Hearts and Flowers (Aptenia cordifolia) is a fast growing, perennial succulent commonly used as a ground cover. This sprawling plant forms a dense mat that spreads in 3-foot wide clumps reaching a height of 6 to 12 inches. It has medium green, heart-shaped leaves and small, magenta pink to reddish-purple, button-like flowers with yellow centers. The ½ inch wide flowers bloom from early spring until summer. The blossoms attract bees, opening during the daylight hours and closing at night. The variety Aptenia 'Red Apple' has red flowers, bright green leaves and is a much faster and more vigorous growing plant. Use Hearts and Flowers as a ground cover, in rock gardens, on banks, cascading from retaining walls, in containers or hanging baskets.
Hearts and Flowers is easily grown from seed or cuttings. This plant can be divided, and runners can be planted directly in the ground. It grows in almost any type of soil, but it requires excellent drainage. Plant Hearts and Flowers in partial shade or filtered sun locations. It can grow in direct sunlight but will become stressed when completely exposed to the summer sun in Arizona. Hearts and Flowers will need regular watering during the hot summer months. Be careful not to overwater it. Allow the soil to completely dry out between irrigations. Once it is established, rainfall should be sufficient through the spring and the fall. Although Hearts and Flowers can grow in nutrient-poor conditions, it will benefit from two or three light fertilizations per year using ammonium phosphate.