Who doesn’t love an appealing vine hanging from a small pot in their living room corner or kitchen? If you want to get one such lovely tropical vine as a houseplant, you should get Million Hearts Plant. It is an epiphytic, tropical evergreen plant that is native to the Philippines. Its popularity is due to its glossy-green, heart-shaped leaves. The tiny, little white flowers also beautify the plant and give it an attractive appearance. If you want to learn more about the amazing features and easy care tips of this adorable plant, keep reading this article.
- Dischidia Ruscifolia
- Family: Apocynaceae
- Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
- Genus: Dischidia
Origin and Distribution
This plant originated from the tropical rainforests of the Philippines. This species is also found in most of the tropical zones of Asia.
Million Hearts Plant Features
Foliage and Stem
The foliage of this plant comprises numerous small, heart-shaped leaves. These leaves are glossy green in color. On the other hand, Dischidia ruscifolia variegata is a variety of Million Hearts Plant that produces white and green colored leaves. Some of its leaves are green-colored with white borders, while others are completely white in color.
This plant produces tiny, white-colored flowers that grow on the internodes of its stem. These flowers are star-shaped with five small petals each. These flowers bloom throughout the year.
It is an evergreen epiphyte that stays green and functional throughout the year. During autumn, do not worry about this plant losing all of its foliage at once. It only sheds its leaves when they get old enough. This shedding happens one by one, and not all leaves at once.
This lovely plant can grow up to 12 inches long. As for its length, its branches can grow 3 feet long. This tropical vine looks great in small pots and hanging baskets.
This plant is not winter-hardy or frost-tolerant. It can not survive in temperature extremes or sudden temperature fluctuations. It is best if you grow it indoors, where the temperature stays constant and warm.
Although this plant grows best and thrives in humidity, it can also survive in low humid conditions. The lowest that this plant can tolerate is 40% humidity. This is why it is recommended that you regulate the humidity in its surroundings.
Due to the succulent leaves and stem, String of Million Hearts Plant is a drought-tolerant species. It can survive days of low water availability. If you forget to water the plant for some days, it will save itself from dying of thirst by consuming the stored water.
Disease and Pest Resistance
This plant is susceptible to many fungal and bacterial diseases that attack the plant only when its watering schedule or hygiene is compromised. The only way to save the plant from dying once it gets infected is by removing the infected parts.
Luckily this plant does not attract many pests. Only some sucking insects and bugs can inhabit its foliage. You can easily get rid of them by using bacterial soap or neem oil.
It is a fast-growing plant that grows quickly by climbing through its aerial roots. You should provide its foliage with support to encourage its growth rate. The growth rate of this plant increases even more if it is grown in ideal conditions.
The USDA plant hardiness growth zones recommended for this plant are 10 and 11.
This plant is not toxic to humans or animals. However, the sap from its stem and leaves irritates the skin when contacted. This is why you should always wear gloves while handling this plant.
Just like its closely related Hoyas, Dischidia ruscifolia is also a low-maintenance plant. It does not fuss much about anything at all. If you know how to grow a Hoya plant, you already know how to grow Million Hearts Plant; both have similar care requirements.
This plant goes into a resting stage during winters. During these days, it does not require any maintenance or care. You should never fertilize this plant during these days, nor over-water it. Occasional misting protects the plant from dehydration.
Million Hearts Plant Care
Million Hearts Plant care involves weekly watering and regular misting. The plant must be grown in a loose potting mix, either orchid bark, coco husk chips, or sphagnum moss. The temperature must be kept around 20-30°C, and it should be fertilized every three weeks with diluted liquid fertilizer.
This epiphyte needs thorough watering once a week in the growing season. We recommend you soak it in water completely for two to three minutes to allow it to absorb as much as per its own needs. It should be allowed to get dry between watering; otherwise, this plant can die from soggy soil.
It is an epiphyte, so it can benefit from watering on its leaves too. You should mist the plant often to provide it with moisture and humidity.
As Million Hearts Plant is an epiphyte, it grows by climbing on other trees in forests. It has aerial roots that barely reach the soil. This is why we recommend you not to grow Million Hearts Plant in soil. It would be best if this plant is grown in a loose potting mix. You can use orchid bark or coco husk chips as its potting mix. These two ingredients have great aeration and sharp draining properties. Your plant will also be safe from any standing water issues as these do not retain much moisture.
It will be perfect if you place Million Hearts Plant indoors, where it will be safe from harsh sun rays. It grows best in bright, indirect sunlight. The leaves of this plant can benefit from some hours of the direct morning sun. So we recommend you place it in an eastern window. In this pot, it will receive the necessary morning sun rays, and it will also be safe from mid-afternoon hot sun.
If you want to place its pot outdoors, you will have to cover its foliage with a shade cloth to protect against any damage from the direct sun. The appearance of reddish color in its leaves is an indication that your plant is getting more sunlight than its requirement.
The optimum temperature range for Dischidia ruscifolia during daytime is 68-86°F. In this temperature range, the plant stays warmer and happy. This range falls in the range of average room temperature in the tropical zones, so this plant grows best inside a home and not outdoors.
At night, when the temperature level drops overall, this plant requires 54 -64°F to thrive. It must not be placed in a spot where the temperature exceeds or decreases than these optimum ranges.
Million Hearts Plant is native to the tropical rainforests, so it thrives in high humidity. The fresh-green foliage of this plant maintains its lush colors only when the moisture level is high around it. The ideal humidity for this plant is 40-90%. You must increase the humidity as high as you can for this plant. It can also be grown in your kitchen or bathroom where the moisture levels are pretty much higher than in the other rooms.
You can also install a humidifier in your room, but it is a costly solution. You can also regulate the humidity around it by placing it in a group with other houseplants.
This plant needs proper fertilization for healthy growth. It should be fertilized every 3 weeks with a liquid fertilizer. You can also use the regular houseplant fertilizer to feed this plant, but make sure that the fertilizer contains all the essential micro and macronutrients.
We recommend you fertilize the plant after watering it, as this practice saves the roots from getting burnt. Also, dilute the fertilizer to half its strength before adding it to the plant’s soil.
Grooming and Pruning
Dischidia Million Hearts needs light pruning before every growing season. Yearly pruning encourages more growth and branching. You should also remove any dead, yellow, or old leaves from the plant whenever you notice any. You should never prune the plant in its dormancy stages as the plant will find it more difficult to recover from the pruning stress. Plus, you should always disinfect the gardening shears before using them on your plant. If you use non-sterilized scissors or shears, your plant can get exposed to many deadly infectious diseases.
You do not need to re-pot your Million Hearts Plant every year. It needs repotting after every 2-3 years. You should not only move this epiphytic plant to a new pot but also change its potting mix. If your Dischidia plant is growing in Sphagnum moss, it needs to be renewed every twelve to eighteen months. It is recommended to use a pot that is 1-2 inches bigger than the previous one for this plant.
You should also fertilize this plant every time you re-pot it. It will help the plant come out of the transplant shock early and start growing.
Million Hearts Plant Propagation
Propagation of Million Hearts Plant is one of the easiest things to do in the plant care world. Due to its appealing beauty, it is a right of this plant that it should be propagated and its collection must be increased. The best time to propagate this plant is at the beginning of the growing season. This plant is propagated through its stem cuttings. If you do not know the basics of how to propagate this plant, we are here to help you. Here is an easy guide for your convenience:
- Take a knife and disinfect it using 70% isopropyl alcohol or ethanol.
- Use this knife to cut a healthy stem cutting of Dischidia Million Hearts.
- This stem cutting must have some leaves in it.
- Remove the bottom leaves and place the cutting in a jar of water.
- Leave it for some days.
- When you notice new roots and new stem growing out of the cutting, move it to a proper pot with a proper potting mix.
All of this propagation procedure must be handled with care while wearing gloves. This is because the stem cutting of this plant releases white-colored sap that irritates the skin.
Million Hearts plant is a beautiful tropical plant that grows in the rainforests of the Philippines and many tropical regions of Asia. This lovely vine also looks great as a houseplant if grown in hanging baskets. It is a low-maintenance plant that does not need much care or attention, so it is a great choice for all plant lovers who have got black thumbs.