Dischidia is a genus of plants in the Milkweed family, Apocynaceae. Dischidia are closely aligned with the sister genus Hoya.
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What is Dischidia?
It isn’t correct to call Dischidia a carnivorous plant, but in a sense they do attract ants and eat the dead ones – lending to its commonly referenced name of ant plant. Ants live inside the strange balloon-like organs produced by the plant. They bring in nutrients and fend off predatory insects. In return, the plant provides a secure home. This is a fun and unique plant to grow in your home (without the ants). Dischidia plant care is easy provided you follow a few cultivation rules.
Dischidia plants belong in the milkweed family. Broken stems ooze milky latex sap and the plant often grows aerial roots. Dischidia pectenoides is the type most commonly grown and produces tiny red flowers and pouch-like leaves. It is inside these modified leaves that the ants make their home.
Over time, organic material that is left to rot inside the leaves will get absorbed by the plant as it grows roots into the leaves to harvest the material. Try growing Dischidia in a hanging pot or trained to a small trellis.
The Details: Everything You Need to Know About Ant Plants
Ant plants are best as houseplants. They are particular when it comes to heat, watering and soil so it’s best to understand the particulars before bringing one home or growing.
Heat, Humidity, and Sun
Ant plants prefer warm and humid tempuratures where temperatures need to be higher than 60 degrees. Although preferring a warm environment, ant plants should not get direct sunlight, making them ideal indoor house plants. The combination of warmth without direct sunlight make them great plants to place in the bathroom.
Moist soil is preferred by the ant plant but overwatering is a big no-no. Drainage is key to growing and maintaining a healthy and happy ant plant. Ant plants can sustain dry soil more than it can handle saturated soil.
Because ant plants prefer damp soil but can’t handle overwatering, the key is to have soil that offers proper drainage that doesn’t allow for water to collect. As Ant plants are best indoors, continuous fertilizing and checking of soil is key to maintain an ant plant
For more details on ant plants, read through the following articles.
Gardening 101: Ant Plant
Nicknamed the ant plant,”Dischidia pectinoides is a curious little specimen that belongs to the same family as milkweed. It is a family of oddballs: climbers and vines with swollen-pocket leaves that resemble ravioli. These pods are called bullate leaves. Their insides can be hollow (not filled with ricotta and spinach) or in the case of some milkweeds, holding sticky, milk-colored fluid. Dischidia pectinoides has leaves with hollow interiors. In its native jungles and rain forests, the leaves are home to ant colonies that help pollinate the plant in exchange for, well, room and board.
But never fear. Though Dischidia pectinoides is a veritable bed and breakfast for bugs in the wild, as an indoor plant, it will not roll out the welcome mat to pests. In fact, for a loyal and low-maintenance bathroom decoration, there is no better choice than the Dischidia pectinoides. Ant plant is an epiphyte, which means it only needs sunlight, air, and a bit of water to survive. Requiring no soil, it thrives in a terrarium or in a shell.
You can also plant Dischidia pectinoides in a 3-inch pot and suspend from the ceiling with a length of twine.
With its moisture and steam, a bathroom reminds the Dischidia pectinoides of its home in the rain forest. This houseplant is so lavatory-loving that it is content to bloom there for years and years, spicing up your loo with tiny red buds. Every time you take a shower, don’t forget you’re also feeding your Dischidia pectinoides its lunch.
Root rot is a big problem with Dischidia plants, and it’s usually a direct result of over watering. You will need to be very careful when it comes to making sure that your plant gets just the right amount of water on a regular basis.
- There are several types of Dischidia plants, some of which produce reddish-colored leaves when exposed to direct sunlight each day.
- You shouldn’t keep these plants in direct sunlight for more than a few hours per day. They need to be kept in a nice shady spot most of the time.
- Make sure that you water your Dischidia plant every two to three days. You should wait for the soil to get somewhat dry before watering it.
- These plants can be grown in hardiness zones of 10 and 11.
- You can keep Dischidia plants outside in temperatures of 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It is best to bring these plants inside during the colder months of the year.
- Repotting these plants can be tricky, as they often become rootbound. Take care not to damage the plant’s root system when transferring it to a larger container.
- While these plants are not poisonous if ingested, their sap can cause skin irritation with some people.
Hi, my name is Victoria and I´m the owner and main author of hobby plants. I love spending my free time in my garden planting and taking care of my plants. I hope you enjoy the content here!