Episcia ‘Pink Panther’

episcia 'pink panther'Episcia ‘Pink Panther’ is a lovely showy plant, that gets covered with pink blooms. All episcia have very similar growing requirements. Most episcias are Episcia cupreata cultivars or hybrids. Some varieties are more needy, some bloom constantly, others were selected for foliage alone and seldom bloom. Some have large leaves and turn into big showy plants, other are miniatures. They have cute flowers with intriguing shape and fuzzy leaves, though some cultivars have glossy leaves.

Pink Panther has a gorgeous fuzzy foliage, and is a constant heavy boomer. It has  medium size leaves and rapidly grows to fill a pot. Great plant for hanging baskets, and absolutely lovely to have in your room! The plant in these photos is grown in my Episcia Pink Panther flowerbedroom about 3 feet from a somewhat small east facing window and under a north facing window. Most of the flowers are towards the north facing window, though as you can see quite a few of them are facing east and make quite a gorgeous display as soon as you enter the room.

Originally a ground cover plant from Central and South America, episcias have been extensively grown, hybridized and selected for foliage and flowers, and make wonderful house plants.

Requirements:

Watering needs:

Water when the soil gets a bit dryer to avoid root rot. These plants are very easy to grow and have few requirements. They are related to the African violets and prefer bottom watering. These plants like to get soaked in water and then left to dry out more so than watering from the top. Watering from the top also makes the soil compress more and makes it harder for the episcia to root its stolons, hence making it more leggy and less pretty. Since the leaves are hairy you don’t want to get any water on them and risk the leaves to rot. These do great with a hygrolon strip through the soil and a water reservoir on the bottom as a passive watering setup. This also keeps the soil light and prevents clumping.

Light:

episcia pink pantherPart shade to shade. Episcias are relatively low light plants. They will do best with bright indirect light. Large unobstructed north facing window, or any east/west facing window. I’ve also grown them some distance from the window. They will flower as long as there is decent amount of light. You can also grow them under grow lights. South facing windows are not good for those plants, and the strong sun will burn the leaves, unless you very, very slowly get your plant adapted to the high light levels.

 

Humidity:

These plants like high humidity, though they don’t like their leaves to be sprayed directly. Having a tray with water and rocks, so that the plant pot stays above the water and is not soaking in it, is a great way to keep higher relative humidity around your episcia. Another way to make sure the humidity is higher is to grow it next to plants that do like to be sprayed. ‘Pink panther’ is not a very needy cultivar, and doesn’t require as much humidity or warmth as other episcias to thrive.

You can read more about humidity and tips on how to maintain it here.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

episcia pink pantherI grow my episcias in african violet soil with some generic soil added to it, as well as a good amount of perlite. You can also make you own mix with regular soil, peat moss for acidity, and per-lite/vermiculite. These plants like light, fluffy, somewhat acidic soil. I sometime add charcoal and/or orchid bark at the bottom of the pot for an even better drainage. I use African violet fertilizer for these plants, at a lot lower than the recommended concentration once a week, spring to fall.

Propagation:

These plants are exceptionally easy to propagate. Cuttings and stolons are very easy to root, you can even root a leaf. I like to add moist soil in a zip lock bag and plant my episcia cuttings in there.  You can also bend the stem and plant the stolons (while still an intact part of the plant) in the same pot.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations:

Episcia Pink Panther stolonsPink panther is quite a heavy bloomer. This variety is very showy and is a relatively low light flowering plant.

Trimming and regularly removing big old and damaged leaves and spent flowers will help maintain the plant looking its best. When re-potting the plant it helps after removing all the big old leaves to bend the stems and pot the stolons into the same pot. That will help make your plant get denser and more gorgeous as well as propagate it (you will have those stolons rooted and can always split your plant next time you re-pot it).

6 thoughts on “Episcia ‘Pink Panther’

  1. Hi Vesi,
    I have just opened up a holistic health clinic and have been looking for some indoor plants to create a great welcoming atmosphere, but all the plants so far are toxic. I will have children come to my clinic, do you have any suggestions of any types that are safe to have around children?
    Thanks
    Christene

    1. Hello Christene,

      This particular plant is non-toxic (my dog ate some of it, so I had to check it to be 100% sure) and has low light requirements. If you have plenty of light, passifloras make a wonderful and cheerful display. There are so many hybrids available for both passifloras and epsiscias, that you can virtually chose any type of flower color and leaves pattern. Passiflora fruits are edible and the leaves are often used to make tea that lowers the blood pressure and helps with falling asleep and anxiety. Impatiens, begonias, Christmas cactus, most commonly available orchid species and some hoyas are also non toxic. Mahonias (especially ‘soft caress’) are really pretty plants. They look like small palm trees (but with soft leaves) and flower in the winter. I also grow dwarf fruiting trees indoors. Lemons and dwarf mulberries would be on top of my list.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions or would like more suggestions :)!

      Vesi

  2. Ii had a chocolate soldier plant from my Grandmother plant years ago. I would like to purchase one of these slips and grow my own. How would I go about getting my. Starter plant? Would they be in one piece after being bumped around during shipping? How much would the price be ? Email is.

    1. Hi Colleen,

      I have purchased episcias online before. They are usually very well packaged and arrive in good condition. Depending on what type of episcia you’d like to get, they will range in price from anywhere between $5 to 12$. Just keep in mind that you’ll be receiving a small starter plant, but they generally grow very quickly and are very easy to propagate. I would recommend the Violet Barn. They have a pretty good selection of episcias and good prices (I would also recommend checking out their selection of gesneriads). You can also try Ebay, but you may or may not receive a plant in a good condition (you never know how they’ll package it). But even if your plant arrives broken up a bit, you can literally start if off from a leaf.

      Sometimes episcias are sold in local nurseries as foliage plants, and are often mislabeled. If you have a good eye for their leaf type, you might be able to spot them among the starter foliage plants. Those go for 2-3$ usually, but you wont know the variety and it’s sometimes a hit or miss.

      If you are looking for the classical chocolate soldier plant, that might be a bit trickier to find, so I would probably look on Ebay. Also it’s good to keep in mind that some varieties are easier to take care of than others!

      Hope this helps!
      Vesi

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