If I don’t kill a plant after a year (maybe two?!) I feel fairly confident recommending the plant to you.
And I refuse to sugar-coat the facts. There’s no point editing photos to eliminate imperfections. Plant perfection? Bah. It simply doesn’t exist.
Plants are just like people. Imperfections are real and part of the fun!
So I won’t spend countless hours editing out plant flaws so it appears as if my plants are Barbie doll perfect. Those Instagram photos are so fake.
What you see in this post is exactly what the plants actually look like!
The string of coins plant is a perfect choice for an outdoor xeric garden on your balcony or scrambled around your patio, walls, fences, trellis, or hanging basket.
But my climate is colder so my only option is to grow indoors in a hanging basket with its vining tendency or plant in a pot. Give the string of coins plant a place to trail.
So without further ado, here’s why you must have a string of coins plant of your own.
Alternative names, appearance & decorative uses for the strings of coins plant….
The string of coins plant or Xerosicyos danguyi (if you want to get all fancy) has several fun names. It’s also called the penny plant, silver dollar vine and silver dollar succulent.
This plant was introduced to me by my friend Cheri as the string of coins plant so that’s the name I use.
The string of coins plant has fleshy, nearly round silvery-gray leaves, blue-green or gray-green leaves. At first, the leaves are pea-green in color but become silvery gray and more succulent or plump as they mature.
These flat leaves measure about 4cm (1.6 inches) long, and 3.5 cm (1.4 inches) wide and are about 0.6 cm (0.25 inches) thick. Their petioles are 0.8-1.5 cm long.
Rumor has it that these plants can grow 12 to 16 feet high and roughly 4 to 6 feet wide. But, it isn’t so aggressive when grown as an indoor houseplant and doesn’t get very tall.
It’s a fairly slow grower in my own home. New growth tends to grow straight up for a few days then it plops over the side of the pot.
The leaves grow in an alternative manner along with their green-colored branches or stems while a new growth has a brownish tip.
Xerosicyos danguyi has a vine-like, thick cylindrical stem with small forked and branched delicate curly tendrils for anchoring to the host.
On young plants, the main stems will grow for up to two feet before growing branches. Also, plants propagated by seeds will have a small tuber or caudex at the base (cuttings don’t have).
Finally, their branches are thin, cylindrical, and grow upright until they start branching too.
|Scientific name||Xerosicyos danguyi|
|Family||Cucurbitaceae (guard family or cucurbits)|
|Common names||Silver dollar vine, dollar vine, penny plant, or silver dollar succulent|
|Size||12-16 ft high and 4-6 feet wide|
|Leaves||Almost round blue-green, very-gray leaves, or gray-green leaves|
|Flowers||This plant has greenish-yellow Inflorescence|
|Stems||Cylindrical, woody, vine-likes stems delicate tendrils|
|Light requirement||Indirect bright light, partial to full sun|
|USDA Zone||9 to 11|
|Temperature||Wide range, from 20°F to over 90 °F|
|Humidity||Low to moderate|
|Soil||Well-drained soil, slightly acid with pH of 6.0 – 6.5 such as the succulent or cacti mix|
|Watering||Moderate, soak and dry watering method|
|Propagation||Mainly cuttings, but at times seeds|
|Toxicity||Not toxic to dogs, cats, or humans|
Temperature, humidity and potting requirements for the string of coins plant
This plant is native to Madagascar, growing in sub-arid (slightly arid) bushland forests.
It requires low to medium humidity but can tolerate even higher levels. When it is humid, reduce watering or mist it when the humidity is low in your home.
The ideal temperature for growing Xerosicyos danguyi is 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 to 26.7°C). So standard room temperatures are perfect.
Shockingly, the string of coins plant can withstand a wide temperature range, including light frost as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-3.9°C) and as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40°C) since they resist heat very well.
But I bring my plant inside well before there’s any danger of frost to play it safe.
The Xerosicyos danguyi needs to grow in very permeable soils. The string of coins plant grows well in substrates for succulents and cacti with the addition of a layer of gravel. Water when the substrate dries completely as it is very susceptible to rotting from excess moisture.
The string of coins plant actually comes from the same family as cucumber and squash! Who knew?
Light and watering requirements for the string of coins plant
The string of coins plant prefers partial to full direct sun for 6-8 hours a day, just as it is in their natural tropical Madagascar habitat.
There’s no doubt they enjoy growing outside or where they can get partial to full sunlight. So Floridians…this is the plant for you. Don’t worry about the hot summer weather as they resist heat and drought pretty well.
But for many of us, other than a few short summer months, growing indoors is a must. They can adapt to an indoor environment with plenty of light. These plants absolutely love to be in the light!
Place these ornamentals in a south-facing window where they can get adequate sunlight. Never overwater them.
Silver dollar succulents are very drought tolerant, meaning don’t have a high-water requirement and should water them like you would your succulents.
Deeply water in the summer growing season and drastically cut down in winter.
How often you water Xerosicyos danguyi depends on whether it is indoor or outdoor and the season. All you have to do is let the soil dry completely before watering it again.
Finally, avoid overwatering your silver coins plant as it may cause root rot, especially during the non-growing season or if grown indoors. A drainage hole is a must-have since sitting in stagnant water is a big no-no.
This is always my struggle so I can’t overemphasize enough letting the pot dry out 100% before watering again. In winter seasons it should only be watered when the leaves become wrinkled, roughly once a week.
Easy propagation tips for the string of coins plant
Xerosicyos danguyi propagation is most easily done by cuttings.
Yes…you can use seeds but I wouldn’t advise it because it’s so hard. Sow them after the last frost on moist seeding mix and maintain a temperature of about 70°F (21°C). The seeds should germinate after two to three weeks. However, this method is unreliable and it takes forever to get a full-grown plant.
So the best propagation option is using cuttings. The best time of year to propagate a silver coins plant would be during the active growing season in spring unless you live in Florida or any other warm climate. Then just about any time of year would work.
Here is how to propagate the silver coins plant:
- Cut a mature stem with at least 3-5 leaves. Don’t cut the main stem as it will not grow again. It will dry off or callus, and instead, a branch will grow from the lower node of the stem.
- Then allow it dry for a few days to callus the area where you cut it. A sunny windowsill is ideal. The exact duration will depend on weather conditions. If it doesn’t scab over or callus, it will absorb too much water when you water and rot or become infected.
- After it scabs, grow your Xerosicyos danguyi cuttings in soil and lightly water by misting daily. Never let the potting mix dry out completely. Just don’t overwater and allow the pot to become soggy. Before potting you can always add a little bit of rooting hormone to speed things up!
- During propagation, place the cutting in a bright, shaded area or one with filtered light. A 30% shade cloth or greenhouse will work well. After a few weeks, you can gently tug your cutting to confirm that it has rooted.
- Cross your fingers and be patient. It may take two to three weeks before you see new shoots growing, and this can happen with or without roots (they may grow later).
Xerosicyos danguyi leaf propagation is not possible. Yes, the leaf may have roots, but it needs a stem with a node from where a new shoot will start growing. The key here is node!
Therefore, you cannot propagate it with leaves as you do with a begonia rex, cactus with pads, jade plant, kalanchoe, peperomia, etc.
Re-potting and fertilization requirements…
If you purchased or received a new plant from a friend allow 3-4 weeks for the plant to adjust to the new environment before repotting. Plant shock is real!
Afterward, you will have to repot it biennially (every other year) or when it is root bound.
Usually, when root bound, you will see roots are growing through drainage holes. You can also gently slide it out of the pot to see if the roots are curly.
Again, the best time to repot the silver coins plant is spring (growing season), and you need to select a pot that is at least three inches wider and deep enough to accommodate the roots while leaving space for more to grow.
And a drainage hole at the bottom of the pot is an absolute must!
When repotting, use a new cacti/succulent mix, place some in the pot, put your plant in the middle, and add more potting mix.
Overall, I find that the more I don’t fuss over this plant, the better it does! That and….light and more light.