The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Family: Urticaceae.

Common name(s): Rainbow vine, Trailing watermelon begonia
Pellionia Syn. Elatostema. Genus of about 50 species of evergreen perennials and subshrubs, some with succulent or partly woody stems, widely distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia, where thwy grow in forest clearings. Pellionias are frost-tender, creeping perennials found from Vietnam to Malaysia and Burma. These plants can be grown in hanging baskets, in pots to form an edging to greenhouse benches, and in terrariums. P. repens, the Watermelon Begonia, is a low growing plant up to 4 inches high with an indefinite spread. This trailing plant has fleshy stems clothed with broad, oval, scalloped leaves that have soft grayish green centers and purplish-brown edges. Its flowers are insignificant, as this plant is grown for the beauty of its foliage.

The Pellionias require moist air and winter warmth. They are not too fussy about the amount of light they receive but they are unusually sensitive to draughts.

Trailing Pellionia daveauana (Watermelon Pellionia) bears a pale central band on each leaf - the outer margin may be olive or bronzy-green. Pellionia pulchra (Satin Pellionia) has very dark veins on the upper surface and is purple below.

Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Average warmth in summer - minimum 60 F in winter.Brightly lit spot. Keep well away from direct sunlight. Grow in soilless potting mix. Keep compost moist at all times but never waterlogged. Reduce watering in winter. Misting is necessary. Take stem cuttings at any time of year.

User-submitted additions and corrections:

12th Oct 2005
I have a satin pellionia and it has what I would call blooms coming from the base of the vines. These blooms are on a central spike with a cluster on top much like the dead blossom of the onion or garlic family. It is burgundy in color. Is this a bloom or do I have a stranger in my bed?
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