The string of nickels (Dischidia nummularia) is a vining succulent that is native to the tropical regions of Asia, India, and Australia. It is a type of epiphyte similar to orchids and air plants such as Tillandsia, meaning that in its native habitat, the string of nickels grows on other plants such as trees and obtains its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, or debris accumulating around it rather than from soil.
This Dischidia is a relatively uncommon houseplant that can be difficult to find, but if you manage to find one, it will do well in almost any location in your home. Unlike many other types of succulents, the string of nickels does not require a bright, sunny location—it actually prefers low-light conditions.
|Botanical Name||Dischidia nummularia|
|Common Name||String of nickels, button orchid|
|Mature Size||12-18 in. long, 15-24 in. spread|
|Sun Exposure||Partial sun, partial shade|
|Soil pH||Neutral, alkaline|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Flower Color||Yellow, white|
|Hardiness Zones||10a to 11b|
|Native Area||India, Asia, Australia|
String of Nickels Care
These tropical epiphytes are generally low-maintenance and easy to care for. They are most commonly grown indoors as houseplants because they cannot tolerate cold temperatures or frost, but they can be grown outdoors year-round in climates that are consistently warm. They enjoy consistent moisture and are prolific growers in the right environment.
It is recommended that string of nickels are repotted annually so they do not become rootbound, which can hinder growth because their roots need plenty of aeration in order to thrive. String of nickels do not require pruning, but because they grow quickly, you can trim and shape them if they grow too large.
String of nickels grow well in low-light conditions. Indoors, they are a perfect choice for that low-light north- or east-facing window. Ideally, they should still receive some sunlight throughout the day; a small amount of morning or late afternoon sun is perfect. When grown outdoors, a string of nickels should be grown in shady locations that are protected from the hot afternoon sun. They do well in hanging baskets or planters under covered porches or patios.
String of nickels should be grown in a light and airy, well-draining growing medium that is high in organic matter. As an epiphyte, their roots require air flow in order to thrive. An orchid potting mix, shredded coco coir, or shredded bark are all good options. Do not plant a string of nickels in regular potting soil because it is too dense and the roots can suffocate and rot.
Keep the potting medium evenly moist but be careful to avoid waterlogging the roots; they should never sit in water for extended periods of time. String of nickels also benefit from regular misting, which helps the plant absorb moisture through the leaves.
Temperature and Humidity
String of nickels thrive in humid, warm environments and do not tolerate cold temperatures or frost. They are hardy in USDA zones 10a to 11b, but they are typically grown indoors as houseplants. While a string of nickels can well in average household humidity, if you place it in a location with some extra humidity, such as a kitchen or bathroom, or on a tray of pebbles filled with water, it will thrive.
String of nickels do not require regular fertilizing outside of ensuring that their potting medium is rich in organic matter. However, if desired, a low-strength balanced fertilizer can be applied annually at the beginning of the growing season.
Propagating String of Nickels
String of nickels are easily propagated by stem cuttings. Take cuttings from a healthy, established plant and allow the cut stems to callous over for a few hours before rooting in moist sphagnum moss. It usually takes two or three weeks for roots to emerge and become established. When the cuttings are well-rooted, repot them into an orchid potting mix, shredded coco coir, or shredded bark and care for them as you would a mature string of nickels.
Common Pests and Diseases
Root rot is the most common disease that affects a string of nickels. To prevent root rot, ensure that you are not overwatering your string of nickels and that the potting medium allows air to reach the roots.
String of nickels can also be susceptible to some common pests such as spider mites, fungus gnats, aphids, and mealybugs. Ensure that you are regularly inspecting your string of nickels for pests so that you can treat infestations early.