Dichondra - Silver Nickel Vines


Dichondra argentea 'Silver Falls'


Top Tips

  • Keep the soil evenly moist, allowing the pot to feel light in between waters. It's advised to hydrate the plant using the bottom-up method of submersion, for the prevention of rotting foliage (caused by prolonged moisture on the leaves).
  • Bright, indirect light is best, but offering a few hours of morning or evening sun is highly beneficial.
  • Supplement monthly using a houseplant fertiliser, all year round.
  • In spring, repot every three years with houseplant compost. Water the plant 24hrs beforehand, to reduce the risk of damaging the root hairs. (Transplant shock).




Water - 🔸🔸

Dichondra are well-equiped to endure short lived droughts - which is why they're used in sunny hanging baskets. Once the pot begins to feel light again, rehydrate the soil using the bottom-up method of submersion. Place the plant on a saucer and fill the bottom 25% with lukewarm water; it should only take a few minutes for full absorption. Never allow excess moisture to sit on the foliage as it could cause rotting foliage or even powdery mildew. Under-watering symptoms include the curling or crisping of leaves, yellowed foliage, stunted growth and a 'washed out' appearance. These issues are usually caused by too little soil moisture and too much light/heat. Although they prefer to be kept on the drier side to life, poor soil conditions will increase the chance of dehydration and disease susceptibility. Over-watering will create leaf-loss at the base (leaves closest to the soil), root rot, and possible stem collapse. These are usually down to too much soil moisture -  be sure to allow at least half of the soil dry out in between waterings and consider a brighter location, too.


Humidity - 🔸

High humidity isn't required for Dichondra; however, misting the leaves during hot spells will help keep them hydrated as long as it's not in direct sunlight. Over-misting the foliage could cause several fungal issues down the line, like powdery mildew or leaf spot disease, especially if it's grown in a shady location.


Location & Light - 🔸🔸🔸

Provide a bright location that offers a few hours of either morning or evening sun. A shady will significantly increase the chance of root-rot, as well as much slower growth. The ideal location around the house would be within a few metres of a window or in a semi-shaded conservatory.


Fertilisation - 🔸🔸

Supplement at monthly intervals using either houseplant feed, or a general planf fertiliser at half the recommended strength.




Common Issues with Dichondra

Root rot is the biggest issue. Typical symptoms include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth and stem collapse. Those situated in darker locations and/or too-soggy soil are most likely to be hit with this issue. Take the plant out of the pot and inspect its root systems - if they sport a yellow appearance, you're okay, but if they're brown and mushy, action must be taken immediately. More information about addressing root rot can be found on this link.

Yellowing leaves or a naked base are products of excess moisture being allowed to sit on the foliage, commonly sped up by too little light or poor air circulation. Although watering from the top is best, it's recommended to use the bottom-up method if you're a messy waterer. For specimens that have a bare head, improve growing contains by using this method and increasing light levels slightly. Promote a bushier appearance by taking vine cuttings and placing them halfway down into the soil. Immediately remove yellowed or rotten debris as this will harbour both bacterial and fungal diseases that can both spread across to other sections of the plant.

Never situate it within four metres of an operating heat source, for instance a radiator or fireplace. Due to the heightened temperature, the plant will soak up far more moisture than those situated in cooler locations, increasing the chance of droughts and browning leaf-edges.

Too much sunlight will lead to sun scorch, with typical signs including the browning or crisping of leaves, dry leaf-edges, sunken leaves or stunted growth. Although too little light will cause over-watering issues, too much sunlight will be a detriment, too. If yours has fallen short of this, reduce the amount of sunlight considerably and always be mindful of environmental shock (when too locations offer too different growing conditions). Remove some of the affected leaves and increase waters slightly.

As mentioned before, powdery mildew and southern blight are major threats among heavy foliage plants when excess moisture is allowed to sit on compacted foliage. Remove the affected areas and improve the growing conditions by situating the plant in a brighter location and keeping the leaves dry.




Origins

Dichondra originates from New Zealand and was first described back in the 1780's by Georg & Johann Forster. For those who don't know who these explorers are, they accompanied Captain Cook during his Second Voyage to the Pacific, and took notes of the yet-to-be discovered Kentia Palms and Norfolk Island Pines. The name, Dichondra, derives from Ancient Greek meaning 'two' and 'grains', which is in reference to the fruits produced in the autumn.


Temperature

5°C - 30°C   (41° - 86°F)
H2 - can be grown outdoors throughout the year in a sheltered location away from the sun, but is fine to remain indoors. If you decide to bring this houseplant outdoors, do not allow it to endure more than an hour of direct sunlight a day, as the sudden change between environments will lead to sun-scorch. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back into the home.


Spread

Up to 15cm in height and 2m in width, with the ultimate height being reached in 1 - 3 years.


Pruning

Remove yellowed or dying leaves and plant debris to encourage better growth and improve the all-round appearance. Pruning must be done with clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases - remember to make clean incisions as too much damage can shock the plant.


Propagation

Via seed or vine cuttings. To learn about the essentials with sowing seeds, be sure to click on this link - Seed Propagation Tips.


Vine Cuttings

  1. Choose the healthiest, most established vines from the leading growths. This propagation method can be taken from spring to summer, using between three to six leaves, with the vine being at least 8cm (3 inches) in length.
  2. Cut directly below a nodes (leaf), using a clean pair of scissors to reduce bacteria count.
  3. Use a 5 inch pot that has good drainage holes - plastic or terracotta are both acceptable in this instance.
  4. Set the cutting into the compost, keeping the foliage above the soil line. Be sure to submerge the bottom node into the soil, or else its root development will be hindered.
  5. Avoid direct sunlight and offer good humidity by placing the potted plants into a transparent plastic bag for the first couple of weeks.  Keep the soil evenly moist almost all of the time.
  6. Open the bag every two days for half an hour for the prevention of disease. After a month of being placed in soil, remove it from the bag and treat like an ordinary houseplant.


Flowers

Dichondra will produce small clusters of white flowers along the leading growths in the summer months. Unfortunately, due to the unfavored growing conditions indoors, they'll rarely flower when domestically cultivated.


Repotting

Repot every three years using Houseplant Compost and the next sized up pot. Water the plant's soil 24hrs before the repot, as damage to the dry root hairs will cause transplant shock. For matured specimens, introduce more grit to promote a stronger root ball; click on this link for more information on how to perform the perfect transplant.


Diseases & Pests

Typical diseases associated with Dichondra are leaf-spot disease, botrytis, powdery mildew & root rot. Keep an eye out for spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, whitefly, root mealybugs, scale & thrips. Click here for more information about how to identify and address any of these issues.


Toxicity

This plant is classified as poisonous. due to varying concentrations of calcium oxalate crystals found around the plants body. If parts of the plants are eaten, vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite could occur. Consumption of large quantities must be dealt with quickly; acquire medical assistance for further information.


Retail Locations

Some garden centres will sell this outside in the hanging basket selection during the spring - mainstream stores are Dobbies & Blue Diamond.

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