil is already in poor quality or the draining system is weak; hence you have to repot them
A String of Hearts can tolerate drier areas because it has succulent qualities. However, it is best to keep them in a place with 40 to 50 per cent humidity just to keep them happy and healthy.
A string of Hearts is not demanding when it comes to fertilizer. They only need infrequent fertilizers and half-diluted fertilizers once a month during their active growth period which takes place from May to August.
Cut the fertilizer during the winter season because they are in a state of dormancy during this period, and applying fertilizer may burn their roots.
For some reason, you want to re-pot your string of hearts and the perfect time to do it is during summer because this is the time that they are actively growing thus you will minimize the risks of killing the plant.
Prepare your new pot with well-draining soil and gently plant the string of hearts in the soil. Water lightly to prevent root rot.
Pruning your String of Hearts will help them look fuller and bushier, so you have to get your hands on this process. You have to remember that pruning them is not a requirement unless they become leggy and the colors are starting to fade.
Pruning will help to revive the plant to make them healthy and restore the bright colors of the leaves.
Start by cutting one or more grown vines from the mother plant using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors. Cut the vines under one of the nodes in the stem because you can still use the cuttings for propagation.
You may use either of the three propagation methods and wait for them to grow to full size.
How To Maintain String of Hearts
In general, a String of Hearts doesn’t need that much maintenance as long as they are receiving the right treatment they deserve. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to discuss some additional insights on how you can improve growing your string of hearts.
Typically, a String of Hearts can be grown indoors or outdoors, and so we will discuss these situations separately.
1. Maintaining String of Hearts Outdoors
Usually, String of Hearts can be grown outdoors and planted on the ground to sprawl over, acting like a ground cover or for cascading down walls.
If you live in USDA zones 10 and above or where the temperature is constantly maintained at 60 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, you can grow them outside all year long.
Otherwise, you should plant them in a pot or container so you can easily transfer them when temperatures start to drop.
2. Maintaining String of Hearts Indoors
The only thing to remember when growing them indoors is the lighting they receive. If they receive inadequate lighting, they will look pale, and the leaves are wider than normal.
Also, they will become overwatered because the lack of exposure to sunlight makes it hard for the water to evaporate in the soil.
When you want to move the plant from indoor to outdoor, you should acclimate the plant to prevent shock and sunburn. They should receive at least 3 to 4 hours of bright indirect sunlight and some shade in the afternoon every day.
This plant can grow up to 2 to 3 inches tall, and its purple stem can reach up to 3 to 9 feet long. Hence, you have to plant them in relatively high places just to give them enough room to grow.
They are native to South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe, but they are now famous all over the world and have captured the hearts of many collectors.
Indeed, the String of Hearts is breathtaking to watch their stems accompanied by lovely heart-shaped leaves flow like a waterfall from above.