String of Coins Plant: From Propagation to Perfection

Introducing the captivating string of coins plant! Known by its scientific name Xerosicyos danguyi, this delightful trailing vine also goes by charming nicknames like “Silver Dollar Plant,” “Dollar Vine,” and “Penny Plant.” With its unique coin-shaped leaves resembling shiny silver discs, this plant is sure to grab your attention and add a touch of whimsy to your indoor or outdoor garden.

string of coins plant

About the String of Coins Plant

The string of coins (Xerosicyos danguyi) is a perennial succulent plant belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family. It has a climbing habit and forms a thick, swollen stem base called a caudex. Native to the southeastern region of Madagascar, this plant hangs gracefully from ravines and cliffs in its natural habitat. While not a common sight in plant collections, its unique charm has won over many gardeners worldwide.

This species is characterized by its thick root (caudex) from which long, thin, and highly branched stems emerge, trailing up to 18 inches or more. These stems have specialized structures called tendrils that allow them to climb and cling to objects. If the tendrils cannot find support, they may dry up or curl back onto the stem they grew from. Interestingly, these tendrils are always arranged opposite the leaves.

string of coins xerosicyos danguyi

The leaves are the true showstoppers of this plant, thanks to their distinct shape. Arranged opposite the tendrils, the leaves are round and coin-shaped (hence the name), fleshy, with a flat top and curved underside. They have small but noticeable stems and a grayish-green hue. When young, the leaves are light green and gradually become plump and fleshy over time.

The flowers, while not particularly eye-catching, appear on mature plants. They are small, with a yellowish-green corolla consisting of four segments, arranged in numerous clusters along the stems. This species is dioecious, meaning some plants produce male flowers, while others produce female flowers, requiring both for seed production.

Caring for the String of Coins Plant

Maintaining the string of coins plant in your garden is a breeze, and it’s particularly well-suited for hanging outdoor pots. Here are the care requirements:

1. Ample Lighting

The string of coins thrives in plenty of sunlight. Direct exposure in the morning and late afternoon is recommended for optimal growth. Avoid very shaded areas.

2. Warmth

This plant prefers warm temperatures, ideally between 59-95°F (15-35°C). It cannot tolerate temperatures below 41°F (5°C).

3. Well-Draining Soil

The Xerosicyos danguyi needs well-draining soil to thrive. Prolonged water stagnation can lead to rot. A succulent or cactus mix with an added layer of gravel works well.

4. Sparing Water

Water only when the soil is completely dry, as this plant is highly susceptible to rot from excess moisture. During winter, water only when the leaves become wrinkled.

5. Pest and Disease Watch

While not frequently plagued by pests, the string of coins plant may occasionally encounter scale insects. Its main enemy, however, is overwatering in the soil.

String of Coins Propagation

xerosicyos danguyi

The string of coins plant can be easily propagated from stem cuttings or seeds. While both methods are effective, propagating from seeds is the only way to achieve the characteristic swollen caudex (stem base).

Propagation from Stem Cuttings

  1. Using clean scissors or pruners, take 4-inch (10 cm) stem cuttings from a healthy mother plant. Choose stems that are firm and not too woody.
  2. Allow the cuttings to callus over for a day or two by leaving them out to dry. This helps prevent rotting.
  3. Prepare a well-draining potting mix suitable for succulents or cacti.
  4. Plant the calloused cuttings about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) deep in the potting mix.
  5. Water the soil lightly and place the pot in a warm, bright location, but out of direct sunlight.
  6. Keep the soil slightly moist, but not waterlogged, until roots form and new growth appears, which can take several weeks.
  7. Once established, care for the new plants as you would for a mature string of coins plant.

Propagation from Seeds

how to propagate string of coins
  1. Obtain fresh seeds from a reputable source or harvest them from an existing plant’s female flowers.
  2. Fill a seed-starting tray or pot with a well-draining seed-starting mix.
  3. Sow the seeds about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) deep and lightly cover them with soil.
  4. Water the soil gently, taking care not to displace the seeds.
  5. Cover the tray or pot with a clear plastic dome or wrap to maintain humidity.
  6. Place the seeds in a warm location with bright, indirect light.
  7. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, until the seeds germinate, which can take several weeks.
  8. Once the seedlings have their first set of true leaves, transplant them into individual pots with a succulent or cactus potting mix.
  9. As the plants mature, the caudex (swollen stem base) will develop over time.

With patience and proper care, you’ll soon have a thriving string of coins plant collection, whether propagated from cuttings or seeds. Remember, propagating from seeds is the only way to ensure the formation of the distinctive caudex.

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