If you like Hoya plants, there is a good chance that you will love Dischidia plants. They are just as easy to care for, and just as unusual.
These leafy trailers can be a little difficult to get hold of, but as they are steadily growing in popularity, more and more places are stocking these beautiful plants.
Dischidia ovata is grown for its striking leaves, with markings that look similar to a watermelon (if you prefer heart-shaped leaves, try Dischidia ruscifolia. See also Dischidia Ruscifolia Care Guide), and these epiphytes are not complicated plants to care for indoors.
Not sure if the Watermelon Dischidia is right for you? Let’s take a look at everything you should know about this plant, and what it needs in order to thrive.
Watermelon Dischidia Care
Watermelon Dischidia are not difficult to take care of, but you do need to make sure the conditions are right for the plant, especially when it comes to the potting mix, as these epiphytes need sharp drainage in order to thrive.
Let’s get started.
Bright And Indirect Light
Dischidia ovata will adapt to different levels of light without much of a problem, but for best results, pop your Dischidia into a warm and bright spot, preferably indirect, with a few hours of morning sunshine.
You can put it in a position where it will get more sunlight, and higher light levels will turn the leaves red.
When they do, this is a sign of sun stress, but as long as you don’t overdo it, the plant will remain healthy.
Some people deliberately place them in higher light levels as they prefer the red-tinted leaves to solid green.
Once it does develop red leaves, it’s important not to give it any more sunlight than it already has, otherwise you risk the leaves scorching.
If you’d prefer to keep the leaves solid green, keep your Watermelon Dischidia in either a Northern or Eastern-facing windowsill.
This will give it enough light for proper growth without any leaf burn, but not too little that the plant gets leggy.
In terms of temperature, Watermelon Dischidia is not particularly fussy. It will do just fine in average indoor temperatures provided that you keep it out of drafts and sources of heat, and keep the temperature stable.
Broadly speaking, as long as you feel comfortable in a room, your Watermelon Dischidia plant will be absolutely fine in the same temperatures.
Humidity-wise, a Watermelon Dischidia will prefer higher levels of humidity, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. You would be surprised at just how humid some indoor rooms can be without any help.
Airy And Sharply-Draining Compost
As an epiphyte, Dischidia ovata needs an airy potting mix, and this will help form a strong root system, as well as mimicking the plant’s natural conditions to an extent.
Make sure that whatever mixture of compost you use, it has plenty of drainage, as these plants will quickly die if they are sitting in water.
Epiphytic plants are used to conditions where the roots get plenty of air, and water pretty much drains from the plant straight away.
You can do this by adding some orchid bark to whatever compost you have on hand, or grow it in orchid bark or coconut husks on its own.
If you prefer, and you have a humid enough room, you can mount your Watermelon Dischidia onto wood or bark with some sphagnum moss, giving the roots all the air they need.
Allow Part Of The Compost To Dry Out Before Watering
If you’re growing your Watermelon Dischidia in compost or bark, make sure you let at least part of the compost dry out in between watering.
Watermelon Dischidia plants are pretty resilient when it comes to drying out, and it’s much better to keep them on the drier side than allow them to be wet for too long.
Do not let the plant dry out for very long periods.
When To Water Mounted Watermelon Dischidia
If your Watermelon Dischidia is mounted on a surface instead of growing in soil, you’ll need to be much more attentive to watering.
This is not a plant you can leave to its own devices for long. It’s a good idea to mist mounted plants frequently to stop them from drying out, at least a couple of times a week.
It’s much more difficult to overwater a mounted plant as they dry out very quickly, but you do have to water them more often.
When To Feed Watermelon Dischidia
It’s a good idea to feed this plant every three or four waterings during the growing season, to help support your plants’ growth.
Use a balanced, good-quality houseplant feed, and never feed a plant that has gone completely dry. Water it first.
If you’re growing a Watermelon Dischidia on a mounted surface instead of soil, you can mix up a very weak solution of feed and water, and mist it occasionally with this mixture in order to give the plant a boost.
Mist it beforehand with plain water before you feed the plant, to stop the roots from burning.
Can You Grow Dischidia In Terrariums?
Thanks to its love of humidity and warmth, Watermelon Dischidia grows well in terrariums. It also looks fantastic, thanks to its trailing habit, and beautiful foliage.
You don’t even need to plant them in compost to get them established. You can mount these plants in terrariums, too. See below on how to propagate.
How To Propagate Watermelon Dischidia
Watermelon Dischidia plants will propagate readily, but there are a few things to keep in mind to increase the success rate.
You can put cuttings straight into water, or plant them up in your chosen potting mix, whichever you prefer.
If you are using water to propagate your cuttings, change it every few days to help the cuttings root properly.
If you prefer to propagate your Watermelon Dischidia in a potting mix, make sure to keep the mix damp to encourage roots.
If you’d like to propagate your Watermelon Dischidia straight into a terrarium as a mounted plant, this is very easy.
You’ll need some sphagnum moss, some fishing string, a prepared terrarium, and a surface to mount it on.
Always hydrate the sphagnum moss before you attach the plant to it, making sure it is damp.
Wrap the moss around the nodes, removing any leaves that would be surrounded by moss, just as you would with any leaves that sit below the water line when you’re propagating in water.
Use your fishing string to attach the cuttings to the mount in your terrarium, and mist the moss frequently.
It will root pretty quickly in an enclosed environment, and once it has secured itself to its growing surface, you can then remove the fishing string.
Watermelon Dischidia is a beautiful plant, and there are many ways you can show off this plant in your home.
If you prefer the drama of a terrarium, this is a perfect plant to cascade down the walls, as the foliage looks absolutely beautiful.
It will also do well in a hanging basket, or even mounted on bark or driftwood. Just remember that you need to adjust the watering practices to the type of media you’re growing the plant in, whether that’s in just a little sphagnum moss, or a more traditional potting mix.
It also helps that you can propagate this plant readily, making it a good option for when you want a lot of plants quickly, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money doing so.
If you’re growing this plant in potting soil, allow at least part of the compost to dry out between waters, but do not let the plant sit in water, otherwise this leads to root rot and other fungal issues that are difficult to fix.