Meet the string of coins plant, Xerosicyos danguyi, also commonly called the “Silver Dollar Plant”, “Dollar Vine” and “Penny Plant”.
Characteristics of the String of Coins Plant
String of coins (Xerosicyos danguyi) is a perennial succulent plant of the Cucurbitaceae family with climbing habit and forming caudex (caudiciform). It is native to the southeastern region of Madagascar where it grows mainly hanging from ravines and cliffs. It is not a very common plant in collections but it can be found anyway, in many different countries. It is considered an unattractive plant by many collectors although the morphology of its leaves is very beautiful.
This species is characterized by forming a thick root (caudex) from which long thin stems originate, highly branched and decumbent (more than 45 cm long). The stems have climbing structures called tendrils that allow them to hold onto objects and climb (the tendrils are very long and thin) freely. If the tendrils cannot reach an object, they can dry out or roll up the same stem that gave rise to it. These specialized structures are always arranged opposite the leaves.
The leaves are the main attraction of the species due to its morphology. They are arranged opposite the tendrils, have an orbicular shape (they are round, they look like coins), they are very fleshy, flat upper part and curved underside (convex), small but conspicuous petioles and greyish green. When the leaves are very young, they present a light green color and are not fleshy (they acquire fleshiness over time).
The flowers are not very attractive and generally appear on large plants. They are arranged in numerous axillary inflorescences that appear in different areas of the stems. They are small, the corolla has 4 segments that are yellowish green. It is a dioecious species; There are plants with male flowers and others with female flowers, being necessary to have both to obtain seeds.
How to Care for the String of Coins Plant
It is a very easy plant to maintain in the garden, being especially ideal for hanging outdoor pots. Here are its care requirements:
Give ample lighting
The string of coins requires a lot of light to grow optimally, being recommended direct exposure to the sun in the morning and late afternoon. It does not grow in very shady areas.
Give much heat
Provide much heat for better growth. The optimum temperature range should be between 15-35°C. It does not tolerate temperatures below 5°C.
Grow in well-draining soils
The Xerosicyos danguyi needs to grow in very permeable soils. It does not support prolonged stagnation of water because it rots easily. The plant grows well in substrates for succulents and cacti with the addition of a layer of gravel.
Water when the substrate dries completely as it is very susceptible to rotting from excess moisture. In winter seasons it should only be watered when the leaves become wrinkled.
Watch out for pests and diseases
The string of coins is not frequently attacked by pests but sometimes scale insects appear. Its main enemy is excess water in the substrate.
How to Propagate Xerosicyos danguyi
The Xerosicyos danguyi can be propagated from cuttings 10 cm or longer or from seeds. Caudex formation will only be observed by growing from seeds.