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How to Grow Dischidia Ruscifolia: Million Hearts Plant

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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? Look on the stem that is growing over the left side of the pot below. I told you the flowers are tiny…but what a fragrance!

dischidia ruscifolia million hearts plant

Here is a closer 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.

dischidia nummularia

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.

dischidia ruscifolia million hearts plant

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!

WATERING DISCHIDIA

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!

LIGHT

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.

dischidia ruscifolia million hearts plant

FERTILIZING

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.

dischidia ruscifolia million hearts plant

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.

That’s about it! 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:

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Leslie Begam

Friday 25th of September 2020

How informative!! Waiting on cuttings now from a plant swap. After reading this article I feel confident I will succeed in producing a beautiful full plant

Maria

Sunday 20th of September 2020

Thanks! This information is very important for me

Raffaele

Monday 21st of September 2020

You're very welcome Maria!

Deborah Silva

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

Is the million hearts plant poisonous to children and pets?

Raffaele

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Hi Deborah, I did a quick search for that, and supposedly the plant can be toxic if ingested.

Deb

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

Hi Raffaele I just got 2, one variegated, one green. I thought you kinda treated them like Hoya’s. I used, 3/4 succulent soil (very gritty mix, with a touch of worm castings, and coco fiber) I hope this works okay. I do have another dischidia, it seems to grow well in my mixture. They both seemed to be planted in peat or coco fiber, not sure which, I didn’t rinse off the original potting mix before planting, didn’t want to disturb the roots. Why do plant sellers use that mix if it’s not the right medium? Your articles are very informative, thank you. Deb ☺️

Raffaele

Sunday 26th of July 2020

Hi Deb! There are a LOT of very different mediums that plants can successfully grow in. There isn't one "magic" soil mixture or medium that will work. Dischidias seem to be pretty resilient, as long as the mixture is very well drained. I'm glad you enjoyed the article, and if your plants are growing well, keep doing what you're doing!

Nikhil

Tuesday 21st of July 2020

Hi Rafaele, do you use only coco husk to grow them or do you mix some soil in the coco husk? I just got a plant from my nursery and want to propagate. Do let me know. Thanks.

Nikhil

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

@Raffaele, Thanks for the tip, since i just got my plant i am letting the leaves that are hanging over the mother plant rest on the pot with the coco husk medium. The coco husk pot is sort of a self watering pot so the husk is moist (but I will keep an eye on it, hope they root (fingers crossed).

Raffaele

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

Hi Nikhil! These plants are quite versatile with soil mixes, so that would work too... but my own plant is just growing in pure coco husk chips. The pieces are pretty coarse. If you want to propagate them in a medium, it might be good to mix in a little soil too in order to hold moisture. I propagated mine in water and then I put them straight into the coco husk chips. If you put them straight into a potting medium, be sure to keep it relatively moist to encourage rooting. Hope this helps!