String of Hearts
this genus includes about a hundred plants, most of which succulent, originating in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Canary Islands; the native species of the Canaries are very branched small shrubs, all the others are climbers or ground cover. They consist of thin stems, green, brown, or blue-greyish, which bear leaves of various sizes, sometimes evergreen, sometimes deciduous, with a rounded or heart-shaped shape.
In spring-summer they produce bizarre flowers, single or united in umbrella-shaped inflorescences, of white, pink, red, or purple color, often variegated; they have a very elongated shape and five-lobed petals; in some species the petals are gathered at the tips, to form a sort of cage. Some species develop large fleshy tubers, which produce numerous basal shoots, from which new plants develop. These succulents are generally grown more for the particular flowering than for the plants themselves.
How to take care of Ceropegia woodii :
place the ceropegias in a very bright place, in full or partial sun; they fear the cold, therefore in winter they should be kept indoors or in a temperate greenhouse, taking care that the temperature never drops below 10-15 ° C.
from March to October water regularly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between one watering and the next; in the cold months water rarely, vaporizing the plant from time to time. During the vegetative period it is good to vaporize the leaves with demineralized water, in the coolest hours of the day; it is advisable to provide fertilizer for succulent plants every 15-20 days.
these plants love loose and well-drained soils, rich in organic matter: use a mixture consisting of sand, peat and balanced soil in equal parts, to which to add pieces of bark or perlite to lighten it. The ceropegias develop quite vigorously, it is therefore advisable to repot them every 2-3 years; the tuberous species must be buried leaving the upper part of the tubers exposed to the air.
How to propagate Ceropegia woodii :
it generally occurs by cutting, small portions of the younger stems must be rooted in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts; the species with tuberous roots can also be propagated by dividing the root tufts; both of the above operations must be carried out in early spring.
Ceropegia woodii: Pests and diseases
the ceropegias are often subject to root rot; sometimes they can be attacked by mites or aphids.