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Friday, April 24, 2020

Dischidia pectinoides (Kangaroo Pocket Plant)

This is a dischidia species a cousin of a Hoya, 
known as Dischidia vidalii or Dischidia lanceolata or Dischidia pectinoides

Also commonly known as Kangaroo Pocket Plant, Ant Plant or Bladder Vine Plant.
The swallon Bladder, Pocket like pouch suppose to create a symbiotic relationship with ants and so they will take care of the plant but I had yet to see or discover such ecology happening with the plant.

I wouldn't consider this as an ant plant per say as I find there are other real authentic ant plants that truly builds that symbiotic relationship that carries that reputation.

However I do have various types of ant species invading my garden time to time and the very unfortunate types that farms and brings in aphids, mealybugs and scale insects of which I'm constantly with chemical war which these bugs till my poor plants die out of stress.
But none of them made their homes in these pockets - I wonder why?

This require semi-shade area with good ventilation. 
It does not do well in total shade wet humid areas. 

Do let it to be totally dry before the next watering - often the rotting takes place as the base of the root and the plant suffocates and turn yellow and dries off. And so do check constantly for root rot - otherwise it is fairly an easy plant to maintain.

I had crack open and found it only contained a pocket of air and this got me thinking perhaps the real reason for this feature could be for its aerial propagation method as like a balloon like fly or float away mechanism to find itself in different fertile location on tree trunks?

These flower inflorescent never seemed to open and I even thought they were buds. 
Eventually the seed pod appears and when the mature and dries it produce an airborne seeds 
(last picture below)
Hence it got me thinking not much is actually known about this plant.

The easiest way to propagate this one is using cutting similar to all dischidia and hoya. 
They do not like too much water and prefer in an airy place 
- can succumb to rot and dried off if the potting medium is too wet or too dry. 
I find the best medium that works best is coconut husk or chips. 
They seemed to retain the right amount of moisture and humidity for root growth.

Allow this one to grow freely to tangle and crawl between plants. 
Once it had established itself - it can be considered a hardy plant. 

It works well with other epiphytes and so it requires the same conditions 
- heavy fertilizers can kill this particular sensitive plant and I recommend to use half strength or orchid fertilizer for this one.

Basic Care & Maintenance of Dischidia:

This require a fast draining medium - something like orchid medium mix.
It does well with a mixture of perlite, sphagnum moss, cocopeat & bark mix.

It should not be a strong drainage mix where it doesn't hold any moisture at all but it should not be holding water too where the roots and stem can rot too. The balance of both is ideal.

Sometimes the nursery plant them - rolling them in a coconut husk making a ball from it. Another medium will be coconut husk stuffed inside a seashell with the dischidia hanging from it.
For sometime - it would look cool but eventually it get spend and burned due to lack of root growth and nutrients - making the plant leggy and trying to escape elsewhere.

I water daily and twice during the hot dry days. These can go without water for few days to a week and perhaps you have to take note on how the foliage appearance - if it appears withered or drying than watering is mandatory. The downside of watering will cost the leaves to turn yellow and start rotting - therefore - the right balance is necessary.

Dischidia is not a totally shade loving plant but you can place them in bright indoors area. I for one had experience where when it is placed in dark areas - they rarely show new growth and appears to be very leggy (the leaves nodes along the stem appear to phase out far apart and it is very unsightly especially when you prefer to have a compact foliage plants)

These are trailing plant and more on the wild side. The seemed to do well in most unforgiving conditions but at times - just barely surviving and it is indeed a slow growing plant 
- so don't expect much if you received a small cuttings and looking forward for new growth 
- It may take many months to actually notice anything.

I for one, just place them in their ideal spot and consider that done there and routinely water them on daily basis and weekly spray flowering fertilizer on them hoping them to bloom. 
Otherwise, it's another trailing foliage plant that I'm contented with.

Other Factors:

1) Do take effort to foliar fertilizer on them to induce new growth or else it will remain in that same size for months.

2) It's a trailing plant - so do allow space for it to grow and trail heavy, it will climb and vine everywhere - so do take note on that garden space in place them permanently as once it captured and coiled within the garden space - it will be difficult to remove them without cause damage to the vine or foliage.

3) This plant does produce aerial roots and may start off new shoots hence a new plant from a different location where it had rooted. You can propagate new plants from here but do it soon or if in case it had established itself - it would be too difficult to remove them without damaging them.

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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