The Pellionia is neither water melon or begonia!
The Plant: The Pellionias are evergreen perennials, with a trailing habit and variegated foliage. Grown as indoor plants, they can be allowed to grow as they wish over a large pot, or trimmed to shape as and when required. Nipping out the ends of shoots is the best way to keep a compact plant.
They are rampant as ground cover plants in many parts of South east Asia, and adore the warmth and humidity normally associated with that region.
Pellionia daveauana (P. repens) has ovate leaves with a pale centre and darker margin and veining, and a creeping growth habit.
Pellionia pulchra also has a creeping growth habit but with larger, blunt, almost oblong leaves measuring up to 8 cm long by 2 – 3 cm wide. The underside of the leave is reddish-purple whilst the top surface has an olive-green background with deep green mottled veining.
Its needs: The Pellionia plants require a winter minimum temperature of no lower than13C, and can be grown in semi-shade or good light but avoid direct sunlight. The essential factor is the high humidity needed for growth. Mist the plant regularly all through the year, and provide extra humidity by placing the pot over or near to a saucer of water.
Feed regularly through the summer and water freely from spring to autumn, but reduce watering over winter, taking care not to allow the roots to dry out.
Pellionia can be grown in a dark corner providing it gets some reflected light from a white wall for instance. If grown in this manner, two to three weeks is enough and then into lighter conditions for a week - before moving back.
Good for: The Pellionia plants are ideal for growing in terrariums, bottle gardens or hanging containers. They are easy to maintain and can be propagated from softwood cuttings.
If grown in suitable humidity, red spider mite should not be a problem. Aphids including mealybug can take hold if not inspected regularly. As it is a plant that can be largely left alone insect pests can weaken the plant before realizing they are there.
Pellionia is very easy to propagate in the growing season by stem cuttings. Either use semi-ripe or ripe cuttings.
Easier still is to simply remove some of the rooted stems where they touch the soil.