Dischidia ovata: A Fruity Guide to the Watermelon Dischidia

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 (or a pot) and allowed to float their way around. They’re not an overly demanding plant, and can make an easy addition to most tropical setups.

Dischidia ovata

Where to Buy Dischidia ovata

See the links below to purchase from reputable terrarium plant shops and marketplaces (may include affiliate links). 

US – See on Etsy
UK – See on Etsy

Watermelon Dischidia Care & Growth

Plant TypeVine, epiphyte
LightingBright, indirect light
Temperature55-90°F (12-32°C)
WateringRegular, even moisture
HumidityMedium – high humidity (40-90%)
Growth2-3 inches high, 3+ feet long


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.

Dischidia ovata
Though the fresh leaves of Dischidia ovata can also come in red.

Dischidia ovata Watering

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.

Dischidia ovata
Dischidia ovata has quite shallow roots – one of the calling cards of a natural epiphyte.

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.

Dischidia ovata
Though my Watermelon Dischidia took a more vertical route…

It’s known to bloom in summer with very small, discreet bell-shaped yellow/purple flowers.

Dischidia ovata Propagation

As with many trailing vines, propagating Dischidia ovata is incredibly easy because it roots at every node.

Dischidia ovata
You can see the little roots popping out along the vine.

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.

Alternatively, you can always stay on the watermelon train and go for the Trailing Watermelon Begonia, Pellionia repens.

Common Problems

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.

Leaves turning yellow? It’s likely either from overwatering or insufficient sunlight, so those are good places to start.