Chain of hearts is a succulent-like trailing vine from the southern parts of Africa. If left to grow, the vines can reach metres in length covered in small heart-shaped green and silver leaves. Perfect in a hanging pot or on a high shelf. In Spring/Summer it becomes covered in small pink trumpet-shaped flowers.
There are only two different varieties available. The common type has a green and silver leaf surface and purple underneath. The variegated version is much less common. It’s similar but with pale pink and yellow on the outer edges of the leaves. Because of the unique colours and popularity the variegated chain of hearts can be much more expensive and harder to find.
Chain of hearts is very easy to care for. Being very adaptable to light and tolerance for no water makes it one of the great indoor plants for beginners. Bright light and infrequent waterings are key for a healthy plant. Another benefit is that the chain of hearts doesn’t need a big pot or to be repotted often due to the small root structure.
1. Light -
Chain of hearts are very versatile in terms of light requirements, being able to grow in both dark and light conditions. For best growth however, a chain of hearts likes bright indirect light, some direct light in the morning is okay. You can also achieve this by using LED Grow Lights. Bright indirect sunlight will encourage faster growth and healthier colourful leaves. You can usually tell when it doesn't recieve enough light as the stems will become elongated and the leaves will be smaller and pale.
2. Temperature -
Chain of hearts prefer warmer areas but this is not necessary. However, they should be protected from very low temperatures and draughts.
3. Humidity -
No special requirements for humidity are needed, they will grow in standard home humidity.
4. Water -
Chain of hearts does not require frequent waterings. It is a succulent-like plant that has adapted to dry conditions, with swollen tubers in the soil which retain a lot of water and nutrients. Let the soil dry out completely before watering again. In Summer if it’s hot and getting a lot of light it will need watering more often, once a week depending on the size of the plant and pot. In Winter the growth is slow and the temperature drops so water sparingly, once every fortnight. Chain of hearts is prone to rotting so if in doubt leave it for another week, it's very hard to kill from not enough water. Make sure the soil is well draining.
5. Soil -
Chain of Hearts requires a well-draining and aerated soil which is very important for the health of the plant. You can either buy pre-made bags of soil or make your own mix with things such as potting mix, sphagnum moss and perlite. Good drainage helps prevent rot as the plant already has adapted to periods without water.
6. Repotting -
Although Chain of Hearts can grow relatively quickly, you do not need to repot it often as it has shallow roots. It is not necessary to change the pot or soil and your plant can be just as happy left in the same pot for several years provided you take good care of it.
7. Fertiliser -
Regular fertiliser keeps the leaves, roots, and growth healthy and colourful. It is recommended to fertilise every month depending on the growth rate. Small plants in smaller pots don’t need as much fertiliser, same as in Winter when growth is lower. A combination of liquid and slow-release fertiliser will ensure a strong beautiful plant.
8. Maintenance -
This plant is low maintenance as it doesn't need to be repotted or trimmed regularly.
How to propagate Chain of Hearts
Chain of Hearts is a relatively easy plant to propagate. Its ability to propagate quickly and ease comes from how it has adapted to living in the rainforest. There are three methods for propagation which are both extremely easy and usually have very high success rates.
9. Cuttings in soil -
Simply place cuttings in a pot full of soil. Keep moist and roots will start to grow shortly from the nodes. Sometimes it can take a while to get started but will grow quickly once it has. Once the roots are established you can transplant them into larger pots or separate them out into multiple pots.
10. Cuttings in water -
This is the easiest way to propagate Chain of Hearts: simply place cuttings in a jar of clean water or in propagation stations and leave in a warm bright area. Keep the water topped up and change for fresh water each week. Roots will grow quickly and can be transferred to soil once they are big enough. This is sometimes a preferred method for some as you can see the root progress.
11. Layering in soil -
This is when you place a stem (which is still attached to the plant as opposed to a cutting) in a pot on soil. Once the vines have grown new roots you can cut the vines and end up with two separate plants. This sometimes has a higher success rate as the ‘cutting’ receives nutrients from the mother plant until it is cut.
12. Tubers -
Chain of hearts will sometimes grow tubers on the vines which can be cut and placed in soil to grow a new plant.