HOW TO CARE FOR STRING OF NICKELS

The Dischidia nummularia plant, which is also known as the String of Nickels, and Button Orchid, is a small cascading succulent plant grown for indoor decoration. The word Button in its name indicates the shape of its leaves that are round. The main stem grows multiple long and thin branches, each branch has multiple leaves on it. It is mostly used as a hanging plant for the walls and balconies.

The leaves of String of Nickels are arranged in opposite formations and create a beautiful shape. This beautiful plant can also be kept outdoors if the temperatures outdoors is not very low. This is because this plant is not cold hardy and extreme cold can damage it. This succulent plant is native to many countries in the tropical regions of India, Asia, and Australia. This plant can grow in rocky areas, and also even on the trunks of trees as well. Below is a complete guide about growing and taking care of this plant.

OVERVIEW

Common NameThe String of Nickels, Button Orchid.
Scientific NameDischidia nummularia.
Genus, Family Dischidia, Apocynaceae.
Size, TypeSmall to Medium, Succulent.
Color of stem, leaves, and flowersIt has green stems and branches, and leaves are also green. Its flowers are white that emerge from green buds.
Flowering SeasonEarly spring in its native areas,
Perennial/Annual.It is a perennial plant.
HardinessIt is hardy in USDA zone 10a to 11b,
Temperature range40- and 80-degrees F. (4 to 27 degrees C)
SunlightLikes to grow in a bright and sunny environment.
Growth RateMedium,

Lineage

The String of Nickel plant is from the Dischidia genus and subfamily that is called Asclepiadoideae. The plants of this family including the String of Nickels are the members of the Apocynaceae family of succulent plants. Members of this family are capable of surviving without water for a very long time. Also, members of this family are not native to desert areas, instead, they are native to mostly the tropical zones. That is why they not only can survive in the warm conditions but also the rainfall. This plant usually grows in the tree trunks hanging above the ground. This habit helps them to survive the rainfall in these areas.

Appearance

The String of Nickels is a medium-size plant, with the main stem that further divides into multiple small branches. These branches spread in all directions. The color of the stem and its branches is dark green. Each branch of the String of Nickels carries a lot of leaves that are arranged in an opposite formation. Its leaves are round, shaped like a button or a coin. Also, these leaves are green. This is a flowering succulent plant and grows small green buds. But these green buds turn into small yellow and white flowers. These flowers carry a very pleasant but very noticeable smell.

Flowering

The String of Nickels plant is a succulent plant that produces small flowers of white and yellow color during the spring. These flowers usually grow between the oppositely arranged flowers. These are very small flowers and often unnoticeable. Their smell is also very unnoticeable. Flowering happens during the start of the spring. Small buds grow first that turn into small flowers. Flowering keeps happening during the spring as this plant produces flowers more than once in the springtime.

Natural Habitat

This plant is native to the tropical regions of the world including India, Australia, Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Unlike most other succulent plants, this plant is more capable of surviving frequent watering and rainfall as it naturally grows in a raining zone. Temperatures in this region are warm and provide this plant a thriving condition to grow. Apart from this, mostly this plant grows near the mountainous shores where the soil has more sand in it.

Facts

Here are some of the basic facts about Aeonium dodrantale – String of Nickels:

  • The String of Nickels is a succulent plant from the tropical region of the world.
  • It is capable of surviving more frequent watering, and would not die because of that.
  • Its leaves are shaped like buttons and that is why sometimes it is also known as the Button Orchid plant.
  • This is a flowering plant that grows small white and yellow flowers. These tiny flowers grow between the leaves.
  • This plant is grown for its beautiful leaves and not for its flowers, also, it is a hanging succulent plant that you can hang in your balconies, and also near the walls as well.

GROWING REQUIREMENTS

Soil Nutrient-rich, porous, and well-draining.
Sun Full sunlight exposure for most of the day.
WaterRegulated water supply according to chart.
Fertilizer Make use of Macro and Micronutrients containing fertilizers.
TemperatureThrives in warm temperatures and requires protection from cold.

Soil Requirements

The String of Nickels plant is a succulent plant that grows in the tropical region, that is why its soil requirements are also slightly different from other succulent plants. This plant needs a lot of nutrients in the soil to grow, especially nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. To grow this plant in a pot, you would need to make sure that your soil contains all the macronutrients that are required apart from the micronutrients. You can add fertilizers and compost to make your soil more nutrient-rich. Soil should also be well-draining and it should not trap the moisture for the long term. You can achieve this by adding sand, pumice, and perlite to the soil mixture. They will make the soil porous and well-draining and would allow the excess water to quickly move out. 

Sunlight Requirements

The String of Nickels plant requires plenty of light to grow, that is why it is usually kept outdoors and not indoors. You can also grow this plant indoors by keeping it somewhere, where it can receive plenty of sunlight every day. Outdoors plants should also be grown in a place where they are not under the shade all the time and can get the sunlight during the morning time. Low light can induce multiple growth problems and to avoid that we must keep them in full light conditions.

Temperature Requirements

The String of Nickels plant is native to the tropical region, this region is known for its hotness. The temperature in this region can be as high as 40 degrees centigrade during a hot summer day. This plant has multiple adaptations to this type of environment and can tackle the warmth easily but when it comes to cold environments. This plant would not survive out for long. To avoid the death of the String of Nickels, you must keep it indoors during the winter if you are in a cold region. You can keep them outdoors during the summer in cold regions if temperatures are higher than 10 degrees centigrade. According to USDA hardiness zones, this plant can be planted in 10a to 11b zones. The optimum temperature for this plant’s growth is between 40- and 80-degrees F. (4 to 27 degrees C).

Water Requirements

The String of Nickels plant is a succulent plant and has similar watering needs, but it is more capable of surviving overwatering as compared to many other succulents. You can water it often, but you will need to make sure that your soil is well-draining and porous otherwise, overwatering would trap the moisture in the soil. When this happens, its roots would slowly start to rot and the plant would die. To avoid this, you must follow a complete schedule to water your plants. Below are a few important things to keep in mind while preparing the chart for watering.

  • The age of the plant must be considered while you are preparing a watering chart. This is because the watering needs of young plants are different from the older plants. Young plants cannot store water, that is why they would need frequent watering. While the older plant that could store water would need less frequent watering.
  • You should also consider the seasons as well. During the summer, your plant would need more water and more frequently. While in the winter it would need less water and less frequently.
  • You should also consider the environment in which you are growing your plant. For example, if you are living in a hot area, the watering need of your plant would be different from the one that is being grown in a cold region. That is why you should prepare a watering chart according to it as well.
  • To check the moisture in the soil, you should check if the first layer of the soil is dry, which means you should water your plant, but if the soil is not dry, you should not water your plant and let the soil dry for one or two more days.

Fertilizers Requirements

The String of Nickels plant requires nutrient-rich soil to grow. If the soil does not contain all the essential nutrients that it requires to grow, then you have the option to use compost and fertilizer for these plants. Fertilizing would help this plant grow quickly and thrive. Use a mixture of water and fertilizer to feed your plants at regular intervals.

Repotting

The String of Nickels or Button Orchid plants grow slowly, but soon they outgrow their plant and their branches start hanging from the pot. You can leave the plant in such a pot, but this would restrict the further growth of its root mesh, as a small pot would not have enough space for more roots to grow, and thus the growth of your Button Orchid plant would stop. To avoid this, you can replant the Button Orchid into a new pot that is slightly bigger than the previous one. This would allow its roots to grow and the plant would thrive as well. The best time to replant these plants is before the spring. Replanting once a year would be enough for the Button Orchid.

Pruning

The String of Nickels, or Button Orchid plant grows a lot of branches, leaves, and small flowers. These branches and leaves sometimes die and start to rot while handing with the plant. This creates a very bad look at your plant. To avoid this, you can do the pruning, pruning allows you to cut off the branches and dead leaves of the Button Orchid plant. The best time to do pruning is before and after the spring season.

Problems

The String of Nickels or Button Orchid plant can be attacked by a lot of plant pathogens that attack other succulent plants as well. These pathogens include root rot, mealy bugs, and spider mites. These pathogens can kill your plant, so, as soon as you see an attack. You should take countermeasures. You can use pesticides to kill these bugs and to avoid root rot, you can regulate your watering schedule.

Propagation

There are two different ways to propagate the String of Nickels plant. The first one requires the stem cuttings and the second one requires using the seeds. You can cut the stem carefully and keep it in the rooting hormone. The stem would grow small roots and then it can be planted in the soil. If you want to grow using the seeds, you can put their dry seeds in the ground and provide them with water. You can also cover the pot for a few days to keep higher temperature and moisture trapped inside. This would allow quick sprouting of the seeds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How to propagate String of Nickels?

There are two ways to propagate the String of Nickels plant. The first one requires the planting of seeds, while the second one requires using the stem cuttings from a mature plant.

Question: Why is my String of Nickels dying?

There can be two major reasons for the death of your plant. The first one, due to diseases such as root rot, second one due to light, temperature, and nutrients issues. There can also be more than one reason for the death of the plant as well.