When you’ve got a knack for African violets, you’ll love Episcias or flame violets. These fairly little vegetation in the identical household as African violets have related traits and provide a ton of coloration and persona. Let’s have a look at these little beauties and talk about the best way to domesticate them.
These small tropical vegetation could be finicky in the event that they don’t get care in step with their native setting. Thankfully, that may be replicated within the residence, making flame violets a superb houseplant. In addition they make wonderful terrarium vegetation. The Episcias genus is a member of the Gesneriaceae household, together with African violets, Gloxinias, and certainly one of my favourite vegetation, Michelmolleria vietnamensis.
Most members of this household are tropical to sub-tropical evergreen and perennial flowering vegetation. A couple of members prolong to extra temperate ranges. It’s common for vegetation on this household to be cultivated as ornamentals due to their relative ease of care and colourful flowers.
The identify of the genus is derived from a Greek phrase that means ‘shaded.’ It’s possible attributable to their progress behavior as tropical understory vegetation, as Episcias don’t like direct solar and like their daylight filtered by a cover in a lush, tropical setting.
All ten species of the Episcias genus are native to tropical areas in South and Central America. They had been first found in Brazil and Colombia, however we now know they’re additionally native to southern Mexico, French Guiana, and the West Indies.
These vegetation are all native to heat areas, which ought to be mirrored of their take care of greatest outcomes. These vegetation like persistently heat temperatures throughout the board.
Flame violets are very related by way of bodily traits to African violets. They share an identical leaf form, which is ovate to elliptical. Additionally related is the tender flocking on the floor of the leaves. Nonetheless, these houseplants have a distinctive ribbed texture to their leaves, creating a beautiful, shimmering impact.
The leaves are organized in rosettes, like African violets, however they’ve a trailing behavior quite than rising repeatedly taller. This makes them very straightforward to propagate, as they repeatedly produce offsets on lengthy stems. The foliage is normally variegated and is available in inexperienced, pink, purple, and white shades.
The flowers produced by flame violet vegetation are sometimes singular, small, and tubular. By way of coloration, they have a tendency towards the nice and cozy finish of the spectrum. The commonest colours are purple and vivid pink, however they’ll additionally produce flowers in yellow, white, orange, and purple shades.
The place to Purchase
Flame violets could be simply discovered by on-line distributors. They will not be as available amongst retailers and native nurseries. A few of the bigger nurseries might have them out there for buy.
As a result of they develop in a reasonably particular setting and will not be tolerant of local weather fluctuations, most are stored as houseplants. If you’re planting in a tropical local weather, take into account the plant’s wants when selecting a location.
Since they’re understory vegetation, giving them one thing of a cover to develop beneath is greatest. They need to be planted in free soil with a impartial pH and wonderful drainage.
Don’t plant them deeply; as an alternative, dig a gap that’s as deep and twice as broad as the basis ball. The basis ball ought to be degree with the encompassing soil.
Methods to Develop
Flame violets could be a bit trickier than their cousins, African violets. Nonetheless, as soon as you recognize their wants, they shouldn’t be harder to take care of. They’re reasonably excessive upkeep in that they have to be shielded from environmental fluctuations, and correct seasonal care is vital.
As I discussed, flame violets are an understory plant. They develop beneath the tropical cover, the place their setting is pretty constant and the sunshine is oblique. If you’re expert at caring for orchids, these vegetation have related publicity wants.
Give them vivid however oblique gentle for a lot of the day. They’ll thrive in synthetic gentle in the event that they get a constant quantity. If you’re rising them indoors, away from a window, preserve them underneath fluorescent lights for 12-14 hours per day.
If you happen to place your flame violet in a window, guarantee it doesn’t obtain greater than an hour or two of direct daylight every day. An excessive amount of solar will scorch the leaves, and they’ll flip brown and wilt. In the event that they don’t get sufficient gentle, they are going to turn out to be leggier, with extra stems between leaves as if they’re reaching for the sunshine.
Watering will rely upon the place your plant is situated, and there’s no laborious and quick rule for the way a lot water your flame violet will want and after what number of days. These vegetation want related moisture situations to African violets.
Flame violets like their soil to be moist the entire time. Nonetheless, they don’t like for his or her soil to be soggy. This is without doubt one of the superb balances that have to be struck for these vegetation to thrive. Whether or not or not your container has drainage holes may even have an effect on how usually your flame violet must be watered.
Typically, anticipate to water as soon as weekly in the summertime. They may use rather more water in the course of the summer time once they do a lot of their rising and blooming. They may use much less water within the winter, in order that they have to be watered much less usually. Take note of the soil and water when the highest of the soil is now not moist, however don’t enable the soil to dry out farther down.
A vital consider watering these vegetation is the temperature of the water. Temperature fluctuations trigger stress on this plant. Use room temperature water. When you’ve got the time to gather rainwater, that’s the greatest water for these vegetation.
I preserve my violets in containers with and with out drainage, and for me, the pots with out drainage are usually simpler to take care of. It comes right down to your habits the place watering is anxious.
If you happen to are inclined to overwater your vegetation, go along with a container with good drainage. If you happen to let issues dry out, a container with out drainage is perhaps greatest.
Flame violets have shallow, spreading roots. Naturally, a large, shallow pot would assist this progress behavior properly. They do prefer to be barely pot-bound, which can encourage extra flowering. Don’t give your plant a pot a lot bigger than the basis ball. Slightly, give it a small quantity of room to develop, perhaps sizing up 2” from the dimensions of the nursery pot.
For soil kind, assume alongside the identical traces as African violets. Flame violets like wealthy soil that’s considerably spongy and well-draining. The soil wants to carry some moisture, so sandy soil is not any good, however steer away from soil that compacts simply. They’ve delicate roots.
You should utilize a normal potting combine for these vegetation. Amending the soil with perlite or peat moss will assist preserve good drainage and preserve the soil free, which is sweet for sturdy root improvement.
Flame violets will not be particularly choosy about soil acidity however will carry out greatest in soil with a impartial pH. Purpose for a pH between 6.5-7.5 to maintain your vegetation completely satisfied.
Temperature and Humidity
This can be a essential issue within the care of flame violets. These are possible elements that make or break your relationship with these vegetation. It’s critical to the plant’s well being that it doesn’t expertise excessive temperature shifts and receives a good quantity of humidity.
The perfect air temperature is between 70-80°F. That’s nice information for many of us in temperate climates, the place we preserve our thermostats in that vary for a lot of the 12 months. The place this may get difficult is in climates that endure very chilly winters. If the temperature in your house fluctuates drastically, it’ll stress the plant.
Hold your flame violet farther from home windows and doorways within the winter. They want much less gentle and water throughout winter and can survive just a few months with much less daylight. Simply be sure to compensate with some fluorescent gentle if the plant exhibits indicators that it wants extra gentle.
If the temperature in your house usually drops beneath 65°F, you could have a tough time with this plant. At that temperature, the sides of the leaves might flip brown to suggest that the plant is underneath stress from chilly temperatures.
In addition they want a good quantity of humidity. An ambient humidity degree of fifty% or increased is the popular setting. You may complement the humidity within the room with a humidifier positioned far sufficient from the plant that the leaves aren’t in direct vary. You can too use a pebble tray so as to add moisture to the air.
Resist the urge to mist these vegetation, as they don’t like water sitting on their leaves. Like most flowers on this household, water sitting on the flocked leaves can result in ugly yellow water spots. I preserve my violets within the toilet with my orchids. When you’ve got a great place for vegetation in your toilet, this tends to be probably the most humid room in the home.
These are just like African violets concerning their fertilizer wants. They prefer to be fertilized and can profit from African violet fertilizer formulation. If you’re utilizing an all-purpose fertilizer, search for one that’s balanced, with a 20-20-20 ratio, or ideally, one with a barely increased degree of phosphorus, corresponding to a 15-20-15.
Fertilize each two weeks, starting within the spring and all through the summer time into fall. Because the climate cools, you’ll discover that your plant takes in much less water and wishes much less fertilizer. Scale back your fertilizing to as soon as per thirty days, if in any respect, in the course of the winter months.
In case your setting is correct, you shouldn’t have a horrible quantity of upkeep with this plant. You may repot it each one to 2 years to present it area to unfold however bear in mind solely to dimension up slightly bit to maintain your plant flowering its greatest.
Pruning is usually pointless, but when the plant overgrows the area you’ve got given it, merely pinch again stems. Pruning frivolously after the plant completes its blooming stage will encourage it to flower once more extra rapidly.
Like most of their family members, flame violets are straightforward to propagate. Propagation could be carried out utilizing seeds, however that is much less widespread because it takes for much longer for the plant to mature. They’re usually cultivated utilizing leaf and stem cuttings or runners that the plant produces.
Propagating flame violets by cuttings is a straightforward course of. Spring is the perfect time to take cuttings, because the plant is coming into its energetic rising section, so your chopping may have the optimum period of time to get itself rising earlier than winter.
Take your cuttings from wholesome leaves close to the bottom of the plant. I like to chop the leaf with as a lot of its stem hooked up as potential. Lower the petiole near the principle stem, and dip the reduce finish in a rooting hormone. Rooting hormone is elective; whereas your cuttings will possible achieve success with out it, utilizing it’ll make the method go quicker.
Place the chopping with its reduce finish down into your rooting media. These vegetation could be rooted in water, soil, or sphagnum moss. I favor to make use of water as I really feel like it really works quickest and since I like seeing the basis improvement. Depart the chopping in water till it develops roots and small leaves.
As soon as the chopping has rooted, plant it in a small container with a moist potting medium. Depart the principle left hooked up till the small leaves develop extra substantial to present the brand new plant some added vitamins and area to supply chlorophyll.
Propagation with runners is straightforward, and the plant does the heavy lifting right here. The one caveat is that it’s important to watch for the plant to resolve if it desires to supply extra vegetation to attain it. Often, a flame violet will ship out a runner, or lengthy stem, on the finish of which a brand new rosette of leaves begins to develop.
To propagate utilizing certainly one of these runners, there are two potential strategies. The primary is to bury a part of the elongated stem of the runner proper at a leaf joint; if that is accomplished, the stem will put out new roots underneath the cluster of leaves, anchoring into the soil. As soon as it has developed roots, reduce it free from its dad or mum plant.
Within the different technique, you’ll be able to deal with it as a traditional chopping. To do that, take away the runner, leaving a portion of the stem hooked up. From right here, the strategies are a lot the identical as propagation by chopping. You may place the top of your reduce stem in water, moist soil, or sphagnum moss.
Rooting hormone, once more, is useful however not required. Your runner ought to develop some roots inside a month or two.
The commonest points with rising this plant are associated to local weather and care. As I discussed earlier than, flame violets are very delicate to temperature fluctuations. That features each the air temperature and the temperature of the water you give them.
They may point out when they’re sad, principally of their leaves. If the plant is burdened from chilly temperatures, it’s possible you’ll start to see brown edges cropping up in your leaves. Make sure that the plant shouldn’t be in a draft area and that you’re not watering with chilly water.
If the plant refuses to bloom, there are two potential culprits. Both the plant isn’t getting sufficient gentle or fertilizer. In case your plant has gone a whole 12 months with out blooming, it might want extra gentle. Simply be sure to maintain it out of direct daylight. Fertilize usually from spring to fall, and use a fertilizer with further phosphorus for higher bud improvement.
There may be an abundance of hybrid forms of flame violet, every combining lovely leaf patterns and brightly coloured flowers. The plant constructions are all comparatively related, with leaves forming rosettes and a trailing behavior quite than an inclination to develop upward like a few of its associated vegetation.
Episcia cupreata ‘Chocolate Soldier’
Brilliant oblique gentle
‘Chocolate Soldier’ has blue-green leaves with darkish markings towards the outer edges of its extremely textured leaves. The darkish markings can have a purple or purple tint or a deeper blue-green shade. The flowers of this selection are good purple or orange.
Episcia cupreata var. viridifolia ‘Tropical Topaz’
Brilliant oblique gentle
It’s uncommon for vegetation within the Gesneriaceae household to have yellow flowers, so ‘Tropical Topaz’ is a standout of its genus and plant household. It isn’t an enormous bloomer however produces a sprinkling of buttery yellow blooms. The foliage is a vivid, cheerful inexperienced that appears nice in a dangling basket.
Episcia hybrid ‘Bethlehem Pink’
Brilliant oblique gentle
This hybrid of the favored selection ‘Bethlehem Pink’ is just gorgeous. Deep olive inexperienced leaves are closely textured and flocked with superb, tender hairs. The flowers are a ravishing tender pink with a heat yellow glow within the middle.
Jim’s Canadian Sundown
Episcia hybrid ‘Jim’s Canadian Sundown’
Brilliant oblique gentle
One other fairly pink flame violet hybrid is ‘Jim’s Canadian Sundown.’ The deep inexperienced leaves of this selection are closely textured and flocked like most of its contemporaries. ‘Jim’s Canadian Sundown’ flowers undoubtedly trace at the great thing about a real Canadian sundown! The coral pink flowers have textured edges and are closely veined with a deeper shade of pink and flecked with bits of yellow within the middle.
The pests that trigger probably the most fear with these vegetation will not be sometimes a problem indoors until they journey in on one other plant. Inspecting any new houseplants for insect harm earlier than introducing them is an effective apply. This may considerably in the reduction of on pest points.
Aphids are one of the vital prevalent and harmful pests within the backyard. They don’t seem to be tough to get rid of, however with all pests, the earlier you catch them, the much less harm they are going to have time to do.
These small inexperienced and yellow bugs prefer to get underneath leaves and on flame violet’s juicy stems and suck out the candy sap. They depart behind a sticky, candy excrement referred to as honeydew that pulls ants, fosters mildew, and interferes with photosynthesis.
A robust stream of water can do away with aphids in lots of circumstances. Nonetheless, flame violets have delicate stems, so I don’t suggest it. A mild wiping with a water-soaked cotton ball is a superb combatant in opposition to these pests. Neem oil or insecticidal cleaning soap are additionally good alternate options.
These nasty little bugs could make a critical mess of your houseplants in the event that they enter your house. Thankfully, they’re straightforward to determine. They’re pretty seen and might simply be taken care of. Issues come up when adults burrow down into hard-to-reach locations and lay eggs.
Mealybugs look white to gentle pink and fuzzy. They’re usually lined with a waxy coating, making them harder to kill. An alcohol-soaked cotton swab will assist to interrupt down that waxy coating and kill these critters. Neem oil works as properly.
Many of the illness points that seem contain fungus. Due to the excessive moisture setting that they like, there’s loads of alternative for fungus to develop, which can lead to a broken or rotting plant.
Fungal Leaf Spots
When water droplets sit on the leaves of a flame violet, they’ll depart ugly yellow spots. These spots are extra inclined to fungus, and in a damp setting, if that fungus finds a approach in, it has the right setting to develop in.
You may stop this by not splashing water in your flame violet’s leaves. Dry any water that lands on the leaves gently. If you happen to discover a fungal leaf spot on certainly one of your leaves, prune it off to guard the opposite leaves and permit the plant to get well.
Stem blight is one other fungal illness that, whereas much less widespread, can nonetheless have an effect on your flame violet. The humid setting these vegetation take pleasure in makes them extra inclined to fungal pathogens. Hold the air circulating within the room together with your vegetation to assist deter these fungal infections from gaining a foothold. Prune off any affected tissue to keep away from spreading.
Root rot is sort of all the time brought on by overwatering. Since flame violets like quite a lot of moisture within the air and their soil, it’s straightforward to overwater them, and if that occurs, they’re susceptible to root rot. Giving your plant soil with good drainage and solely watering when the highest of the soil is dry to the contact will go a great distance in stopping root rot.
As we mentioned concerning containers, if you’re a gardener that leans towards over quite than underwatering, a container with a drainage gap is a superb instrument for stopping root rot. If you happen to suspect your plant has rotting roots, repot the plant in contemporary soil after eradicating any rotten roots with sterile pruning snips.
Continuously Requested Questions
This may be brought on by just a few elements, however all of them contain an absence of moisture or an excessive amount of solar. Flame violets are delicate to direct daylight, and the leaves will scorch with an excessive amount of solar. A scarcity of humidity or water can even result in dry, crispy leaves. Shock from temperature fluctuations can even trigger leaves to show brown.
Flame violets and most different vegetation within the Gesneriaceae household want moist soil to thrive. If these vegetation dry out utterly, they are going to reply by wilting. Often, this exhibits within the lowest leaves first.
Filtered water, reverse osmosis, or rainwater are one of the best for watering your flame violet. Harsh chemical substances in some faucet water can weaken the plant. Make sure the water is room temperature to keep away from shock.
This can be a bit sophisticated, however in brief: sure and no.
Calcium can generally be bloom booster to your flame violet. Nonetheless, eggshells are almost pure calcium carbonate, and they don’t break down properly in a non-acidic setting. Whereas some suggest soaking eggshells in water, this doesn’t really trigger the eggshells to interrupt down sufficient to offer a calcium increase, and most potting blends are pH impartial, making eggshells at greatest a slow-release calcium additive and at worst locking them within the soil.
If you happen to really need to present a calcium increase, soluble calcium is offered as an natural liquid fertilizer, however use it sparingly and wait to see how your plant reacts earlier than including any extra. Your plant is extra prone to want phosphorus for good flower manufacturing than the micronutrient calcium, and it ought to be receiving it by way of your different fertilization strategies.
Sure. They like moist soil, however should you depart them with drenched soil for an prolonged time, you danger a fungal root rot killing your plant. Correct drainage in your soil and container will help to forestall overwatering.
From their fancy, flocked leaves to their vivid and cheerful flowers, flame violets make fantastic additions to the houseplant assortment. Whereas they do take a little bit of pampering, when you get the grasp of flame violet care, you’ll certainly be hooked by these enchanting little vegetation.