The beautiful String of Hearts plant, native to South Africa and Zimbabwe, has captured the attention of America and dug its roots straight into our hearts. It loves humidity but can still thrive in drier climates.
Many collectors have at least one String of Hearts plant. Its dark green heart-shaped leaves and silver or pink variegated markings make it a great houseplant to go with almost any decor! It also can produce small pink or purple flowers in the spring and summer, which you can gather seeds from once they mature. The leaves, with their unique shape, are often regarded as a symbol of love and unity. It’s a great addition to any collection at an affordable price.
If you already have one of these beautiful specimens and you want more, save yourself a trip to the gardening center and put those seeds in storage! You can propagate a clone right at home, inside or outdoors.
How To Begin
Before you start, you want to make sure your plant is healthy! This plant is semi-succulent, meaning it’s more tolerant of dry soil than wet. A String of Hearts plant with prevalent root rot or leaf fungus is not likely to do well. Pests like gnats and caterpillars can cause harm and are not likely to go away unless you treat the cause of the problem.
If your vines are falling out of the pot, this means there is a serious overwatering problem. It’s not too late to propagate these fallen soldiers, but you’ll need to fix your watering habits for the stem to root successfully.
The best place to keep this plant is in bright light, with little direct sunlight. Too much light will give your leaves a washed-out appearance. If there are large spaces in between leaves, it is likely your plant is not getting enough light and may need to be moved.
Small pots are the way to go! Too big of a container will inhibit foliage growth, as the roots will expend a lot of that energy trying to fill in the extra space. It’s generally better for the plant to start with a small container and upsize when needed. Make sure you choose quality soil, otherwise your String of Hearts may grow some mushroom friends!
To start, you’ll want to take a few cuttings. The best length to start with is 5-6 inches long. You’ll want to trim just above a leaf node. The general rule of thumb is to only take about one-third of the plant at a time. Taking any more is likely to damage the original plants’ growth. The cutting can be any length of vine or even just a single leaf!
Are There Different Methods To Propagate String Of Hearts?
There are two main ways to propagate, or clone, your plant. One uses soil, the other uses water. Both methods have different levels of success depending on outside influences. If you use the water method, you’ll have to add some sort of fertilizer or root growth inducer, as tap water doesn’t have all the necessary nutrients that your propagation will need to grow larger.
The soil method is the easiest. Simply take a small container, fill it with soil, and insert your propagation cutting! Give it some water and leave it in a bright spot with a little sunlight to grow.
The water method is more attention-demanding. Find a container (preferably glass, so you can see the roots grow) and fill it with water, adding a small amount of fertilizer or root growth as according to instructions. Stick your cutting in the container, using a popsicle stick or toothpick to make sure only the very tip of the stem is submerged under the water. If its leaves touch the water, your cutting will likely start to rot or grow fungus. Change the water daily or every other day, adding fertilizer every other switch. If you neglect this step, your container will start to mold and can produce an unpleasant smell.
How To Propagate Leaves
This is the hardest way of propagating the String of Hearts plant, as their leaves are quick to dry or rot and will take much longer for a proper vine to form. While it is possible, there are precautions you should take to ensure there is a proper environment for growth.
You’ll want to keep a small bit of stem on your leaf for the roots to sprout from. Roots will not sprout from the actual leaf. Water propagation is not recommended for singular leaves. It’s possible, but much less likely to succeed than with soil. If you want to try water propagation, try using the smallest container possible, upgrading in size as the roots start to form.
While using the soil method, you’ll want to check twice a week to make sure the soil is not too dry or wet. Dry soil will suck the moisture from the leaf, and wet soil will make the leaf rot if left for too long. Overwatering is much harder to fix than underwater, so be very conscious of your watering habits.
It can take up to a year for a plant to grow from a single leaf, but don’t let that discourage you! If you can manage to propagate this leaf into a full plant, you earn bragging rights.
Propagating leaves can be fun for children, as every new growth is noticeable and exciting!
How To Propagate Cuttings
This form of propagation has a higher likelihood of success. You’ll want to cut just above a leaf node, where a new leaf is forming, for the original plant to maintain a healthy and full appearance. You can cut any length of vine, trimming off leaves 2-3 inches from where you want the root to form. Roots are more likely to sprout from the area you trim.
Bury your stem in soil or dip it lightly in your water propagation container, using a popsicle stick and a twist tie to keep the rest of the plant from touching the water. Check back every other day to see if it needs more water or if it’s getting too much sun. Don’t get concerned if it whithers within the first couple of days! It is just getting used to its new surroundings. It’s not a concern unless it starts changing colors, which is a clear sign that the cutting is dying.
Keep in mind that cuttings larger than six inches may start to die. If this starts to happen, simply cut all the dead and dying pieces off of the end of the vine and wait for improvement. It’s possible the cutting is just too big. If there is no improvement, there may be another part of the environment that is affecting your propagation, and you may need to move it to a more suitable area or change your watering habits.
It’s also possible to start propagations in the same pot and soil as the original String of Hearts plant to make the plant look more full in appearance or fill in black spaces.
How Long Will It Take To Grow A Full Plant?
It can take anywhere from two weeks to two months for the roots to take hold. During this time, your plant will not grow and may shrink a little as it conserves energy. You’ll want to re-pot your plant for the first time after the two-month period is up into a container that’s only slightly bigger, to allow the roots to stretch out while still maintaining foliage growth.
This species is typically very fast-growing. If your String of Hearts plant doesn’t seem to be growing after its roots have taken hold, or the leaves are turning yellow, it’s time to try something different. Try giving it less water, or switch it to a pot with better drainage. Tangled vines can also cause issues, so always make sure your plant is tangle-free!
Your String of Hearts will grow faster if it’s in a proper environment with 50% humidity and lots of ambient bright light. It will grow faster as a hanging plant, but can also be trained to climb up trellis or fences. If your leaves are not the color you desire, play around with the sunlight. Experiment and see for yourself how the amount of light is affecting the leaf color. If you have a bathroom that gets a lot of light, this plant will love the humidity from baths and showers!
If you already have a String of Hearts laying around your house, feel free to try propagating using either of these methods! You can even sell your propagations on Etsy, Amazon, or even your local farmers market for a little extra income. These methods will work with pretty much every plant out there, even the more expensive ones, so if you don’t have a String of Hearts give it a go on your Coleus or Monstera. There’s absolutely nothing more satisfying than watching a brand new plant come to life, especially when you don’t have to pay for it!