Plant in Focus: Ceropegia woodii

Originating from South Africa and most commonly known as Chain of Hearts, Ceopegia woodii is a tuberous rooted plant with delicate trailing stems and dainty heart-shaped leaves splattered with slivery marbled markings.  When this succulent flowers, it forms pinky flowers shaped like lanterns.  Its stems can grow to around 50-60cm long, making it perfect to place high up on a shelf, or to dangle from macrame hangers.  Species of Ceropegia form similar tangling stems, whilst others such as Ceropegia fusca have more rigid, pencil-like stems.   


Prefers its roots to be kept shaded whilst the stems and leaves like to be in full light.  Therefore, being positioned on a high shelf next to a window would be a suitable spot for this plant to survive.  

This plant is happier in warmer temperatures, but can tolerate temperatures down to 4C.  Ensure it gets plenty of fresh air during the spring and summer.

Like most plants, Chain of hearts doesn't like to be sat in soggy soil, so use a free draining potting mix.  During spring and summer water around once every two weeks.  However, during particularly hotter periods, this plant can need to be watered up to once a week.  Reduce watering during autumn and leave dry over winter. 

During the spring and summer months feed once a month with a diluted houseplant fertiliser.

Repot during spring into the next size pot until 15cm diameter is reached.  Once at this size you can remove the existing soil and replace with a fresh, free draining potting mix. 

This can be done by rooting stem cuttings in water before potting on.  Or you can layer the stems onto moist soil so to encourage new tubers to form where the stems touch the soil.  


What goes wrong

Leaves turn brown and crispy, then fall off.
Ensure fresh air in summer

Leaves lose colour, large spaces between leaves and doesn't flower.
Plant isn't receiving enough light.  Gradually move to a brighter spot over the course of two weeks.

Little growth.
Tubers are in too much light or root mealy bug.
Check plant's conditions.  If there's white woolly patches on the roots swirl them in insecticide or rubbing alcohol and allow to air dry to 2-3 days before repotting into a fresh potting mix.  Do not water for two weeks.

Limp leaves that dry up and fall off.
Too dry.  Soak the plant in water for up to an hour, drain and then increase the regularity of your watering routine.