Dischidia Ruscifolia is a succulent native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia mainly the Philippines. It belongs to family Apocynaceae. In its natural habitat, the plant grows in dense forests and tangles around tree trunks. Sometimes the plant is called as shingle plant for the way the leaves grow slightly over each other like shingles, or also 'Million hearts' because of a large number of leaves and their heart shape.
Dischidias look very unique and exotic but they are easy to care for. They are perfect for growing in hanging baskets near windows or as centrepieces too.
The plant prefers filtered sun and can even grow in full shade with artificial light. It should be protected from direct afternoon sun as it may scorch the tender leaves.
Numerous dark-green, small, heart-shaped leaves line both sides of thin trailing stems. Small, urn-shaped white flowers appear near the juncture of leaves and stem. The plant grows like a vine so you need to provide a sturdy structure. A trellis or wooden stand could work. You can even grow it in hanging baskets.
Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. The plant does not like boggy soil conditions so avoid over-watering. Keep the surroundings humid as the plant takes moisture from the air. You can place the container in a dish of water and pebbles to do the same.
A well-drained, rich, loose soil is preferred. You can add in a layer of mulch over the soil to retain moisture.
Normally it grows to a size of about 30cm. It grows in a vine like fashion. You can prune the plant to control its size.
Feed the plant with a dilute balanced fertilizer twice a month during the spring and summer. Water the plant before fertilizing. Cut back on fertilizing during the winter months.
Mealy bugs are a problem sometimes. Treat the plant on first sight of the infestation. Use an organic insecticidal spray or neem oil.
It is an ornamental plant and looks beautifully whimsical when grown in hanging baskets. They give a tropical look to your house. They are also said to purify the air. Sometimes they are used to decorate other trees.