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Cissus discolor is a very popular houseplant due to its striking, large leaves and sprawling growth. Cissus plants can be grown in containers, hanging baskets or as vines climbing up trellises.
This leafy plant is part of the Vitaceae (grapes), and the genus Cissus which contains 350 species of woody vines. Cissus Rhombifolia, also known as grape ivy, is the most well-known.
People call this plant rex begonia because of its unusual pattern on the long, wide leaves. It has large, striking leaves that resemble various painted begonia leaf hybrids.
It’s not the fastest-growing houseplant and can be difficult to maintain. You can enjoy vibrant, full-color foliage by giving the plant lots of sun, warmth, and placing Cissus discolor in an attractive hanging basket.
We’ll also discuss how to propagate Cissus, diseases, and pests and give you information about any problems your plant might have like bumps or curling, yellowing, or fallen leaves.
What is a Cissus Discolor Plant?
Cissus discolor is the botanical title for a beautiful tropical vine called the rex-begonia vine, or the Tapestryvine. Although this plant is not related to actual Rexbegonias, its multicolored leaves look very much like a Rexbegonia.
This vine plant, a native to Southeast Asia, includes Java and Cambodia, is closer to a grape than a begonia (it is part of the Vitaceaefamily). Cissus also has C. Rhombifolia (a common houseplant known for grape ivy), and C. Quadrangularis is a medicinal plant that has a thick stem. Although there are many other species in the genus Cissus, most of them are not regularly cultivated.
Cissus discolor is a popular houseplant. However, I have found that it does better outdoors in the warmer months. This article will discuss both how to care for the plant as a houseplant as well as how to care it outdoors.
Cissus discolor also known as begonia vine, is an evergreen, perennial, trailing, and flowering plant of the grape family Vitaceae, which is especially native to Southeast Asia. Cissus syn is another houseplant in the Vitaceae family. Cissus Amazonica, grape ivy or Cissus Rhombifolia, and chestnut vine (Tetrastigma Voinierianum).
This is a beautiful houseplant and garden plant. Its long, heart-shaped leaves are admired for their silvery-white mottling and deep reddish-purple underneath. Its foliage is somewhat similar to salsa, which is why it’s called “Rex Begonia”. It is not a begonia.
It is sometimes called Cissus Javana because it comes primarily from Java Island (Indonesia). It is also found in Thailand, Vietnam, and China.
How to grow rex-begonia vines
They are perfect for hanging baskets and potted houseplants. They can be given flower poles, trellis or hoops or they can fall down.
You can place them in your home on shelves or desk tops, or hang them wherever you like, even in your bathroom or office.
You can also grow them in mixed borders. If your winter temperatures aren’t too cold, they can be trailed by other trees or outdoors.
Identification and appearance
Let’s first look at how this houseplant looks. We’ll discuss size, leaves, stems and flowers.
1. Size and growing habits of Cissus javana
Cissus discolor is a climbing, herbaceous and fast-growing plant. It can reach up to 6-8 feet in height or more and is about 0.75-1 foot wide.
It is usually found in its natural habitat between 1960 and 6500 feet above the sea level in tropical rainforests.
Cissus discolor plants are known for their velvety, elongated, heart-shaped leaves that measure 3 to 6 inches in length and 2 to 4 inches in width. They resemble ovate leaves that are longer and have a cordate base.
The upper side of the leaves is deep green, with silvery-white mottling radiating outwards from their center and burgundy streaks along their midribs, veins, edges. While their undersides are deep-reddish-purple.
Cissus Discolor Slender has long, heart-shaped, deep green leaves that are heart-shaped. They have silvery mottling or burgundy veins along with deep purple blotches on the edges and veins.
These plants are highly sought-after because they have a stunning coloration and don’t have many conspicuous flowers.
The leaves feel velvety and raised when touched. Cytoliths are calcium carbonate-based bumps that can be found on the leaves. These serve to protect the plant-eating insects and animals.
These cystoliths should not be confused with any other conditions or diseases. They are common.
3. Stems and vines
Reddish vines and stems are characteristic of the Rex begonia vine. They may sometimes appear burgundy or purplish and have some resemblances to the undersides of the leaves.
Reddish tendrils and stems
They are able to climb with their wispy tendrils and alternate leaves.
4. Cissus Javana flower
Tapestry vine plants have summer-blooming, inconspicuous bisexual yellow flowers. They grow to less than 1 inch in diameter and cluster together from the axils, which are triangular structures made by stem and leaf. A bud might also sprout.
Cissus discolor yellowish flowers
Rex begonia vines bear inedible, 1/4-inch berries in late summer and early fall.
Cissus discolor fruit
This plant won’t even produce berries if grown in a house. It is possible in nature.
Cissus discolor Care and Growing Requirements
For best leaf variegation, Cissus discolor plants need a warm, humid environment with indirect, bright sunlight. They require moderate water, so make sure the soil is not too dry or soggy. They wilt quickly.
If you fulfill all the requirements, there is no difference in Cissus discolor indoor or outdoor care.
These are the growing needs and care:
1. USDA hardiness zone
The Cissus discolor plant is a USDA zone 11 species. It can grow in USDA hardiness zone 11. There are temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 and 10 degrees Celsius).
These plants can be grown outdoors by people living in these areas all year. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit please bring them inside.
Cissus discolor can be grown at 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit (18deg C to 27deg C). They can also thrive in normal home temperatures.
The temperature in Java Island and Cambodia is typical for tapestry vine plants.
This range shows that houseplants thrive in warmer climates and can withstand temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
They are however not frost-hardy. People who have rex begonia vines that are grown outdoors during cold winters should bring them indoors.
Cissus discolor plants like high humidity. They will survive on average humidity, even if it’s not on the lower end. They will tolerate temperatures of 50% or higher.
These houseplants can only grow in Southeast Asia’s tropical rainforests which are both warm and humid. They will therefore appreciate more humidity.
To increase humidity, we recommend you use a clay tray, mist them regularly or a humidifier. But, do not place your plant too close the humidifier.
Your begonia vine can shrivel/wilt in low humidity. The leaves might also turn yellow, brown edges, or become crispy and dry. The leaves can also fall occasionally.
Your Cissus should be grown in bright indirect lighting but not direct sunlight. The beautiful colors, especially those with silvery hues, may not be visible if they are grown in lower light conditions. They will also grow slowly.
Avoid direct sunlight, as it can burn delicate rex begonia leafs. The foliage will appear faded if it is exposed to too much light.
If you find the plant near any windows that receive direct sunlight, move the plant to another location.
The best window to look out of is the north-facing one. If you want to place your houseplant far from the windowsill, however, the best windows are either east-facing or west-facing.
You can place your houseplant in any window that faces south, even if it is not directly facing the sun. To avoid direct sunlight, play around with the position of your houseplant.
If you grow Cissus discolor outside, choose places with filtered sunlight. A greenhouse or 40% shade cloth are also good options.
Cissus discolor soil must be well-drained, rich in nutrients, and slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6.0 to 7.0), which includes loamy or sandy soils.
We usually use standard houseplant-potting mixes. To improve drainage, we add 5-10% pumice or perlite. Root rot is less likely to occur in well-drained soils.
Most potting mix ingredients are made with coconut coir or peat moss. However, you don’t need to add much. Always read the label.
Avoid potting mixes with bark or compost. They can increase the likelihood of gnat infestations.
Cissus discolor requires moderate watering. Let the soil dry slightly before you start another session. Cissus discolor houseplants like moist soil.
You should water them more often during the growing season (spring, and summer), and reduce water consumption during winter and autumn. However, it is important to ensure that the potting mixture doesn’t dry out completely during non-growing seasons.
The time it takes for the soil to dry will determine how often you water your rex begonia plants. The speed at which the potting mixture dries will depend on factors such as temperature, humidity, and air circulation.
Rex begonia vines should be watered every 3 to 5 working days. Feeling the soil is a better way to decide if you should water it. Allow the soil to dry for a few inches, but not completely.
Soak the soil in water until the excess water runs out of the drainage holes.
1). Cissus overwatered discolors
Overwatering your tapestry vine plants is one of the best ways to do it. Root rot can occur, which may become irreversible in the advanced stages. These plants do not like soggy soil.
Other than a vine that is always soggy or has very wet soils these are other signs it is overwatering.
- Yellowing of leaves
- When root rot sets in, it can cause withering
- Top potting mix molds
- Mushy stem bases
- Falling Leaves
Overwatering can be dangerous, but it is not harmful. Cissus tends to discolor very quickly so you should never overwater. These are signs that your plant is thirsty:
- Mixture of potting soil and parched.
- Stunted growth
- Droopy leaves
- Leaf tips and edges that are discolored, often brown crispy leaves
Fertilizers are a great option for these houseplants. These fertilizers will improve the growth of your plants and make them look vibrant and lush.
Cissus discolor should be fertilized with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer once every three to four weeks during the growing seasons (spring, summer). They aren’t growing in winter so don’t fertilize during that time.
Lack of nutrients can lead to poor or stunted growth. However, excessive fertilizer and leaf discoloration can be detrimental.
These are signs that fertilizers are too high in quality:
- Yellowing and wilting of leaves
- Tips and margins of brown leaf
- Leaves dropping
- Stimulated growth
8. Pruning the rex begonia vine
Cissus discolor does not require much pruning. Use sterilized pruning shears and scissors to remove dead, dry or damaged leaves. Unsterilized scissors can spread diseases to your plants.
You can also prune very long, unkempt or leggy vines to maintain the shape you desire. But don’t do it too often. Cutting some vines can encourage growth of more branches, and a larger plant.
9. Potting and repotting
Yes, Rexbegonia vines can grow quickly. They don’t need to be repotted often because of their small, thin or threadlike roots.
Repot Cissus discolor once every 2 to 3 year and during the growing season (spring or summer). Repotting is possible if the root of your plant is damaged.
If you are repotting this plant, choose a pot that is slightly larger than the original, approximately 2-3 inches in diameter. Avoid large or very deep pots as they can retain moisture longer and increase the risk of root rot.
Cissus discolor propagation
Cissus discolor can be propagated by stem cutting in either a potting mixture or water. It is faster and more effective to use soil. Water allows you to see the roots growing.
Some people choose to propagate by layering. This involves slightly burring stems without leaves in potting mixture while they are still attached to parent plants.
They will root themselves after a while. This method is very successful because the roots are formed while the parent plant is still providing nutrients.
We’ll be looking at stem propagation. Water propagation is very similar to stem propagation, the only difference being in the media.
1). What do you need?
- Potting mix
- Sterilized shears or pruning scissors
- Rooting hormone (optional)
- Stick or pencil
2). This is how to grow Cissus discolor
- Choose a mature, healthy wood vine and trim it with your pruning scissors. Don’t use young vines. They will likely die.
- Divide the vine into small pieces. Each piece should have at least two to three leaves. Each cutting should have the lower leaves removed, while the upper leaves can be left.
- You can dip the cutting in rooting hormone. This will accelerate rooting and prevent root decay.
- With a pencil or stick, poke a hole in your potting mixture. Then plant your cutting. Water it thoroughly and ensure that you only bury one leaf. Your cutting should be held securely in the potting mix.
- Your plated cutting should be placed in an area that receives bright indirect light. For best growth, we recommend temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21-24degC).
- Keep the soil moist.
After a month, your plant will develop roots and start growing new buds. These plants grow very quickly. After you are happy with the growth, transfer it to a pot.
Some prefer to cover the cutting with a transparent plastic bag. It helps retain moisture and reduce soil drying. It should have holes so that air can circulate.
3). Propagating in water
To color propagating Cissus in water, you will need to dip the cutting into a glass of water. You should replace the water after a few hours or when it becomes cloudy.
Transplant the roots when they are approximately 2 inches long and have a bud growing.
This method is slightly slower than if you were to plant your plant in a potting mixture.
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Safety for pets and people
Cissus discolor is safe for cats, dogs and other pets. Cissus discolor is safe and non-toxic to humans. This makes it a great choice for pet owners as well as people who have children.
The Rex Begonia, which is a member of the Begoniaceae family, is toxic to horses, dogs, and cats because it contains soluble calcium oxalates. Please ensure that you do not confuse the two plants.
The rex begonia vine is commonly affected by mealybugs and whitefly.
Conditions and diseases
These ornamental plants can be grown indoors and are immune to most diseases. If you grow them outdoors or use unsterilized pruning tools, they might have leaf spots or powdery mildew.
Powdery mildew can cause spots or patches of whitish-gray and talcum-resembling growth. Use a fungicide.
Leaf spot, on the other hand will appear as dark or black spots on leaves. These are usually water-soaked lesions which quickly turn black. You can remove affected leaves and use fungicides like Patch Pro.
These diseases are not the only ones that are common.
1. Cissus discolor dropping leaves
Overwatering or submersion are the most common reasons your Cissus leaves turn yellow. This problem can also be caused by low humidity or shock.
When you suddenly alter the conditions under which a houseplant grows, called shock, it is known as sudden temperature or humidity fluctuations.
Other causes could include low nutrition, poor lighting, pests or diseases.
2. Yellowing of leaves
You are probably overwatering your plant if it has yellow leaves. It could also be caused by light, humidity, or underwatering. Yellowing can also be caused by pests, deficiency in nutrients, excessive fertilizer, or diseases.
To determine the cause, look at other symptoms like dry soil or stunted growth.
3. Root rot
Root rot can be caused by pots that aren’t draining well, poorly-draining potting soils or rex begonia vines, and overwatering them.
You can expect the following symptoms:
- Yellowing of leaves
- Stunted growth
- Mushy stems
- The surface of the potting mix can be contaminated by molds.
4. Curling leaves
Cissus discolor curling leaves can be a sign that there is low moisture. This is especially true if the leaves appear limp or wilted. It can be caused by pest damage, too high temperatures, and too much sunlight.
5. Cissus discolor dying
Cissus that are dying or discoloring is a sign that the growing conditions for Cissus are not being met.
Your plant could also be suffering from root rot, excess fertilizer, nutritional deficiencies or disease.
You can save your plant by reviewing the requirements and ensuring you meet them.
In some cases, particularly severe root rot, it may be impossible to save your plant.
6. Cissus discolor bumps
You may notice tiny bumps on your Cissus discolor plants. The chances are high that these are probably insects or mite galls. The image is below.
Cissus discoloration – Bumps
These are tiny bumps or growths that occur in response to mites or insects laying eggs or feeding them.
You can prevent them by getting rid of all insects and mites from your plants. Insecticide soaps can be used to remove the affected leaves. Then, you can wash them with dish soap/water, rubbing alcohol, etc. It all depends on the species of mites or insects that are responsible.
It is possible to form galls without the presence of insects.
You probably still have many questions. These are some frequently asked questions that might help.
Are Cissus discolor begonias?
No. Cissus discolor does not belong to the begonia family. Because it looks like Rex begonia, they are called Rex begonia vine. These two plants are actually from different families: Vitaceae (grapes), and Begoniaceae.
Is Cissus discolor rare plant?
No. You can buy it at Walmart and Etsy.com. It is however not a common houseplant.