String Of Nickels: How To Grow And Care For Dischidia Nummularia

Dischidia nummularia (dis-KID-ee-uh num-ew-LAH-ree-uh) which also carries the common names of “string of nickels” or “button orchid” and is one of over 80 species of Dischidia.

The Dischidia nummularia plant comes from the Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) family and is a:

  • Tropical
  • Climbing
  • Vining
  • Succulent tender perennial

Dischidia plants grow much like epiphytic orchids, supported by branches and tree trunks. In some settings, they may grow on rocky limestone hillsides.

These attractive, tropical epiphytes are easy to grow in a home or office setting and are excellent hanging basket succulent plants.

Hanging basket succulent :String of Nickels" Dischidia nummularia varigata

The “String of Nickels” is native to a wide variety of tropical settings including:

  • Papua New Guinea
  • Solomon Islands,
  • Philippines
  • Northeast India
  • South Vietnam
  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • Malaysia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • China
  • Laos

String Of Nickels Care

How Big Does Dischidia Nummularia Get?

The “String Of Nickels Plant” has a spread of eight to ten feet and can be trained to climb or trail as desired.

The leaves are very small, round and succulent. Some people say they look like magnifying glasses, and others say they look like nickels.

The leaves range in color from a very light olive green to a shade of bronze.

Nickels Dischidia nummularia is recommended for USDA hardiness zones: 10 – 11

The Flowers Of Succulent Nummularia

The flowers on this succulent plant are white or pale yellow flowers are very small and easy to overlook.

Flowers which typically appear in the spring transition into spindly, erect pods filled with densely packed seeds.

What Is The Best Lighting And Temperature?

“String Of Nickels” prefer a half a day of filtered sun. Direct sunlight can be tolerated for short periods of time, but no more than two hours.

Growing outdoors keep the ‘Nickel string plants” in sheltered, well ventilated, humid locations. These plants do not tolerate exposure to high winds.

If your plant is subjected to direct sunlight, be sure to water it well. Standard room temperature is acceptable for these tropical plants.

Watering and Feeding Dischidia

Be vigilant about watering these succulents. These plants like to be kept consistently moist, but never soggy.

My Favorite Way To Water:

Allow the growing medium to dry slightly before submerging in clean water.

Allow the plant and roots to soak in the water for 15 or 20 minutes or until bubbles no longer rise from the medium.

Dischidia plants require high humidity and should be misted daily and/or placed on a pebble tray with water. As the water evaporates, humidity will rise around the plant.

Fertilizer is unnecessary, but repot plants annually as it will use up the nutrients contained in its planting medium.

If desired, you can add a half dose of standard, liquid houseplant food to the soaking water during the growing season (early spring through early autumn).

Soil & Transplanting

Because Dischidia nummularia is epiphytic, it should not be grown in a soil-based mix but an epiphytic mix like one used for growing Epiphyllum Orchid Cactus.

Most successful growers prefer using chunks of coconut husk or shredded bark as a growing medium. A standard orchid mix will work well.

Although this plant does grow in very much the same way as orchids, in trees, it is not actually an orchid. This epiphytic plant is often sold with its wiry stems wrapped around chunks of coconut husk or driftwood.

Grooming And Maintenance

Pinch or trim stems to shape the plant to your preference. Save clippings to grow new plants.

How To Propagate “String Of Nickels

It is easy to propagate this plant from the succulent herbaceous stem cuttings. Simply cut a few short segments of stem and leave them out for a day or two to dry.

Place the cuttings on top of damp sphagnum moss. You may need to use strings to hold the cuttings in place. Put your cuttings in a sheltered area out of direct wind and sunlight.

Keep the sphagnum moss consistently moist. Roots should begin to grow within a few days. When the cuttings begin to grow, you can transplant them into their own pots.

It is also easy to grow these plants from seeds. The flowers turn into seedpods that split open upon maturing.

Seeds are rather like milkweed seeds in that they have strands of gossamer attached that let them be easily carried by the wind.

To collect the seeds, you can place a light cloth bag over the seed head. When the seed head has matured, it will break open and the seeds will fall into the bag. Sow the seeds right away as they do not store well.

What Pests Or Disease Problems Dischidia Nummularia Face?

“String of Coins Plant” is subject to the same sorts of over-watering problems that might plague other succulents and epiphytes.

Pay close attention to lighting, ventilation, humidity and careful watering should suffice to prevent these complications.

Is Dischidia Invasive?

In most settings, this tropical, epiphyte plant must be kept as a houseplant, but it grows in abundance in its native open, deciduous forests, rain forests and along roadsides on trees.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that it may have naturalized to some tropical areas in the US, such as Florida. If you live in a tropical climate offering just the right conditions for this plant, it is conceivable it might become invasive.

Suggested Uses For Dischidia Nummularia

Dischidia nummularia is an unusual and exotic plant that is surprisingly easy to grow as a houseplant.

This plant is a great choice as a hanging basket plant or placed on a high shelf or pedestal.

It does well in an office setting under artificial light or in most home settings near a north, west or east window.

Because this is a climbing and trailing plant, these succulents can do well in hanging baskets allowing the stems to trail and dangle. However, they may grow up along the pot’s hangers.

You can also create interesting displays by providing the plants with rough, moisture retentive, porous surfaces such as thin tree branches for climbing and trailing.