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My Vertical Garden Wall

My Vertical Garden Wall


Friday, May 29, 2020

Cissus discolor - Trailing Rex Begonia


I have been keeping this one for years and I had totally neglected them. Occasionally - I would prune and used these cuttings to replant them - poking the stem - here & there to add color in my empty spaces in my hanging pots.

Usually - I will propagate these and give them away as gifts to my friends. I had not realized that I had not paid much attention to this one and plan to put their detailed information on how I care for this plant.

This is a nice cutting - a vine I took to propagate in small pots - easily it will fill up about 3-4 pots.


Cissus bicolor - Trailing Rex Begonia is actually not from a Begonia species rather it is from a Grape family. This particular one is very much cultivated as an ornament plant for the foliage features - where the colors on the leaves resembles like a Rex Begonia especially the iridescent and the coloration which many similarities.

This is a Vine - a climbing plant with tendrils appearing at the each node sections along with the leaves. And so - do consider as it may need a space where it need to climb and grow. Ideal for placing it around a fence as it will climb gracefully and the foliage facing the sun,

The foliage colors do tend to change colors - when it is placed in shaded area - it will turn more green and when exposed to bright sun - the iridescent silver appearance will be more dominant. It also have a dark burgundy border around the foliage to give a beautiful impression.

Care & Cultivation:


Similar like a Morning Glory Plant - this one do require good sunny bright area for it to grow. Heavy shaded area may cause this plant to grow leggy and the foliage size becoming small. It will trail and climb everywhere - regardless seeking light or shade as this is a prolific grower - almost invasive given the right condition to grow.

However, it does have a deciduous characteristics at the main vine and therefore do be careful when accidentally pruning it thinking it is a dried dead vine.  


It does fair well like any other hardy plants ,  all it needs is a good potting mix with a trailing space where it can climb easily. It does need good sunlight area for it grow (not recommended to grow in shaded areas) and watering is basically twice a day depending how hot & dry the weather is.

 Do refrain watering on rainy days.


Do take note which side is the top, the foliage growth appearance does seemed reversed and may get confused when after trimming not able to decide which ends goes into the pot - it is important to note this while trimming and carefully arranging it in proper cutting  basically (3-4 nodes with one node - removed of the leaf) 

Also placing this on in a semi-shade for 1-2 weeks with very light watering and observe any new growth. Once the plant start showing new growth on it's tendrils - do place in a bright area for it to trail, climb and grow.


It is a magnet for mealy bug - I still find them occasionally at the back and the leaf nodes. This is a robust plant and therefore,I don't worry about it. However I find it strange that the mealy bug infestation multiplies in great volume in the absent of the open air and sun and so, the attack can be very severe if this is planted totally indoors when fully shaded.

These are newly propagated in a small pot and the plants are doing just fine.

I had allowed this to grow at the side of my fence where it receive morning sun generously. It also climbs upon my other plants and often I had to do a check and balance in pruning and readjusting the tendrils as it doesn't choke or overwhelms other plants.

This particular plant is actually a singular plant coming from a pot planted from ground. I do recommend to do few cuttings and grow them as spares as they can sometimes totally die on you and may lost the whole species. I would consider this one rare and not many people had cultivated it.

Few of my gardener friends had planted this before and had regretted not having a spare plant. So do consider that factor in mind and plant few spares.


Waiyee Chan said...

Hi Mr James, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience on growing cissus discolor. I recently got it from a nursery and was wondering about the lighting requirements of this plant. Is it okay for this plant to have direct afternoon sun shining on it? Thank you in advance for your reply.

Wai Yee
Petaling Jaya

James David said...

Hi Wai Yee,
Thank you for visiting my blog.
Basically they do well in good bright areas but too hot direct sun can turn the leaves to yellow and slight burns.
Do handle with caution, however it is not a total shade plant either as they will slowly drop off the leaves when overstressed.
Once the plant had established itself - you can actually them them for years.

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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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