The string of nickels, which belongs to the succulent family, is recognized for its natural and impressive beauty. It resembles a nickel coin in terms of its shape. This easy-to-care-for succulent, which you will learn more about upon reading this article, features small round leaves that often trail wonderfully from hanging baskets.
In This Article
Quick Facts About the String of Nickels (Dischidia Nummularia)
Common name: Button orchid, string of nickels
Botanical name: Dischidia nummularia
Origin/native area/s: Asia, Australia, India
Type of plant: Succulent
Size once mature: 12- to 18-inch long, 15- to 24-inch spread
Type and pH level of soil: Well-drained, alkaline or neutral
Sun exposure: Partial shade or partial sun
Bloom time: Summer, spring
Color of flower: White, yellow
USDA hardiness zones: 11 and 12
Toxicity: Mildly toxic
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The string of nickels is a succulent that got its name because of the way it looks. Also called dischidia nummularia, which is its botanical name, and button orchid, this plant is mainly grown and cultivated for its foliage. It has small round leaves with a shape resembling that of a tiny coin that dangles on a cord.
These plants are native to tropical parts of India, Australia, and Asia. The dischidia nummularia can be classified as an air plant or epiphyte. It is also capable of growing on tree trunks, branches, and rocky terrains when cultivated in its natural settings.
As for the color of its leaves, expect it to vary. There are those in pale green while others have silvery or bronze tones. This plant also thrives well in a humid and hot terrarium environment and in a setup that has plenty of hardscapes that they can climb.
The good thing about these vining succulents is that it is easy to grow and care for while also being an attractive houseplant that you can grow in a hanging basket. It has creeping vines composed of thick and round leaves. With that look, it is no longer surprising to see it being classified as a distinctive tropical terrarium species.
String of Nickels Care and Maintenance
Basically, the string of nickels is a low-maintenance tropical epiphyte that looks good in a hanging basket or any other appropriate pot. You can easily care for the dischidia nummularia, provided the following conditions are present:
The string of nickels plants favor low-light conditions. These plants are also usually grown in bright, indirect light. It is also okay to use curtains in a window facing the south, so the plant can receive filtered sunlight. It is fine to expose it to the morning sun but only for around two to three hours.
If you intend to grow these plants an outdoor garden, then pick a shady spot that protects them from the harsh and hot afternoon sunlight. It likes hanging baskets or planters placed beneath patios and covered porches.
When it comes to the soil requirements, note that these plants favor being cultivated in an airy and light well-draining growing medium. It should be rich in organic matter, too.
Also, remember that the string of nickels is an epiphyte, so its roots need sufficient airflow for survival. The best options, therefore, would be a shredded bark or coco coir, or an orchid potting mix. Avoid using regular potting soil when planting the string of nickels as the soil is too dense for it, causing the suffocation and rotting of roots.
Your chosen potting medium has to remain evenly moist. However, you should be extra careful not to waterlog the roots. This means that the roots should never sit in large pools of water for a long period. You can also mist these plants regularly to give them the chance to absorb moisture using their leaves.
Humidity and Temperature
The dischidia nummularia can survive warm and humid environments. It can survive in a household with average humidity. This houseplant can also survive areas with additional humidity, like the bathroom, kitchen, or a tray with pebbles and water.
These plants also tend to achieve healthy growth in warm climates. It can’t withstand frost and cold temperatures, so it would be best to stick to its required temperature of around 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not grow this plant in areas that are below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
The string of nickels does not need to be fertilized regularly. You just have to make sure that the potting medium you are using has a lot of organic matter. If you want, though, you can still apply a low-strength and balanced variety of fertilizer. Apply this fertilizer annually, specifically at the start of its growing season.
Importance of Repotting the String of Nickels
One fact about the string of nickels that you have to be aware of is that it tends to grow slowly. However, keep in mind that eventually, it will grow too large that its branches will begin to hang from the pot. While it is okay to leave it in the pot when it happens, this may prevent the root mesh from growing even further.
With a small pot, it will not have adequate space for the growth of more roots, causing it to stop growing. You can prevent this problem by replanting or repotting the string of nickels. Just pick a pot that is a bit bigger than the one you were using before.
Doing this will give the roots sufficient space for growth. It also allows the plants to thrive and survive well. The perfect time to do the replanting or repotting is prior to the spring season. It also helps to do it once a year.
Importance of Pruning
Pruning is also a vital part of string of nickels care. Remember that these succulents tend to grow plenty of green leaves, small flowers, and branches. There are instances when the leaves and branches die and rot, making the plant look unsightly.
You can prevent that from happening by pruning regularly. You can prune the plant so you will get the chance to cut off dead leaves and branches. The perfect time for pruning would be before and after spring.
Common Problems to Watch Out for
It is also important to remember that the string of nickels is vulnerable to the attacks of plant pathogens that affect other succulents. Some examples of these pathogens are root rot, spider mites, and mealybugs. The problem with these pathogens is that they are capable of killing the plant.
That said, you should implement countermeasures right after you notice some signs of attacks. Use pesticides to get rid of and kill the bugs. Regulating the watering schedule is also a must if you see signs of root rot as this could indicate that the plant receives excessive amounts of water.
Additional Growing Tips
One thing to note about the string of nickels (dischidia nummularia is that it is an uncommon houseplant, so you may experience a few difficulties and challenges when trying to search for one. If you still manage to get a hold of this plant, then you will love the fact that it tends to survive in almost all locations in the household.
The string of nickels is not also one of those succulents that require extremely sunny and bright locations. It is even fond of low-light conditions.
You may want to mount it to a clump of sphagnum moss to create an interesting display on your tabletop. You can also grow it in an outdoor garden during the summer but remember that it works better as an indoor plant that may form part of your home’s interior design or office settings.
Here are additional tips that will help you during the start of your journey of growing a string of nickels:
Choose the perfect location
The low-light requirements of the string of nickels mean that you will have an easier time growing it indoors. When choosing a perfect spot for it indoors, note that they love north-, west-, and east-facing windows.
The plant also thrives beneath artificial lights. Moreover, the string of nickels like humid environments so bathrooms and kitchens are also perfect places for them.
Give the plant filtered light outdoors
If you decide to grow the string of nickels outdoors, then remember that it can thrive with filtered light. It is also beneficial to use hanging baskets grown beneath covered porches and patios for this plant.
Also, take note that the string of nickels is a delicate plant that requires protection from strong winds, heavy rain, and direct sun exposure. It is a tropical plant so it can’t tolerate frost. You can expect this succulent to grow best at around 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and is winter hardy when placed in USDA zones 11 to 12.
Retain moisture without overwatering the plant
You have to make sure that the string of nickels retains even moisture but without having to overwater it. The reason is overwatering can cause problems, like root rots.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is the string of nickels plant toxic?
Yes, the string of nickels is mildly toxic especially in pets, like cats.
How often should you water the string of nickels?
As a succulent, the string of nickels is capable of retaining water, so while it likes its soil to be moist most of the time, you still have to make sure that it dries a bit after watering before giving it another session.
In that case, you can just mist your string of nickels regularly, allowing it to absorb moisture through the leaf. Another rule of thumb is to water it once every week or every four days but check the soil for dryness first. It probably needs water if around 2 inches of the soil’s top layer get dry.
How to propagate a string of nickels plant?
It is easy to propagate the string of nickels. All you have to do is to use the stem cuttings of an established and healthy plant. Let these stem cuttings be callous for several hours before you let them root in sphagnum moss that is moist enough.
In most cases, you will have to wait for around 2-3 weeks before you will notice the roots emerging. You can also expect the plant to get established within that period.
Once the stem cuttings are already properly rooted, it is advisable to repot them right away into a shredded coco choir, orchid potting mix, or shredded bark. You can then provide them with the care and maintenance they need.
Growing a string of nickels can make you love your plant and garden collection even more. The good thing about this trailing succulent is that it is a prolific grower. It can even bloom flowers and produce healthy growth and cuttings for propagation provided it has the perfect environment.