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Million Hearts Plant, or Dischidia ruscifolia, is gaining in popularity, and for good reason! It is very easy to grow, grows quickly, and the heart shaped leaves (hence the common name!) are delightful! Keep reading to learn how I grow this amazing epiphyte!
Million Hearts Plant is actually an epiphyte, which means it grows on other plants such as on trees or tree branches. It is really important to know this because it will dictate how you care for it!
This plant is native to Asia. The care of this plant is very similar to Dischidia nummularia, another species in the Dischidia genus, except I think the ruscifolia species (Million Hearts) is even easier to grow.
Another added benefit is that Million Hearts Plant flowers readily and often. The flower are white and TINY! But they pack quite a fragrance!
Once I was walking around my sunroom and I noticed a wonderful fragrance and I initially couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. It was coming from my Dischidia ruscifolia.
Do you see the tiny white flowers in the photo below on my plant? I told you the flowers are tiny…but what a fragrance!
Here is a close look at one of the flowers.
Dischidia Ruscifolia Care
Since these plants are epiphytes, you should treat them a little differently. Keep reading to learn how best to care for these plants!
DISCHIDIA POTTING MIX
Like any epiphyte, these plants should not be grown in normal potting soil. Dischidia, and other epiphytes, grow attached to trees. They use their roots to attach onto their host trees. Very similar to many orchids.
Because they grow naturally with a lot of air circulation all around them, they are best grown in a very loose potting mix. You can use either an orchid bark mix or something like coco husk chips.
I have heard of people using normal potting soil, but I personally wouldn’t because they are epiphytes in nature and it doesn’t make any sense to place them in potting soil. You may risk having issues.
I grow my own Dischidia ruscifolia in coco husk chips myself because I wanted to experiment and it produced great results! I could have used an orchid bark potting mix, but I wanted to try something new to experiment.
Whether you use orchid bark or coco husk chips, I like to soak them in hot water for a good half an hour before I use them in order to hydrate them.
I just used my bathroom sink to soak the coco husk chips. I’ll get into how I propagated my plant a bit later. A friend had sent me cuttings which I rooted and used to make my plant. More on that later!
As far as watering goes, I treat these like my moth orchids. (If you want to read how I care for my moth orchids, check out my blog post on moth orchid care!)
You want to let the potting mix dry out a bit in between watering. When do you water, circle your watering can all over the surface of the pot in order to ensure that you get a thorough soaking.
Since it’s an epiphyte, go ahead and get the leaves wet too! I do like to mist my Dischidia plants. (Not for humidity…because misting really is not effective at all to increase humidity…but because epiphytes will absorb moisture when you get them wet).
On the other end, be very careful not to let your plant stay wet for extended periods or it may rot. If you plant your Dischidia in a chunky mix like orchid bark mix or coco husk chips, it will be difficult to “overwater.”
And ALWAYS have a drainage hole!
Bright indirect light, or filtered light, works well for this plant. A little morning sun also works very well, especially indoors. And especially during the winter.
I keep my own plant in front of an Eastern facing window and it thrives there.
When they get some direct sunshine, the leaves may turn a little reddish in color. That is perfectly fine, but be careful not to give it too much sun otherwise it may burn.
Like most of my houseplants, I fertilize dilutely with almost every watering during the growing season (typically from about March through September or so). So basically Spring and Summer.
My fertilizer of choice is Dyna-Gro Grow. It is a nutritionally complete, premium fertilizer that contains all the micro and macro nutrients that plants need.
PROPAGATING MILLION HEARTS PLANT
I grew my own plant from cuttings that a friend send me. The cuttings transported very well since the leaves are succulent and very sturdy!
To propagate them, I simply stripped the bottom leaves off the stems and placed them in a vase of water. Be careful though because the plant will excrete a white, milky substance that may irritate your skin. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling.
After several weeks, roots formed and I potted them up in my coco husk chips like I described above.
Be sure to change your water at least once a week to keep it fresh. If you notice any cloudiness, change it more frequently.
One common problem that people see sometimes is yellow leaves. One of my Instagram followers sent me the photo below of her plant that started to get yellow leaves.
After a little back and forth trying to understand her growing conditions, I helped her determine that her plant was kept very dry.
Her plant was potted in a coarse orchid bark. It is really difficult to “overwater” this plant if it is kept growing in a coarse orchid bark mix. I determined that she was not soaking the plant enough.
One helpful tip, as you saw previously in this post (whether you use orchid bark mix or coconut husk chunks) is to soak them in warm water for a while before using them. This helps to condition the mix so it can accept water.
And if you have your plant growing in chunk mixes, you really need to drench them very well. Once the potting medium approaches dryness, it is time to soak it again.
Looking to purchase a Dischidia ruscifolia? One of my favorite and most convenient one-stop-shops to buy practically any plant is Etsy. Check out the Dischidia ruscifolia selection (link to Etsy) today!
That’s about it folks! If you see a Dischidia ruscifolia, I highly recommend it! It is a fantastic and easy to grow houseplant. It has a good growth rate as well.
I find that it grows a bit faster the Dischidia nummularia, but I love both!
Check out my blog posts that I wrote on growing Dischidia nummularia and also the “watermelon” Dischidia which is Dischidia ovata. All so different, and all so lovely!
Do you have any Dischidia plants in your collection? Comment below with any questions!
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
Tuesday 11th of April 2023
I love mine! One of my favorite in my collection. I took a cutting and tried to propagate it, it’s been months and I have many different things and it just will not root! So sad, but hearing you propagate it makes me want to try again!
Thursday 13th of April 2023
Hi Katie! That seems unusual! Where did you place your cutting? Was it getting enough light? Were you changing the water out frequently?
Friday 12th of August 2022
I've had one for many years (15+). It came with what appears to be regular potting soil in a plastic pot, and I've never repotted it. It hangs in a north-facing window with almost no direct sun and is still thriving. I've had the problem of leaves yellowing and dropping during the winter, and I believe the problem was due to overwatering, not under-watering. This past winter I cut back on the water and had no yellowing leaves.
I've also tried propogating from cuttings with no success (before finding this blog!). In those cases, the plants have died by slowly drying out and becoming brittle - but with no yellowing. When dead, they were still a dark green (not a healthy bright green). This also happened to some bits I transplanted out of the original pot, with roots and soil. I'm looking forward to trying the techniques suggested here, using orchid bark mix. Thanks!
Monday 15th of August 2022
Good luck Randal! With a chunkier mix, you'll have to water more frequently, so just keep that in mind!
Sunday 1st of August 2021
Thank you for this very helpful post. I just bought one of these plants today and it looks like it is planted in regular potting soil. Should I replant it in the coco husk chips? If so, how would you recommend I do this? Remove the soil first? Thank you for any assistance you can give me.
Tuesday 3rd of August 2021
Hi Penny! They're pretty versatile and can be grown in quite a few different mediums. I would keep it in whatever it came in as long as it appears to be ok. :-)
Saturday 13th of February 2021
Hello! I just picked one of these up today, but it’s growing on a moss board rather than in a pot. I have it hanging on the wall right next to a large West facing window so it should get bright indirect light. How often should I soak the board? And should I mist it in between soakings? I’m so in love with this little plant and really really don’t want to kill it! I’ve never grown anything like this so any tips are very appreciated! Thank you!!!
Sunday 14th of February 2021
Hi Stephanie! Mounted plants need pretty frequent watering since they tend to dry out very quickly. I would feel the moss and as soon as it feels dry or almost dry, go ahead and water it. Mounted plants can be challenging to keep up with so don't neglect it! Misting would be beneficial since it's an epiphyte and they appreciate that :-)
Sunday 10th of January 2021
Hi! I got a Dischidia Ruscifolia Albomarginata a couple of months ago and it’s been doing ok generally. It’s midwinter here right now so it’s not growing but I have been noticing that it does drop a leaf every now and then. It slowly turns kind of yellow-ish and when I touch it, (only slightly) it falls off. The rest of the leaves look fine but I’m still a bit worried. I bought it as a small cutting that already had roots and put it in the same potting mix that I use for my Hoya, so definitely well-draining. I also make sure to let it dry out between watering, so I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, haha. (When the weather gets warmer I will definitely try the coco husks!)
I love this article, it’s so informative! Thank you :)
Monday 11th of January 2021
Hi Caitlin! If it's just a small cutting, be careful of not letting it dry out TOO completely. I'm wondering if it stayed too dry for too long. Once it grows more and becomes more established, it will tolerate it more. But be careful when it is still smaller. Smaller plants tend to need more moisture. Hope this helps!