A Beginner's Guide to Watermelon Vine Care
Common Name: Polynesian Ivy, Rainbow Vine, Watermelon Vine
Botanical name: Pellionia pulchra
The lovely and not so widely known, trailing Pellionia pulchra features oval-shaped variegated leaves with dark colored stems that offer an unexpected burst of color. Place this plant in a hanging basket or up on a high shelf to really enjoy the cascading vines. This beauty is sometimes referred to as a Watermelon Begonia, and while it requires care similar to a Begonia, it is not actually a Begonia.
The Pellionia pulchra can be a bit fussy about the care it needs, but once its needs are met, you’ll be rewarded with a happy, healthy and lush plant.
Plenty of bright indirect light will allow the Watermelon Vine to continually push out new growth and thrive. The Pellionia pulchra is adaptable and can handle lower light levels, but bright light is key for maximum growth.
In its native environment of South-East Asia, Pellionia pulchra grows as an understory plant where it receives light filtered through the tree canopy. If you bring your plant onto a porch or patio during the warmer months, make sure to avoid direct sunlight and find a shady spot similar to what it would experience in nature.
Keep the soil moist for the Pellionia pulchra. The soil should partially dry out between watering, but do not let the soil completely dry out. It’s best to water when the top inch or so of soil is dry.
When you do water, completely saturate the soil until water runs through the drainage holes in the pot. Remove any excess water from the cache pot. As much as the Pellionia loves water, it does not like to sit in standing water.
The Watermelon Vine is better suited to warm temperatures. This houseplant can handle anything that would be considered comfortable room temperature, but it really likes to stay between 72-78 degrees.
Cold air and temperature fluctuations are a problem, as this houseplant likes to consistently stay warm. The ideal placement for the Pellionia will be away from exterior doors and windows that may be prone to cold drafts, and even away from heating and cooling vents.
High humidity is a must for the Pellionia pulchra. This tropical plant loves lots of moisture and will appreciate placement in an area with dampness in the air. When grown in dry conditions, you’ll need to recreate a damp environment by using a humidifier or a pebble tray with water.
Use a diluted complete liquid fertilizer every other week during the growing season to keep the Pellionia healthy and actively growing. Give the houseplant time to rest during the fall and winter and hold off on applying fertilizer.
- Houseplants that crave high humidity sometimes do better when grouped together with other plants. If you live in a dry climate or if you notice the leaves starting to dry out and turn brown along the edges, then try placing your Pellonia near other plants. Placing plants near one another can boost the collective humidity and benefit all of the plants.
- Prune the plant to maintain a desired shape and look and promote new growth. Hold on to those cuttings to propagate and create new plants that can be grown as separate plants, or potted with the mother plant to create a full, lush look.
- With proper care, Pellionia bloom, but the flowers are rather lackluster when compared to the foliage. Removing the flower buds will enable the plant to redirect energy into new growth.