4 Heart-Shaped Houseplants for Valentine’s Day
Lasting much longer than cut flowers, houseplants are the Valentine gift that keeps on living. Michael Lanier, owner of Pueblo Life plant shop (pueblo.life), shares his favorites.
By Lori A. Johnson
String of Hearts
• Succulentlike vine • Tiny purple-brown flowers; late summer • Climbs or trails up to 12′ H by 4″-8″ W • Well-drained sandy soil • Indirect bright light • Low water; easy maintenance
Also known as sweetheart vine, this South African native is delicate in appearance but hardy with tough, wiry stems and thick leaves. Good for novices, this distinctive houseplant is low-maintenance and low-light-tolerant. To avoid rot, allow the soil to dry thoroughly between waterings.
WHY WE LIKE IT: String of hearts gets its name from its heart-shaped leaves spaced evenly along a vine, resembling a beaded rosary. In between, tiny beadlike structures called tubercles form after the plant produces tiny, tubular purple flowers. This trailing vine is ideal in hanging baskets.
• Herbaceous perennial • Red spathes in lieu of flowers; year-round • 12″-18″H by 8″-12″W • Well-drained potting soil • Indirect bright light • Medium water
Technically, the anthurium’s bright red heart-shaped “blooms” are not flowers, but waxy leaves called “spathes.” Known for helping purify indoor air, these plants prefer a relatively moist environment. Anthuriums can also be used in cut flower arrangements.
WHY WE LIKE IT: This is a sturdy plant with stunning leaves and large waxy spathes in shades of bright red, green, purple, orange, white and more. Lanier recommends the lipstick-red leaves of A. andreanum, which make a dramatic statement and are a unique alternative to the more typical gift of red Valentine’s Day roses.
• Succulent vine • White flower clusters; occasional • Size varies • Well-drained soil • Indirect bright light • Low water
Often called a wax plant, hoyas are slow-growing succulents with shiny or fuzzy leaves on long stems, making them ideal for hanging baskets or tall pots. They can go a few weeks between waterings and grow well in a variety of conditions, but flower best under bright filtered light.
WHY WE LIKE IT: “A genus with many species, hoyas are prized for their ability to thrive on neglect,” says Lanier. “They produce subtle blooms, and their leaves come in all shapes and sizes.” Around Valentine’s Day, the sweetheart hoya is often sold as a single heart-shaped cutting, making it a perfect gift that may eventually produce clusters of tiny white-and-red flowers.
Swiss Cheese Plant
• Climbing evergreen • Creamy white spathes in lieu of flowers • 2′-10’H by 2-4’W • Peat-based potting soil, well-drained • Indirect bright light • Medium water
Indoors, a monstera can reach a height of up to 10 feet. The plant may produce white flowerlike spathes, followed by edible white fruit as long as 10 inches. This vining species requires plenty of space for its huge, trailing leaves to stretch out and may need a trellis for extra support.
WHY WE LIKE IT: According to Lanier, this popular houseplant is perfectly suited for beginners. “Monstera are easy-going plants that make a dramatic statement, are hard to kill and thrive in almost any situation,” he says. The name “Swiss cheese plant” derives from monstera’s huge heart-shaped leaves that develop holes as they mature. Note that monstera may be toxic to pets.