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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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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!

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Friday 16th of August 2019

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

Ashley

Thursday 25th of July 2019

Thank you! I just read the string of pearls blog post and it was super helpful. Hopefully my little guy still has some hope left ????????

[email protected]

Friday 26th of July 2019

You're welcome Ashley! I wish you success with your SOP!

Ashley Robillard

Thursday 25th of July 2019

Does the string of pearls have similar if not the same potting, lighting, watering, etc techniques??

[email protected]

Thursday 25th of July 2019

Hi Ashley. The care is very different. I would refer you to my blog post on string of pearls on my website. Even though they are both "string of..." they are completely different plants. This is why I don't like common names because it can easily lead to many misconceptions. :-)