String of Hearts
String of hearts (Ceropegia woodii) is an indigenous evergreen, trailing vine with opposite pairs of dainty heart-shaped dark-green leaves marbled in white or silver on top, with dusky pink or purple undersides.
Small, pinkish, tube-shaped flowers with fused dark maroon petal tips appear sporadically throughout the year. These specialised trap-like flowers, which have an intricate internal structure and minute hairs, can temporarily imprison possible pollinators, like small flies, inside them for some time. The other curiosity of this attractive little trailing plant, which looks great in a small hanging basket, is that it can produce aerial tuberous growths along the stem nodes that, if in touch with soil, will sprout roots and stems. It is a succulent-type of trailing groundcover endemic to the warm, temperate regions of South Africa, Eswatini (Swaziland) and Zimbabwe, where it can be found in shallow soil between rocky patches within indigenous forests.
This is an easy-to-grow and tough little plant to keep indoors, provided it is kept in ample light. In fact, it would love a daily glow of 3 – 4 hours of direct sunlight shining through a window. Watering should be frugal and only when the top layer of the soil feels dry. A perfect soil medium for it would be a growing medium suitable for succulents. Feed mature plants in the spring and summer months with a water-soluble fertiliser mixed at half strength.
Trouble-shooting your string of hearts:
- If leaf colour fades to just green and the spaces between leaf internodes are increasing, causing the plant to look sparse, it means the light intensity might be too low
- Over-watering can cause the underground tuberous root system to rot, leading to the demise of the plant.