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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

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:

OHIO TROPICS PLANT CARE STOREFRONT

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Nevil Hole

Thursday 19th of March 2020

My dischidia ruscifolia came planted in compost. I transplanted it into orchid bark mix but all the leaves are turning yellow. Have I killed it.

Raffaele

Thursday 19th of March 2020

Hi Nevil. What you have to remember is that you went to a very porous media, so it requires much more frequent watering compared to the compost. I'd have to see a photo to see if it died, but you may still be ok. You'll have to change your watering habits with this one since you've placed it in bark. Hope this helps!!

Corrie

Saturday 24th of August 2019

Hello! This is a great article on care tips!! Where do you find coco husk chips? Or what brand would you recommend? Would the coco husk chips used for reptiles be appropriate to use? Thanks in advance for any recommendation you might have.

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Sunday 25th of August 2019

Hi Corrie! I ordered on Amazon and the vendor was Jim's Orchid Supply. I don't see why you couldn't use the one marketed for reptiles as long as it's just pure coconut husk! Check the package to see if it contains anything else. If it's just coconut husks, you should be good to go!

Eva Andersson

Friday 16th of August 2019

Thank you very, very much for this care-instructions! Regard from Eva in Sweden.

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Friday 16th of August 2019

You're very welcome, Eva! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Gretchen Mason

Thursday 25th of July 2019

So happy I found this! I just received one yesterday and honestly knew nothing about it. Did I just bring it into my house and wing it? No! I started researching this morning and thought “Maybe Raffaele has a blog on it”. And here I am! And now I feel confident that I can give this plant the care it needs! Thanks!

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Thursday 25th of July 2019

You're welcome Gretchen! They are pretty easy and tough plants! Enjoy your plant!

Nicole Regan

Thursday 4th of July 2019

How do you get their leaves to grow so closely together? I love the way that looks but mine grow so far apart and feels a bit stringy in comparison despite it being in a south facing window (with a sheer curtain).

SongHong

Saturday 6th of July 2019

Your plant needs more light for the leaves to grow closer. Less light, more legging plants, father apart the distance between leaves

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Thursday 4th of July 2019

Hi Nicole! This is affected purely by light. For pretty much any plant, the distance between the leaves will increase if you have lower light. How long have you had yours? Has it been in lower light in the past?