Xerosicyos Danguyi/ Silver Dollar Vine, String of Nickels/ String of Coins is a very popular, but quite a rare succulent with coin shaped leaves. While it is fairly hardy there are a few tricks to keeping it happy and propagating.
In this article we will look at how to successfully grow Xerosicyos Danguyi.
Xerosicyos Danguyi is native to Madagascar and grows as a scrambling/ climbing vine.
The leaves are round, like a coin, and grow on a woody stem. Older leaves are dark green, plump and hard, while the new growth is brownish, turning light green and also quite tender. It takes some time (depending on the time of the year and position of the plant) for the new leaves to harden off and become thick.
The most unusual feature of this plant are tendrils that are just like the ones on peas. Xerosicyos Danguyi uses these tendrils to attach itself to trees, or any other supporting objects. If left to grow in a pot, it is likely the leaves will become too heavy and the plant will have a weeping/hanging appearance. Many people take advantage of this and grow the Silver Dollar Vine in tall pots or hanging baskets.
Xerosicyos Danguyi can scramble indefinitely if left to its own devices. If support like a fence or a trellis is provided, it will use the tendrils to climb up.
Yellow flowers appear when the plants are mature and can produce seed when pollinated.
Position & Care
Depending on where you’re from Xerosicyos Danguyi should be an easy plant to grow inside or out, when established. Young plants that still have some growing to do will be best off outdoors in a bright shade.
In our nursery (Australia NSW) we grow these plants outdoors all year round and they grow well in pots and the ground. However, this will not be possible everywhere as Xerosicyos Danguyi is not frost hardy and will die if left out in the cold below the freezing point.
If your part of the world experiences regular frost or snow during winter, it is best this plant is brought indoors for the winter. Make sure to place it in the brightest spot in the house.
It is possible to grow Xerosicyos Danguyi indoors permanently, but the growth will be extremely slow. The brighter the spot, the better it will fare. A little bit of sun coming through the window is beneficial, though beware of the hot summer afternoons as you can literally cook the plant if it’s immediately behind glass on a hot day. XD does not necessarily mind the heat (it survives the 40+ C/ 104F summers here), just the direct sunshine on particularly hot days. Just like your skin would burn in 104F, so would the plant.
Xerosicyos Danguyi is not particularly susceptible to rot, though it should not sit in soggy potting mix for too long. The best way to water this plant, and many other succulents, is to wait until the potting mix dries up a bit. I find that if the potting mix is slightly moist (but not too wet) all of the time during the warmer months, XD grows really well. Plants grown indoors should be watered less frequently because the water does not evaporate as quickly as if the pot was outside.
Outdoors, the Silver Dollar Vine will grow best in a bright, but shaded spot. Our nursery XDs grow under 30% shadecloth. Morning sun is usually good, though again, beware of those heatwaves where temperature can climb into the 40C/ 104F in the late morning. If your part of the world does not experience these temperatures in summer, you are so very lucky and don’t need to worry too much about the sun burning your plants.
Where possible, use succulent potting mix. Although Xerosicyos Danguyi will survive in most mixes the better the quality of the potting mix, the nicer your plant will look. You can add a little perlite or pumice to your potting mix to make it more airy.
To speed up the growth slow release fertilizer can be sprinkled on top of the potting mix round about mid spring. This is when your plant is waking up from its winter dormancy and will welcome some nutrients to power the growth. To further assist growth, re-pot the plant with fresh potting mix once a year in spring and upgrade the pot one size up if needed.
Although Xerosicyos Danguyi is not that hard to propagate, there are a few things to be aware of.
First and most important is to only propagate XD in its growing season. Mid spring is the best time, though the cuttings will send roots in Summer too. It is not recommended to propagate in autumn & winter as the plant will not send roots once winter is imminent.
The second thing to know is that Xerosicyos Danguyi is best propagated by cuttings of mature branches. Unlike with many other succulents, XD cannot be propagated from a single leaf. Leaves will send roots but will not produce new growth unless a bit of the main stalk was cut off with it. We have a separate article about this here. The plant also flowers and produces seed, but propagating seeds can often be unreliable and lengthy. To get from seed to any decent size plant could take years.
At the nursery we don’t propagate any other way than cuttings. To get a good strike rate, it is important to choose an older branch that has a woody stem and plump, dark green leaves. New growth that is still tender may still root, but it is also very likely to die off or not produce a very nice plant.
There should be at least 3 or more leaves on the branch. Long branches can be cut further. The cuttings should then be left to dry for at least a day, so the wound heals and there is less chance of disease or rot setting in the wound. In our experience, Xerosicyos Danguyi is not very susceptible to rot though.
After the drying, the cuttings can be planted straight in succulent potting mix and placed in a bright but shaded spot. Cuttings and young plants can be a little sensitive to direct sun, but at the same time they need loads of light to grow well. Do not water for the first couple of days but start after otherwise, the cuttings can dry out. Let the potting mix dry between waterings. In spring, the cutting should send roots in about 2-3 weeks. It can, however, take longer. Do not propagate if you’re experiencing a particularly cold spring (wait until it warms up) or if there is still a danger of frost.
The good news is that pests don’t usually bother this plant much. Root mealy bugs can attack, but it doesn't happen that often. Aphids are also rare but may sometimes feed on brand new growth as can slugs and snails. All of these pests can be controlled- where possible use environmentally friendly pesticides or the good ol’ squash method.
Aphids can be squashed and washed off and root mealy bugs can also be washed out from the roots. Make sure you are thorough as they reproduce quickly if any are left on the plant.
Where Can I Get It
Unfortunately, these plants can be difficult to find and often quite expensive as they are not fast growers and only propagate in the warm months. If you are in Australia our nursery sells Xerosicyos Danguyi here.
In other parts of the world try nurseries specialising in succulents, eBay, Amazon or Facebook marketplace.
A word of advice- never buy leaves (leaves will not grow) or cuttings that are tiny. It is always best to buy rooted plants. If you want to go down the road of buying cuttings make sure you get them in the growing season (spring, summer) and that they are robust with plump leaves. Where possible check the ratings of the seller.