Widely loved for its trailing vines and succulent leaves, Dischidia nummularia variegata will add a whimsical touch to your indoors!
Native to the tropics of Southern China and Asia, Dischidia nummularia variegata is a beautiful houseplant prized for its unique foliage and trailing habit. If you are looking for an easy-care houseplant to liven the compact corners of your home, this Variegated String of Nickels Care Guide will help you with just that!
- Botanical Name: Dischidia nummularia variegata
- Popular as—String of Nickels, Button Orchid
- Thrives in a temperature range of 60-85 F or 15-29 C
- Loves bright, dappled sunlight
- Toxic to humans and pets
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Dischidia nummularia variegata Plant Profile
Member of the Apocynaceae family, Dischidia nummularia variegata, also known as Variegated String of Nickels or Button Orchid, is a small, epiphytic vine featuring small, oval, succulent leaves, variegated in green, pale yellow, and white. Its leaves grow along thin, cascading stems, creating a dense, trailing effect that makes it an ideal choice for hanging baskets or as a tabletop accent.
Apart from the attractive variegation, the plant produces small, white, star-shaped flowers that mist the air with a sweet fragrance in the spring and summer.
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Ideal Pot Size
The ideal pot size for a houseplant depends on the plant’s root ball—always pick a pot that is one size bigger than the plant’s root ball so the roots get enough space to breathe without pooling excess water in the bottom. A 4-6 inches pot is good enough for a young Dischidia nummularia variegata. Ensure to drill enough holes at the bottom of the pot to aid proper drainage.
You may need to repot the plant to a 1-2 size bigger pot when you see roots coming out of the drainage holes.
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Propagating Dischidia nummularia variegata
The easiest ways to propagate this epiphytic succulent are through stem cuttings and layering.
Propagation via Stem Cuttings
- Find a disease-free, healthy plant and select a robust stem with several leaves.
- Cut the stem just below a leaf node using a clean and sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears.
- Remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving only a few at the top.
- Dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone powder.
- Plant the stem cutting in a pot filled with a well-draining potting mix.
- Water the medium lightly and cover it with a plastic bag to create retain humidity.
Keep the medium moist and place it under bright, indirect sunlight. The cutting will root in a few weeks.
Propagation via Layering
- Select a healthy stem that is long enough to be bent down to the soil.
- Choose a spot on the stem, about 4-6 inches away from the tip, and remove the leaves and aerial roots from that section.
- Dust the area where the leaves and roots were removed with rooting hormone powder.
- Dig a shallow hole in the medium where the stem will be placed.
- Bend the stem down and secure it in the hole using a U-shaped pin or wire.
- Cover the stem with medium, leaving the tip with some leaves above the soil level.
Keep the medium moist and maintain humidity around the area. Wait for new roots to form on the buried section of the stem, which can take a few weeks. Once the roots have developed, separate the stem from the parent plant and transplant the baby plant to a new pot with fresh potting mix.
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Requirements for Growing Dischidia nummularia variegata
Dischidia nummularia variegata thrives in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch its leaves and cause discoloration, so it is best to position the plant near an east or west-facing window where it can bask in a few hours of bright morning sunlight, keeping the intense afternoon sun away.
If natural light is limited, using artificial grow lights can help maintain optimal growth and encourage the plant’s variegated patterns to remain vibrant.
As an epiphytic plant, Dischidia nummularia variegata requires well-draining soil to mimic its natural habitat. A mix of orchid bark, perlite, and peat moss or coconut coir provides an ideal environment for its roots. The soil should be light and airy, allowing for proper oxygenation and preventing root rot.
Do not use a contaminated medium; if that is all you have, ensure to amend it with enough sand and perlite to make a coarse texture.
Dischidia nummularia variegata has moderate water requirements, preferring its soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s important to use the “soak and dry” method, thoroughly wetting the soil and allowing it to dry before watering again.
This epiphytic succulent is somewhat drought-tolerant, but prolonged periods without water will cause leaf drop. Reduce the watering frequency during winter months as the plant enters dormancy to prevent salt burn in the medium.
Temperature & Humidity
Variegated String of Nickels prefers temperatures ranging from 60-85°F (15-29°C) for optimal growth. It can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures but should be protected from drafts and sudden temperature fluctuations. Dischidia nummularia variegata is not frost-tolerant, and if exposed to freezing temperatures, it can suffer irreparable damage. If your place receives temperatures below 50 F or 10 C, keep it away from glass windows and expose it to heat lamps to induce some warmth.
Native to the tropics, the String of Nickels Plant thrives in moderate to high humidity, with ideal levels between 50-70%. If your indoor environment is too dry, use a humidifier or place the plant on a tray with water and pebbles, ensuring that the pot doesn’t sit directly in the water. Misting the plant occasionally with tepid water also helps.
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Dischidia nummularia variegata Care
Dischidia nummularia variegata does not require frequent fertilization, but you can feed it once a month during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Fertilize the plant with a general-purpose 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 blend every 4-6 weeks in summer and spring after diluting it to half its strength.
Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can cause leaf burn. Also, hold on to fertilization during the plant’s dormancy in the colder months. .
Pests and Diseases
The String of Nickels Plant is relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but it can still be affected by common houseplant issues such as mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. Regularly inspect the plant and treat any infestations with insecticidal soap or neem oil spray.
Keep the plant well-ventilated and avoid overwatering at all costs to keep potential issues at bay.