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How to Grow Dischidia Nummularia or String of Nickels

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If you are looking for a unique and unusual houseplant, Dischidia nummularia, or String of Nickels, is it! Is it becoming more and more popular but is still hard to find. If you can get your hands on it, it makes for a fabulous houseplant! Let me show you how I can for my Dischidia nummularia.

Dischidia nummularia gets its common name, String of Nickels, because it looks like long strings of coins.

Dischidia Nummularia Care

These plants are a little different than many of your houseplants so it is critical that you know a few very important things about how to grow Dischidia nummularia.

Keep reading and I will describe some very important care tips so you can ensure success!

Potting Mix

For one, these plants are epiphytes, which means that they grow on trees in nature. Because of this, you should never plant Dischidia nummularia in normal potting soil!

They are normally found growing in masses on branches in trees and are native to areas including India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, and other surrounding areas. As houseplants, they are normally grown in hanging baskets.

Similar to most orchids, like any epiphyte, you should grow your Dischidia nummularia in a chunky and extremely well drained potting mix. You can use a variety of potting mixes, such as a good orchid mix.

I grow my own Dischidia nummularia in coco husk chips. Coco husk chips are made from coconut shells.

If you use a standard potting soil, it will hold too much water and compact too much. This will spell death for any epiphyte.

I chose to use coco husk chips for my own plant since this is what is traditionally used by growers. And it is thriving!

One tip from a grower in Singapore is the following. He advises to mix some sphagnum moss into the coco husk chunks. This will help retain moisture. If Dischidia dries out too much, it may stunt the growth.

Of course this all depends on your watering habits and environmental conditions, but it is something to consider!

Eventually the potting mix will break down, so keep an eye on this and change it out when that happens.

If the potting mix breaks down, whether you are using coco husk chips or an orchid potting mix, the roots will not receive the oxygen that they need (being epiphytes) and your plant will die.

Watering

Dischidia nummularia likes to dry out a bit in between watering, but try and avoid letting it completely dry out. If you let it dry out too much, the leaves and stems will shrivel.

Since this plant is grown in very chunky potting mixes, like coco husk chips, the drainage will be very sharp. As a result, you should take special care when you water this plant.

Water will go straight through very quickly when you use chunky mixes for epiphytes, so be sure to thoroughly moisten the potting mix. Circle your watering can over the entire surface of the pot.

And under no circumstances should you be growing this plant in a pot without a drainage hole. This will spell death for any epiphyte!

Light

Dischidia prefers filtered sunlight, or at the bare minimum, bright indirect light. Some direct sun is perfectly fine. But take care not to place this plant in a location that has too many hours of direct sun.

My own plant is growing near an east window so it will get some morning sun.

In the summer, I like to place my plant outdoors where I hang it from my pergola. It is mostly shaded, but also received filtered sun.

It absolutely thrives outdoors from the rain, increased air circulation, and humidity that all epiphytes love.

Misting Dischidia

I like to frequently mist my Dischidia nummularia. Not for the humidity (if you follow my blog, you know how I feel about humidity!)

I mist my plant indoors mainly because it is an epiphyte and it helps provide some moisture. When my plant is outdoors, I don’t bother because of the higher humidity in the air and rain.

Fertilizing

I follow my standard fertilizing approach and will fertilize very dilutely with every watering. These plants are not heavy feeders, but some feeding will benefit them.

I only fertilize during the growing season and withhold fertilizer during our dark and cold winters. If you live in a warmer climate, you may be able to fertilize year round.

Propagating Dischidia Nummularia

The best way to propagate this plant is by taking short stem cuttings. Allow the cuts to heal for a couple days.

Then place the stem segments on top of moist sphagnum moss. The segments will grow roots, and at this time, transfer the plants to a pot where you will be growing your Dischidia.

You can see that there are roots already along the stem. Look for those as you’re propagating and you would be ensured success.

Just be careful though because when you take cuttings, it will excrete a milky sap which can irritate your skin. Be sure to handle carefully and wash your hands with soap and water afterwards.

There are many other Dischidias too and I grow two others.

Check out my blog posts on the prolific Dischidia ruscifolia as well as the beautiful “watermelon” Dischidia or Dischidia ovata.

Dischidia Nummularia Shriveling?

Lastly, I wanted to talk a bit about if you see your Dischidia leaves shriveling. This is normally due to either your plant going too dry or being kept wet for too long.

Great right? So how do you know the difference? You would think that the result would be different, but in many cases it is not. Let me explain why, and this will also apply to many other plants as well.

If your plant has gone bone dry for a while, the leaves will shrivel from dehydration.

On the other end, if you keep your plant too wet, the roots will eventually rot. If your roots have rotted, your plant can not take up moisture through the roots and thus your plant will actually dehydrate! Make sense now?

So if you see your leaves are starting to shrivel on your Dischidia, stick your finger in the potting mix. Is it bone dry? Or is it wet? This will give you an indication of what happened.

And if you placed your plant in a standard potting soil, well, we already talked about that…

I hope this post helps you grow this still uncommon, yet delightful plant!

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:

OHIO TROPICS PLANT CARE STOREFRONT

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Maram

Sunday 3rd of May 2020

Thank you so much for your post! I’m trying to save my Dischidia Nummularia and found your post to be very informative and helpful.

I bought my string of nickels in November 2019 from Japan and brought it all the way to Saudi Arabia. My plant was not in a good condition when I bought; it was a little bit dried out with many shriveled leaves. But with love and care it became much greener with fleshy leaves. It stayed healthy for around 4 months and a half. Then 2 weeks ago I noticed that the leaves started to shrivel, so I gave it a good water and misted it. Unfortunately, it got worse and the leaves started dropping off.

I’m not sure if this happened because I overwatered it when I noticed it drying out, or because the potting mix (coco husk chips) had broken down. I really wanna save my string of nickels but I don’t know how.

Could you please give me some advice here. Thanks again..

Raffaele

Monday 4th of May 2020

When you noticed the issue, did you feel the potting mix with your finger? Don't worry about what you may have read with "overwatering." Use your observations to determine what happened. Many people are scared they're "overwatering" when in fact they're doing the opposite. :-). I also have to ask you, what changed? It was fine for quite a while and then suddenly you had a problem. Did anything change?

Lindsey

Friday 24th of April 2020

I bought a Dischidia Nummularia Variegata (clipping) from a really awesome lady on Etsy a couple months ago (maybe?); She sent me a regular green Dischidia Nummularia (clipping, but had SOME roots already. like, fine hairs) as well. I have kept them in the same exact conditions, and I have followed instructions as best as I can interpret. They are always together, but different pots. Anyway, they haven't died yet, but the Variegata clipping has slightly wrinkled leaves. It was actually kind of wrinkled when it arrived, but I know it isn't necessarily a death sentence. I keep seeing that the Variegata is more difficult than the regular green Nummularia... I don't know what to do about these, but I feel like I need to do something different. I know that they love warmth and humidity. I live in zone 9a, and it hasn't really been humid YET, although it DOES get pretty humid during the warmer months..which is a lot of the time, honestly. I have them pinned down, in separate terracotta orchid pots, with those clay ball/pebbles and some sphagmoss (brand) mixed at the bottom, with an inch/inch and a half layer of sphagmoss (brand) directly underneath the plant itself. Both of them. At first I thought I wasn't watering them enough: I had them inside because it was still chilly out. I'd let the moss get pretty dry before I would water, and I never poured heavy water directly on the plant. The Variegata slowly, VERY SLOWLY, got a LITTLE more wrinkled. The other is fine as far as I can tell. I felt like it would be too much moisture if I misted REGULARLY and kept the moss moist as well, since it's an epiphyte. I've mostly dealt with common succulents, but am still learning there too.

I guess I'm just confused about when to transition from like..clipping and clipping care, to rooted plant and rooted plant care. What would the roots look like when it's ready to move to coco husk chunks vs. when you're trying to get it shoot roots, and how does the care differ??

My Variegata had those short aerial looking roots in a couple places, but they weren't really well established..and the regular green one had the fine hair like roots...so, I was confused on what to do with each one..since they are both Nummularia and they were both clippings, but look so different in a couple ways. I'm worried that it dried out too much and it isn't going to matter what I do. I also read that I could pop two sets of leaves off the plant on one end, let it callous, and stick it in damp sphagnum moss. I just felt too guilty to pop the leaves off...so, I pinned the whole clippings flat.

Do you possibly have ANY pics of what a healthy one looks like vs an underwatered one, and an overwatered one...and possibly what the roots should look like before I start treating it like a full plant.

Could you maybe tell me what zone you live in so I can compare that as well? I have way too many questions, and I'm so sorry. I just REALLY feel frantic about this, because I "NEED" to salvage it before it's too late. Basically anything you can tell me, AT ALL, will help. I know NO ONE that has had one, and I seriously can't find help online so far.

I know that everything really does depend on the environment and "soil" mix; and THAT helps determine the watering schedule. I'm just SO LOST...and even more so because of the regular green Nummularia doing seemingly "well" in comparison to the Variegata, AND the different care tips. Neither have put off any real NEW GROWTH, but my green one is not shriveling at all.

I can send/post pictures too. I'm sorry for such a long post. I just wanted to try and make sure I got in as much info you may need as possible. I really appreciate anything at all.

Raffaele

Sunday 26th of April 2020

Hi Lindsey, it would help if you emailed me photos. I'm not posting it here because of spam, but just use my contact form on my website and remind me briefly of your issue, and then I'll reply back. Then you can write back and attach photos and I can try and help you!

Lynn

Tuesday 31st of March 2020

Thanks so much for your post! I have my dischidia recently repotted and pinned down in fern fibre and the stem has since shrivelled at the tip, was it a bad idea to pin it down?

Raffaele

Tuesday 31st of March 2020

Hi Lynn! Glad you enjoyed the post. No, not necessarily! How has the moisture been in the fern fibre? You have to be careful of excessive drying out if you have them in looser potting mixes. Has it dried out really quickly for you? This is one potential cause of the tips drying out.

Jen

Friday 23rd of August 2019

Thank you for your post! I think I have a Dischidia nummularia, but I'm not sure. There is little information about this plant online so I really appreciate the details you've provided. The leaves on my plant are not as thick as the photos online. The leaves at the base of the plants have some thickness, while the leaves at the end of the trails are thinner and curving under. Does this sound like shriveling? Some of the stems have a reddish color. I think it is planted in the wrong type of soil - it looks like a succulent soil, but on the heavier side. After reading your post I am wondering if it has some root rot. What do you think?

[email protected]

Friday 23rd of August 2019

I'm glad you enjoyed the post Jen! If you sent me a photo, it would allow me to help you better. Please email to [email protected] Having a lighter potting medium is important. Also, the correct light is important. Tell me where you keep your plant? How far from a window? What exposure is the window? What is your watering practice like?

Eva Andersson

Friday 16th of August 2019

Hello, this is the best care-instruction I have read. Regards from Eva in Sweden!

[email protected]

Friday 16th of August 2019

Hello Eva! Thank you, and I'm happy that you found the post helpful!