Cissus Discolor Plant: Climbing Rex Begonia Vine Care

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Cissus discolor comes from the island of Java, where it’s found growing in the warm tropical rain forests.

Thanks to its large, striking leaves and climbing growth, Cissus discolor has become a popular houseplant.

Colorful Cissus Discolor (Rex Begonia vine) Pin
Rex Begonia Vine Cissus Discolor

The cissus plant grows well in containers, in a hanging basket, or the vine climbs along trellises.

This foliage plant belongs to the Vitaceae (grape) family and the genus Cissus, which includes 350 species of woody vines. The most popular is Cissus rhombifolia (grape ivy).

Due to the interesting pattern on the wide, long leaves, people commonly call the plant the Rex begonia vine.

It features large leaves with showy patterns resembling the various hybrids of painted leaf Begonia.

It’s not the fastest grower, and it is difficult to care for as a houseplant.

Cissus Discolor Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Cissus Discolor
  • Common Name(s): Rex Begonia Vine, Begonia Vine, Grape Ivy
  • Synonyms: N/A
  • Pronunciation: KISS-us, DIS-kol-or
  • Family & Origin: Vitaceae family, Southeast Asia, Java
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: 11 and higher
  • Size: Can grow up to 6′ to 8′ feet long
  • Flowering: Rarely flowers indoors
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Humidity: High humidity preferred
  • Temperature: 65° to 80° degrees Fahrenheit
  • Soil: Well-draining soil
  • Water: Regular watering during the active growth period
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize every three to four weeks during spring, summer, and fall with a balanced, general-purpose houseplant fertilizer or liquid fertilizer
  • Pests & Diseases: Mealybugs, spider mites, mite galls, scale insects, root rot
  • Propagation: Stem cuttings in water or soil, seeds
  • Plant Uses: Hanging basket, container plant, trailing plant, indoor plant, air purifier

To enjoy full, colorful foliage, give the plant lots of warmth, sunshine and display the Cissus discolor in a hanging basket.

Cissus Discolor Care

Size and Growth Habit

Discolor is a climbing plant reaching heights or lengths of up to 6’ – 8’ feet.

It’s a medium grower that lasts for many years when given the proper care.

As a climbing vine, it’s often trained on a trellis, pole, or hoop but also looks great in a hanging basket.

The heart-shaped leaves are the highlight of this plant.

The pointed leaves are typically about 3” – 6” inches long and feature a velvety olive-green texture.

The veins are silvery-white, providing a sharp contrast against the green leaves.

The leaves have burgundy undersides along with the stems and leaf stalks.

When the leaves first appear, the tops and bottoms may appear completely red or even purplish.

As they mature, the tops begin to turn green, while the stems may start to become tan.

Flowering and Fragrance

The flowers are insignificant and rarely appear, especially when the plant is grown indoors.

Light and Temperature

The begonia vine needs bright indirect light and warmth. Foliage discoloration can also be caused by too much direct light. So, what’s the best light? Well, bright indirect or partial shade is needed for the Cissus Discolor.  

It’s winter-hardy in USDA hardiness zones 11 or higher.

The ideal temperatures during the summer are between 70° – 80° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C – 27° C).

During the winter, keep it at temperatures between 65° – 70° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C – 21° C).

Outside of the native climates, it grows well indoors at normal room temperature and partial shade.

Watering and Feeding

Water the plant regularly during the active growth period of the spring and summer.

Don’t allow the soil to dry out completely. 

These plants need nutrient-rich and well-draining soil. You can make your own by combining 50% standard potting soil, 40% perlite for increased drainage, and 10% peat moss for added nutrients.  

As a result, keep the soil moist and water it before it dries out. Also, soak the soil until extra water drains from the drainage holes after watering. 

Cissus amazonica also benefits from fertilizer during the spring, summer, and fall.

Fertilize every three to four weeks during these seasons.

In the winter, water sparingly. Wait for the soil to dry out, and don’t fertilize.

As this plant requires high humidity, a humidifier helps keep the air around the plant healthy.

To increase the humidity, another option is to place a tray of moist gravel under the plant.

Soil and Transplanting

Plant the discolored vine in rich potting soil with extra hummus. They do require rich and nutrient soil but also well-draining. 

Once you notice that the roots are about two inches long, plant them in a soil mixture. Using this method enables roots to quickly form/grow. 

Please take note that the cutting should not be too long as it could struggle to transfer water and necessary nutrients throughout the stem. 

Ensure the soil offers fast drainage and repot climbing begonia every two years.


To grow larger, this evergreen vine does not require pruning or trimming. You can, however, trim or chop back its foliage to encourage additional branching and growth.

The begonia vine plant does not need grooming, but trimming helps shape the plant as it grows on a pole or trellis or in a hanging basket.

How to Propagate Cissus Discolor The Rex Begonia Vine

As the plant rarely flowers, buying seeds is the only way to obtain them.

The best way to propagate Cissus discolor is with cuttings. This is a simple method for propagating this plant from a leaf-tip cutting. Also, you should propagate them in their growing season to have more chances of surviving. 

Take the cuttings when grooming the plant in the early spring or late autumn.

When selecting cuttings, look for stems that are partially woody.

Avoid stems that are still deep red or completely tan, and then follow these steps:

  • Dip the cuttings in root hormone powder and plant in porous soil.
  • Use regular potting soil combined with peat and sand.
  • Water the cuttings well and cover them with a plastic bag.
  • Poke several holes in the bag for ventilation.
  • Place the pots near a heat source and check them daily to ensure the soil doesn’t dry out.

The cuttings should take root in about one month.

After new growth starts to appear, remove the plastic bag, and move the plants to a new location.

About one month after removing the plastic, the young plants will be ready to transplant into individual pots.

In a large pot, three to six plants may grow together, allowing for a fuller plant.

Cissus DIscolor Vine Pests or Diseases?

Small white eggs or insects indicate a whitefly infestation.

Related: More on How To Get Rid of Whiteflies

The infestation halts with the use of an insecticide.

Sometimes the pests are difficult to eradicate.

The plant may require multiple treatments of insecticide.

Another issue to look for is scorch marks or brown patches on the leaves.

This is the result of bright sun or dry air. Use rubbing alcohol with a few drops of dishwashing soap, a hose to dislodge your plant, neem oil, and natural pyrethrum sprays are good remedies for mealybugs.  

Move the plant to a slightly shadier spot and start misting it more frequently.

If the leaves don’t develop silvery-white veins, the plant may require more sunlight, in which case, move the plant to a sunnier location.

Suggested Uses For Rex Begonia Vine

The Cissus discolor begonia vine looks best growing on a tall trellis where its dark green leaves and tendrils can shine or grow in a hanging basket where the leaves are at eye level.

It also works well in conservatories and bright rooms needing some color. Moreover, it’s an excellent air purifier indoors.

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