HOYA AND DISCHIDIA CARE

 

HOYA AND DISCHIDIA CARE:
(DUH-SHID-EE-A)

 Hoya and Dischidia are very similar, with really just 1 main difference we will talk about.  They are sister genera, with over 300 different species between the two in the world. Hoyas are a popular houseplant for their waxy, thick leaves and stunning displays of flowers (when they bloom).  Many varieties of Hoya have incredibly fragrant flowers. Dischidia are not as common in the houseplant world, but are gaining traction and a handful of varieties make an appearance from time to time.  Hoyas and Dischidea are also non toxic to pets and people and have been shown to remove toxins in the air.  These beautiful vining plants often grow as epiphytes (see our Plant Jargon page to learn more), climbing and twisting through the trees, reaching incredible lengths of 60 feet or more!


While Dischidia have not been studied by scientists and botanists as closely, the main difference between Hoya and Dischidia is that Dischidia typically grow in arboreal ant nests. Most Dischidia have developed a relationship, of sorts, with these ants, modified their leaves and provide protection or storage for these any colonies.  There are two types of leaf modification seen in Dischidia, the first of them being bullate leaves.  This means that the leaves of the dischidia curl inward, forming almost a ball, with an entrance for the ants.  They can colonize and store food right inside the leaves of the plant.  The other modification seen is what is called imbricate leaves.  There are other plants, like Monstera Dubia, and Rhaphidophora Hayi, that have imbricate leaves.  These leaves grow flat against the growing surface, in this case, a tree, with a small opening.  Ants can colonize under these leaves, leaving excrement behind that the plant will later absorb as a type of fertilizer with roots.
Don't worry.  Owning Dischidia will not attract ants.

 

Hoya and Dischidia all like bright light, but can tolerate medium to low light applications. Grown in lower light, they will most likely won't flower.  An East or West facing window would be ideal for a Hoya, so that they can soak in either the sunrise or sunset for a few hours each day.

A common misconception that we hear is that Hoya, and Dischidia, are just like succulents and do not have to be watered much.  This idea is not that accurate. Click here to see our Cactus and Succulent Care Guide page to compare.
These guys are epiphytic, so they want a fast draining potting mix and pretty consistent water.  Because the roots would normally attach and take water off of tree bark, and other surfaces, water your Hoya and Dischidia pretty regularly so that they get the moisture they need. Additionallly, spraying your Hoya and Dischidia with water a few times a week, or having a humidifier run continuously is great practice.  Being Epiphytic, they are drinking water from roots in the soil mix, and from their aerial roots, outside of the pot.

We recommend  a regular feeding program of high quality, water soluble fertilizer all year, diluting the fertilizer to about 50% strength.  Fish Head Farms soil conditioner is a great option to use, with your fertilizer,  year round, to provide essential nutrients and promote strong, healthy growth.

Being Epiphytic, Hoya and Dischidia really don't want dirt.  A peat moss based, fast draining mix, with lots of perlite, vermiculate and maybe even Sphagnum moss is perfect.

Our Hoya and Dischidia are typically in a pot size that is appropriate for them for a while. We only recommend repotting once every few years, and even then, you only want to move up 2" or so in pot sizes to reduce stress.  Because they are naturally Epiphytic, a small pot size is perfectly find, as the plant will put out aerial roots to obtain more water through the air.  This should be done in the Spring or early Summer months.  If you have just recently purchased your plant, do not repot it for at least 6 months.  

If you are growing your Hoya or Dischidia vertically, there is typically no need to repot, as the roots in the soil are there for some water absorption and stability.  If you are using a moss pole or totem, you should also be watering that a few times a week because the aerial roots will drink it in. 

The most common pest issues for Hoya and Dischidia are Mealy Bugs and Red Spider Mites, however, Scale can cause issues.  It is always best practice to isolate any new plants you bring in to your home for a few weeks to watch for little pests.  For help and tips on prevention and treatment of pests, see our At Home Pest Recipes here!

If you have any more questions, or need further assistance, please feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email!