Named for its deep green oval leaves with white venation, the Watermelon Dischidia really looks the part! Native to SE Asia and Australia, this beautiful trailing plant is a lesser known relative of the popular Hoya houseplant, but the Dischidia genus has a lot to offer and people are starting to take notice.
Dischidia ovata is a true epiphytic plant that’s just at home in the rainforest canopy as it is in a tropical terrarium. These cascading vines look stunning when mounted high in a terrarium and allowed to float their way around. They’re not an overly demanding terrarium plant, and can make an easy addition to most tropical setups.
At a Glance
Where to Buy Dischidia ovata
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Terrarium Plant Guide
Watermelon Dischidia Care & Growth
As it would be in its native rainforest canopy environment, Dischidia ovata thrives in bright, dappled sunlight. Under intense sunlight the leaves can turn red, which is often considered to be a symptom of heat stress – so that’s potentially a signal to move it to a shadier spot.
The Watermelon Dischidia is a tropical plant and so it does likes regular moisture, however it’s also an epiphyte. So, it’s used to growing on trees and branches above the ground, and not sitting in wet substrate for prolonged periods. For best results try thoroughly soaking the plant when watering, but allowing it to drain fully too.
Dischidia ovata does well when mounted high on to a terrarium background or hardscape. Though, if you do want to plant it, recreating that epiphytic environment is going to serve you well. So, you’ll need a lighter substrate with lots of aeration and great drainage (e.g. bark or orchid mix) to keep those roots happy.
Temperature & Humidity
Despite being a true tropical plant, the watermelon dischidia does just fine under regular household conditions, but it’ll really thrive in a hot and humid terrarium environment.
This terrarium vine has a trailing growth habit, so it’s best to mount it high so that you can really see it’s beautiful foliage. It’s quite a fast grower under ideal conditions so it may need the occasional trim. It’s known to bloom in summer with very small, discreet bell-shaped yellow/purple flowers.
As with many trailing vines, propagating Dischidia ovata is incredibly easy because it roots at every node. Meaning you can take any stem cutting that has a viable root node, and it should happily grow when planted in substrate or wrapped in sphagnum moss.
Varieties & Similar Plants
Dischidia are an often overlooked genus of trailing plants, closely related to the much more popular Hoya plants. Dischidia ruscifolia (Million Hearts Plant), Dischidia nummularia (String Of Nickels) and the lesser known Dischidia astephana are all great choices for terrariums too.
There are other varieties of D. ovata, including Dischidia ovata ‘Round Leaf’ which (unsurprisingly) has rounded leaves rather than oval.
Root rot is the biggest issue that people encounter with Dischidia ovata, which is why the fastest way to kill the plant is to keep it in an environment where it’s constantly wet – particularly in a soggy substrate. Plant it epiphytically and allow the leaves to dry between watering for a happy and healthy plant.