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 comparable traits and supply a ton of colour and character. Let’s have a look at these little beauties and talk about how you can domesticate them.
These small tropical vegetation may be finicky in the event that they don’t get care in line with their native atmosphere. Fortuitously, that may be replicated within the house, making flame violets houseplant. Additionally they make wonderful terrarium vegetation. The Episcias genus is a member of the Gesneriaceae household, together with African violets, Gloxinias, and considered one of my favourite vegetation, Michelmolleria vietnamensis.
Most members of this household are tropical to sub-tropical evergreen and perennial flowering vegetation. Just a few 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 title of the genus is derived from a Greek phrase which means ‘shaded.’ It’s doubtless as a result of their progress behavior as tropical understory vegetation, as Episcias don’t like direct solar and like their daylight filtered via a cover in a lush, tropical atmosphere.
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 must be mirrored of their look after greatest outcomes. These vegetation like constantly heat temperatures throughout the board.
Flame violets are very comparable by way of bodily traits to African violets. They share an analogous leaf form, which is ovate to elliptical. Additionally comparable is the mushy flocking on the floor of the leaves. Nevertheless, these houseplants have a distinctive ribbed texture to their leaves, creating a stunning, shimmering impact.
The leaves are organized in rosettes, like African violets, however they’ve a trailing behavior slightly 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 usually singular, small, and tubular. When it comes to colour, they have a tendency towards the nice and cozy finish of the spectrum. The commonest colours are purple and brilliant pink, however they will additionally produce flowers in yellow, white, orange, and purple shades.
The place to Purchase
Flame violets may be simply discovered via 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 atmosphere and will not be tolerant of local weather fluctuations, most are stored as houseplants. In case you are planting in a tropical local weather, think about 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 unfastened 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 extensive as the basis ball. The foundation ball must be stage with the encircling soil.
How you can Develop
Flame violets generally is a bit trickier than their cousins, African violets. Nevertheless, as soon as you understand their wants, they shouldn’t be tougher to look after. They’re reasonably excessive upkeep in that they have to be protected against environmental fluctuations, and correct seasonal care is necessary.
As I discussed, flame violets are an understory plant. They develop beneath the tropical cover, the place their atmosphere is pretty constant and the sunshine is oblique. In case you are expert at caring for orchids, these vegetation have comparable publicity wants.
Give them brilliant however oblique mild for many of the day. They’ll thrive in synthetic mild in the event that they get a constant quantity. In case you are rising them indoors, away from a window, maintain them beneath fluorescent lights for 12-14 hours per day.
In case you place your flame violet in a window, guarantee it doesn’t obtain greater than an hour or two of direct daylight day by day. An excessive amount of solar will scorch the leaves, and they’re going to flip brown and wilt. In the event that they don’t get enough mild, they may develop into 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 exhausting and quick rule for the way a lot water your flame violet will want and after what number of days. These vegetation want comparable moisture situations to African violets.
Flame violets like their soil to be moist all the time. Nevertheless, they don’t like for his or her soil to be soggy. This is likely one of the high-quality balances that have to be struck for these vegetation to thrive. Whether or not or not your container has drainage holes may also have an effect on how usually your flame violet must be watered.
Generally, anticipate to water as soon as weekly in the summertime. They may use rather more water throughout the summer season once they do a lot of their rising and blooming. They may use much less water within the winter, so 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.
An important think about 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 maintain my violets in containers with and with out drainage, and for me, the pots with out drainage are typically simpler to look after. It comes all the way down to your habits the place watering is anxious.
In case you are inclined to overwater your vegetation, go together with a container with good drainage. In case you let issues dry out, a container with out drainage could be greatest.
Flame violets have shallow, spreading roots. Naturally, a large, shallow pot would help this progress behavior properly. They do wish to be barely pot-bound, which can encourage extra flowering. Don’t give your plant a pot a lot bigger than the basis ball. Fairly, give it a small quantity of room to develop, perhaps sizing up 2” from the dimensions of the nursery pot.
For soil sort, assume alongside the identical strains 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 isn’t 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 keep good drainage and maintain the soil unfastened, which is nice 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 happy.
Temperature and Humidity
This can be a crucial issue within the care of flame violets. These are doubtless elements that make or break your relationship with these vegetation. It’s vital to the plant’s well being that it doesn’t expertise excessive temperature shifts and receives a good quantity of humidity.
The best air temperature is between 70-80°F. That’s nice information for many of us in temperate climates, the place we maintain our thermostats in that vary for many of the 12 months. The place this will get difficult is in climates that endure very chilly winters. If the temperature in your house fluctuates drastically, it should stress the plant.
Maintain your flame violet farther from home windows and doorways within the winter. They want much less mild and water throughout winter and can survive a couple of months with much less daylight. Simply be certain that to compensate with some fluorescent mild if the plant exhibits indicators that it wants extra mild.
If the temperature in your house often drops under 65°F, you will have a tough time with this plant. At that temperature, the sides of the leaves might flip brown to suggest that the plant is beneath stress from chilly temperatures.
Additionally they want a good quantity of humidity. An ambient humidity stage of fifty% or greater is the popular atmosphere. 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 maintain my violets within the lavatory with my orchids. When you’ve got a great place for vegetation in your lavatory, this tends to be probably the most humid room in the home.
These are just like African violets relating to their fertilizer wants. They wish to be fertilized and can profit from African violet fertilizer formulation. In case you are utilizing an all-purpose fertilizer, search for one that’s balanced, with a 20-20-20 ratio, or ideally, one with a barely greater stage of phosphorus, similar to a 15-20-15.
Fertilize each two weeks, starting within the spring and all through the summer season 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 monthly, if in any respect, throughout the winter months.
In case your atmosphere 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 keep in mind solely to measurement up a little bit bit to maintain your plant flowering its greatest.
Pruning is often pointless, but when the plant overgrows the area you might have given it, merely pinch again stems. Pruning evenly after the plant completes its blooming stage will encourage it to flower once more extra shortly.
Like most of their kin, flame violets are straightforward to propagate. Propagation may be carried out utilizing seeds, however that is much less frequent 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 an easy course of. Spring is the best time to take cuttings, because the plant is getting into its lively rising section, so your chopping could 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 connected as potential. Minimize the petiole near the principle stem, and dip the reduce finish in a rooting hormone. Rooting hormone is non-obligatory; whereas your cuttings will doubtless achieve success with out it, utilizing it should make the method go quicker.
Place the chopping with its reduce finish down into your rooting media. These vegetation may 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 connected 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 simple, and the plant does the heavy lifting right here. The one caveat is that you need to look forward to the plant to determine if it desires to supply extra vegetation to realize 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 considered 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 carried out, the stem will put out new roots beneath the cluster of leaves, anchoring into the soil. As soon as it has developed roots, reduce it free from its mum or dad plant.
Within the different technique, you may deal with it as a standard chopping. To do that, take away the runner, leaving a portion of the stem connected. From right here, the strategies are a lot the identical as propagation by chopping. You may place the tip 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 will point out when they’re sad, largely of their leaves. If the plant is harassed from chilly temperatures, you could start to see brown edges cropping up in your leaves. Ensure 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 mild or fertilizer. In case your plant has gone a whole 12 months with out blooming, it might want extra mild. Simply be certain that to maintain it out of direct daylight. Fertilize often from spring to fall, and use a fertilizer with additional phosphorus for higher bud improvement.
There’s an abundance of hybrid styles of flame violet, every combining stunning leaf patterns and brightly coloured flowers. The plant constructions are all comparatively comparable, with leaves forming rosettes and a trailing behavior slightly than a bent to develop upward like a few of its associated vegetation.
Episcia cupreata ‘Chocolate Soldier’
Shiny oblique mild
‘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 sensible purple or orange.
Episcia cupreata var. viridifolia ‘Tropical Topaz’
Shiny oblique mild
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 brilliant, cheerful inexperienced that appears nice in a dangling basket.
Episcia hybrid ‘Bethlehem Pink’
Shiny oblique mild
This hybrid of the favored selection ‘Bethlehem Pink’ is solely beautiful. Deep olive inexperienced leaves are closely textured and flocked with high-quality, mushy hairs. The flowers are a gorgeous mushy pink with a heat yellow glow within the middle.
Jim’s Canadian Sundown
Episcia hybrid ‘Jim’s Canadian Sundown’
Shiny oblique mild
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 usually a problem indoors except 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 troublesome to get rid of, however with all pests, the earlier you catch them, the much less harm they may have time to do.
These small inexperienced and yellow bugs wish to get beneath 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 draws ants, fosters mould, and interferes with photosynthesis.
A powerful stream of water can do away with aphids in lots of circumstances. Nevertheless, flame violets have delicate stems, so I don’t suggest it. A delicate wiping with a water-soaked cotton ball is a superb combatant towards 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. Fortuitously, they’re straightforward to establish. They’re pretty seen and may simply be taken care of. Issues come up when adults burrow down into hard-to-reach locations and lay eggs.
Mealybugs look white to mild pink and fuzzy. They’re usually lined with a waxy coating, making them tougher to kill. An alcohol-soaked cotton swab will assist to interrupt down that waxy coating and kill these critters. Neem oil works as properly.
A lot of the illness points that seem contain fungus. Due to the excessive moisture atmosphere that they like, there may be 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 will depart ugly yellow spots. These spots are extra prone to fungus, and in a damp atmosphere, if that fungus finds a means in, it has the proper atmosphere 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. In case you discover a fungal leaf spot on considered one of your leaves, prune it off to guard the opposite leaves and permit the plant to recuperate.
Stem blight is one other fungal illness that, whereas much less frequent, can nonetheless have an effect on your flame violet. The humid atmosphere these vegetation take pleasure in makes them extra prone to fungal pathogens. Maintain 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 loads 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 relating to containers, if you’re a gardener that leans towards over slightly than underwatering, a container with a drainage gap is a superb instrument for stopping root rot. In case you suspect your plant has rotting roots, repot the plant in contemporary soil after eradicating any rotten roots with sterile pruning snips.
Regularly Requested Questions
This may be brought on by a couple of elements, however all of them contain a scarcity 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. An absence of humidity or water may result in dry, crispy leaves. Shock from temperature fluctuations may 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 fully, they may reply by wilting. Normally, 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 difficult, however in brief: sure and no.
Calcium can typically be bloom booster to your flame violet. Nevertheless, eggshells are almost pure calcium carbonate, and they don’t break down properly in a non-acidic atmosphere. Whereas some suggest soaking eggshells in water, this doesn’t truly trigger the eggshells to interrupt down sufficient to supply a calcium enhance, and most potting blends are pH impartial, making eggshells at greatest a slow-release calcium additive and at worst locking them within the soil.
In case you really need to present a calcium enhance, soluble calcium is out there 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 must 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 threat a fungal root rot killing your plant. Correct drainage in your soil and container might help to forestall overwatering.
From their fancy, flocked leaves to their brilliant 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 cling of flame violet care, you’ll certainly be hooked by these enchanting little vegetation.