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The Exotic Rainforest
Plants in the Exotic Rainforest Collection
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 Cissus discolor Blume

                                                     

Cissus discolor Blume
Rex Begonia Vine, Painted Cissus

 


A native of China, south and southeast Asia, Malaysia, and Taiwan, the velvet appearing leaves of this slender oblong heart shaped plant are dark green on the upper surface and have a double row of greyish green blotches.   But the underside of the leaves are spectacularly colored a dark purple-red and often possess a few "hairs".   The leaf veins are also normally a deep purple.  Occasionally growers find the topside of Cissus discolor's leaf turning almost the same color as the underside which makes for a beautifully colorful leaf.  The leaves are less elongated when young and get longer as the plant ages.  Our plant is still quite young.

The vigorous vining plant clings and climbs by means of tendrils which have the ability to hang on to almost anything it touches such as a fence, a tree and even the plastic of a pot!  The plant's tendrils grow all along the vine.  If you give it a good totem to climb the colorful vine with 3 to 4 inch leaves can easily reach 6 feet in height or will gracefully hang over the sides of a hanging basket.   Despite one of its common names the vine is not a begonia, it only resembles one.  Some growers consider the easily grown Cissus discolor the ultimate exotic vine.   This plant is great for a hanging basket or a terrarium and loves nothing better than humid summer heat during which time it will completely wrap around its basket or climb a trellis if grown outdoors in a humid and somewhat wet tropical climate such as Florida's Zone 10.   The vine is said to be best grown in light shade and most experienced growers recommend medium to light shade but some claim to have grown C. discolor in full sun, partial sun and shade.  The minimum tolerable temperature for the vine is 50 F.    We grow Cissus discolor in very loose soil mixed with lots of peat, Perlite, and orchid bark.