Flowers are traditional for Valentine’s Day, but a houseplant lasts longer and is a gift that fits many situations—friend, child, parent or significant other. String of hearts seems like the perfect houseplant for Valentine’s Day. Officially, the plant is Ceropegia woodii, one of more than 60 species of Ceropegia. Most are native to South Africa, Madagascar or the Canary Islands where they climbs over other plants.
In addition to string of hearts, the plant is commonly called bushman’s pipevine, parachute flower, necklace vine and rosary vine. The common names generally refer to the stretch of stem between leaves. The plant has a vining habit and it can grow rapidly. As a houseplant, it will tumble over the edge of its pot, sometimes growing several feet long. It looks good as a hanging plant or one that falls over the edge of a shelf. Its blooms are small, magenta and tubular in shape. With some fertilizing spring through fall, it will produce blooms indoors.
String of hearts is a succulent, so it does not like too much water. Be sure to let the plant dry out completely between watering sessions as it is much easier to over-water this plant rather than underwater it. Signs of over-watering include yellowing leaves or leaves falling off the plant.
It grows best in a well-draining soil mix in bright indirect light. This plant can take a fair amount of light, though too much direct light can scorch the leaves. For best results, place string of hearts a few feet from a southern or eastern window. (Remember, this is a tropical plant, so you don’t want it too close to a cold window in winter.) Rotate the plant from time to time to ensure even growth.
For fertilizer, give the plant a dose of houseplant food (follow directions on the bottle) about once a month from March through September. No fertilizer is necessary in the winter months. You can bring this plant outside for summer. However, you will need to transition it carefully into the bright outdoors sun so its leaves don’t get scorched. Bring it back indoors before the first frost.
Other Valentine’s Day Plants?
For a houseplant newbie, you may want to consider one of the five easy houseplants we recommended in 2019. Or, maybe a string of pearls plant for a jewelry reference? The options for thoughtful houseplant gifts are endless.