Hearts remind us of love and life itself. It is said that your home is where your heart is. If you are at home in your garden, having a few plants that look like hearts just seems natural. There are many plants with heart shapes to choose from. Whether you love indoor plants or your heart lies in an outdoor garden, nature has provided an option to suit you.
Nature is so versatile. You can find heart shapes in many aspects of a plant. Leaves could be heart-shaped, or flowers can look like hearts. You may have seeds in the shape of a heart or seed pods with a heart shape. The plants may be creeper vines, tropical plants, or succulents. Hearts are everywhere in nature. Including them in your home or garden brings more love into your growing spaces.
Some heart-shaped seeds are easy to grow in your garden, and others, like monkey ladder vine, may grow in tropical areas. That does not mean you may not find one of these two-inch-sized hearts washed up on a beach. These sea hearts can remain buoyant for two years and can travel thousands of miles in that time.
Let’s look at some lovely hearts to plant in your home or garden.
1. Alpine Violets
Alpine violets are often called by their genus, Cyclamen or Persian violets. The best-known variety is Cyclamen persicum which is sometimes called florist’s Cyclamen. These plants are native to Europe and the Middle East. The Alpine violets have beautiful flowers that are usually white, red, purple, or pink. The leaves are no less attractive, though.
The leaves of Alpine violets are heart-shaped and are a rich green color with white or silver-colored patterns. The leaves look like lace-covered hearts. Some varieties have smooth edges while others are toothed, but the heart shape is constant. Alpine violets are perennial plants that die down during summer and grow back in fall.
Alpine violets are best grown indoors or in shady, cool areas outdoors. In colder climates, they may not go dormant altogether in summer. Winter is when Alpine violets bloom and require more water and sunlight during this period. Remember not to overwater an Alpine violet to ensure your plant lives for many years.
Heart-seed vine (Cardiospermum halicacabum) is also called love in a puff vine or balloon vine. All these names describe the heart-seed vine well. The seeds of this vine are black, and each one has a perfect white heart imprint on them. Heart-seed vine is native to tropical and subtropical areas of North America, Africa, and Australia.
Heart-seed is a perennial creeper that can grow thirty feet long with bright green pinnate leaves all along the vine. The heart seed flowers are small and white. They give way to balloon-shaped capsules or fruit. The balloons are initially green but mature into orange or brown colored capsules, each containing three seeds with a perfect heart imprint.
Heart-seed vine is ideal for covering a trellis and will grow all year round in warmer climates. In more temperate regions, heart seed is a fast-growing annual plant. It is considered a weed in some states, so you may be unable to plant it in some areas. Many also deem heart-seed vine a health-giving medicine, relieving rheumatism and eczema.
3. Bleeding Heart Flower
The bleeding heart flower (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) also has monikers like fallopian buds, Asian bleeding heart, Lyre flower, and lady-in-a-bath. Each bleeding heart flower looks like a heart with a drop falling from it. These delicate flowers belong to the Papaveraceae family and are native to Siberia, Korea, Japan, and China.
The bleeding heart flowers are produced on a long bough-shaped branch and are arranged side by side on the branch. A row of about twenty hearts is formed as a display on each such bough. Many flower stems are produced to form a beautiful display of pink and white flowers on these forty-inch-high shrubs. This display lasts several weeks until the weather gets too warm for bleeding hearts.
Bleeding heart plants are cool weather and shade-loving plants. After flowering in spring, bleeding hearts die back, to appear again in fall. If you would like to give bleeding heart plants as a gift, you can propagate them from seed. Bleeding heart plants can also be divided in spring, or you can root stem cuttings to produce a heartwarming gift.
4. Button Plants
Button plants (Conophytum frutescens) are also called cone plants or dumplings. These tiny succulents are formed from two merged leaves that form a heart shape. A bright yellow, pale pink, or white, fragrant flower is produced in the center of the merged leaf in fall. Button plants are native to parts of South Africa with low rainfall, like Namaqua and the Northern Cape.
The heart-shaped button plant grows actively and flowers during rainfall periods and becomes dormant during dry, hot summer months. The plant bodies grow less than two inches tall and about two inches wide. Growing these heart-shaped plants indoors requires well-drained soil. Take care not to overwater button plants.
Button plants reproduce from seed or by division when a second leaf body is produced adjacent to the original plant. Button plants can form multiple new leaves after the rainy season to form a colony of plants. Button plants grow very slowly. Fifty-year-old plants of some button plant varieties may be no larger than a walnut.
5. Sweetheart Hoya
The sweetheart hoya plant (Hoya kerrii) is also called a valentine hoya or a heart leaf hoya. As the name indicates, the leaf of this plant resembles a heart. Many fleshy leaves with a waxy texture fill the vine of this epiphyte plant. Hoya plants belong to the Apocynaceae family, and the sweetheart hoya is native to Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Java.
Sweetheart hoya plants can grow to be vines that exceed ten feet. Hoya plants trail, so sweetheart hoyas need the support of a trellis or tree. They also grow well from a hanging pot. In addition to the beautiful, shiny heart-shaped leaves, sweetheart hoyas produce clusters of velvety white flowers with a brown waxy center. Sweetheart hoyas’ flowers are fragrant, unusual, and long-lived.
Be sure not to overwater a sweetheart hoya plant. Sweetheart hoyas are not succulents, but the care is similar. Hoyas can be propagated from a leaf cutting which needs to include a node from the mother plant. Stem cuttings or air layering are additional ways to propagate these beautiful plants. Sweetheart hoyas are no one-night stand. They require a long-term relationship, as they are slow growers.
6. Shepherd’s Purse
Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) is a member of the Brassicaceae family. These plants have dainty heart-shaped seed pods. These heart-shaped seedpods are likened to purses. The shepherd’s purse plant is native to Asia Minor and Europe but has been naturalized throughout the British Isles, North America, the Mediterranean, and Africa.
Shepherd’s purse plants are low-growing plants that start out as rosettes of lobed leaves. These are followed by a flower stem that bears tiny white flowers. As the flowers produce the heart-shaped purses, the stem grows upward to produce more flowers. Shepherd’s purse is viewed as a weed, but it is functional in the garden as a food source for pollinators in the cold seasons.
Shepherd’s purse also promotes soil health by trapping and killing nematodes. If shepherd’s purse seeds are added to water where mosquitos are a known problem, they emit s substance that is toxic to the larvae. The seeds also bind to the mouth parts of the mosquito. Shepherd’s purse is a wild edible green and is also used medicinally to help bleeding conditions related to the bladder and kidneys.