Tag Archives: gesneriad

Streptocarpus thompsonii


Streptocarpus thompsoniiStreptocarpus thompsonii 
is a lovely little streptocarpus, that resembles a streptocarpella more so than a streptocarpus.

One of the most striking features of this plant is the transparent purple-spotted stem. Its swollen base makes this little plant look like an alien bonsai.Streptocarpus thomsonii

 

Streptocarpus thompsonii originates form Madagascar. It has tiny bell flowers, and though I could not find explicit information on the web, mine flowers yearround and constantly produces little seed pots. I sporadically find seedlings of this plant growing in my other plant’s pots. Some cultivars have white flowers, mine is pale blue.

The flowers are extremely tiny, and might be unnoticeable at first, but they are numerous and cute. It’s this plants unique and bizarre stem that makes it so attractive.

 

Requirements

Watering needs:

Streptocarpus thompsonii has average watering needs. This plant likes a well drained medium and moderate watering. It can tolerate drying out.

Light:

Part shade is ideal for this plant. I have grown in on north/east/west windows. The plant pictured on the right is growing on a north window. This little jem is very easy to keep. It tolerated quite a range in conditions.

Humidity:

Streptocarpus thompsonii doesn’t seem to mind lower humidity levels. Higher humidity will make it more resistant to infestations though. I’ve had some mealybug problems in the past, when it was kept in dryer conditions.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:


I use a well draining mix. African violet soil with extra perlite, or regular potting mix with perlite/vermiculite and peat moss will do the trick. I apply mild fertilizer during the growing season, usually a diluted african violet fertilizer.

Propagation:

This plant is very easy to propagate. I’ve propagated it from cuttings in the past, both in water and in moist soil. The plant also self pollinates. It quickly forms seed pots and self seeds in random places. I’ve found it growing in random pots. Even the seedlings have that interesting purple spotted, translucent stem.

Streptocarpus thomsonii seedlings
seedlings

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Though this plant spreads though seed like a weed, it doesn’t have an aggressive growth habit. I’ve drown it with different gesneriads in the same pot, and they get along just fine. Streptocarpus thompsonii has a gentle root system. It will occasionally get leggy and tall, but it takes on pruning quite well. You can shape it however you want, and show off it’s unique stem.Streptocarpus thompsonii


 

Sinningia ‘Georgia Sunset’ x Macrostachya

Sinningia hybridThis is a wonderful sinningia hybrid. ‘Georgia Sunset’ x Machrostachya is a power house when it comes to blooming. It’s a very vigorous plant, and cuttings start blooming merely a month or two after rooting! The newly plated cuttings quickly grow a large tuber. Though its parent, Sinningia machrostachya, requires dormancy and flowers only during the summer, this hybrid, despite having a tuber, flowers year round and requires no dormancy. This is a very easy and vigorous plant to grow.

The leaves are somewhat large, deep green and textured. The flowers are orange red, pinker and somewhat spotted on the inside. They are large and come in clusters. The flowers are nicely displayed and last quite a bit.

This sinnigia hybrid tends to grow out and get leggy and disordered. Pruning and/or staking is a must with this plant. This can be grown out to a large and showy specimen, though I prefer keeping mine small (I’m running out of space).Sinningia machrostachya hybrid

Requirements:

Watering needs:

This plant has average watering needs. Let the soil dry out lightly between watering, but never leave it soggy, as it might cause the tuber to rot. It can take quite a bit of drought as well. Keep it on the dry side during the winter. I like to let this plant dry out and then soak the pot to water it.

Light:

Medium light is required. The pant does tend to get leggy, so having more light will help keep it denser, but it will flower and grow even on a north facing window. I would recommend east/west windows, or a north garden window.Sinningia machrostachya hybrid

Humidity:

Higher humidity is a plus, but do not spray the leaves. Humidity tray will help keep this plant looking its best.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

African violet soil with added per-lite or a mixture of per-lite, peat moss and regular potting soil will be perfect. When you repot a plant that already has a tuber formed, it is important to leave the top of the tuber exposed. If you plant the whole tuber under the soil it will likely rot, and also struggle spouting new growth. Diluted african violet fertilizer will be perfect.

Propagation:

Propagation is very easy though cuttings. I have even propagated this plant through a leaf. The cuttings root both in water or in moist soil under high humidity. Newly rooted plants come to flower very quickly.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

It’s a great plant to have! It flowers heavily and from an early age. The flowers are quite showy and numerous. The leaves are deep green and interesting. The plant does tend to get a bit out of hand, and unshapely, so don’t be afraid to prune it heavily if need be. The older leaves do get unsightly (they just seem to get bigger and bigger on top of just aging), so I tend to periodically remove them to keep the plant looking neat. I think this one can be shaped like a bonsai as well, to show off its tuber. Sinningia georgia sunset x machrostachya

Episcia ‘Suomi’

Episcia suomiEpiscia ‘Suomi’ is a little gem of a plant. It is a bit of a fussy episcia, but once you match it’s requirements it will rapidly grow out and flower profusely. It’s a very free flowering plant, and with the right condition, especially if grown under lights, will flower year round.

Episcia ‘Suomi’ is a tiny leaved episcia. The leaves are glossy , dark olive green, and have a silver stripe through them. The coloration varies slightly between cultivars and different conditions. The flowers are creamy yellow, with a bit of orange in the center, though some cultivars may lack the orange hint in the flowers.

This plant is perfect for terrarium culture. In fact it pretty much requires it. If grown outside, the leaves crumple and get curled up at the corners, and the plant will eventually end up dying. I grow mine in a glass bowl open at the top, or in a sealed terrarium. Though I’ve had some success growing it outside of a terrarium as well, I’d recommend sticking to a terrarium culture.

This episcia, though a bit tricky to grow at first (I definitely killed a few in the beginning), is a pleasure to have at home, and absolutely lovely to look at. The contrasting foliage, creamy yellow flowers and the tiny stature of the plant are really cute.Episcia suomi

Requirements:

Watering needs:

Episcia_suomiEpscia ‘Suomi’ loves to be watered. If you manage to keep the soil evenly moist, the air humid enough and the temperature warm, you can grow it outside of a terrarium as well. I’ve had some success growing it with a hygrolon strip through the soil, making sure the soil is kept constantly and evenly moist, and planted with some other high humility plants in the same pot to keep the humidity around Suomi high.

Light:

Tiny episcia suomiThis espicia is a low light plant. If the light is too low, however, the leaves will get longer, and the plant will produce long stolons that plant themselves at a considerable distance from the main rosette. If the light is too high the leaves will be small and start curling up at the edges. I grow mine in a closed environment next to a west facing window where it doesn’t really get direct light (because it’s to the side of the window) but plenty of very bright indirect light. This plant flowers and grows profusely. I’ve grown this episcia with equal success on a north facing window and well grown up terrarium facing east. I have several episcias ‘suomi’ growing in multiple glass bowl set ups, where the plant adds its dark foliage and lovely yellow flowers to those mini-gardens.

Humidity:

Episcia ‘Suomi’ loves humidity. It is essential for the plant, as it will not tolerate lower humidity. If you manage really high humidity you can let the soil dry out a bit between watering, but having soggy soil and dry air is a sure way to kill this plant. Soggy soil and very humid and warm air (rot conditions) seem to be well tolerated by this episcia. Episcias don’t like to be sprayed, and though this variety has more of a glossy type leaves, it is still no exception. Spraying it will cause wilt spots on the leaves, and you might loose your plant to rot.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Light soil with plenty of per-lite. I use either african voilet soil with extra per-lite, or equal parts generic potting mix, peat moss and per-lite. You can also use vermiculite instead of  per-lite, but keep in mind that vermiculite is more moisture retaining. This is a tiny low light plant, and I use very diluted fertilizer (usually african violet fertilizer) from spring to fall.

Propagation:

Very easy to propagate. Epsicia ‘Suomi’ grows tons of stolons that just plant themselves next to the mother plant. You can simply wait for them to root and repot them, or cut and root stolons yourself. It is great to simply root multiple in propagation jars (a closed glass bowl or terrarium with drainage and constantly moist soil with a tad bit of rooting hormone in there). That way you can have multiple Suomis to experiment with, and try different conditions, knowing that you have a back up. I generally do that with almost all miniatures as soon as I can get enough material form them to propagate them.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Episcia SuomiThis low light miniature is a terrarium plant to be admired. I will recommend growing it in a terrarium and propagating it, before trying anything else. Light level is also very important. It will grow at very low light levels, but you will not get much flowers out of the plant in that case. Bright indirect light, or artificial light is ideal. Episcia ‘Suomi’ can take some early morning or late evening light, but it will die if the light is too strong. It takes a bit of playing with the light levels to get the perfect amount, where it’s not enough to damage the foliage, but plenty to induce tons of flowers. Once you match its needs, this plant becomes a piece of cake to take care of, and its rapid growth and easiness of propagation will give you plenty of material to share, or experiment with.

Columnea ‘Melissa’

Columnea MelissaColumnea ‘Melissa’ is a wonderful plant to have at home. It has large showy flowers, that surprisingly last for a very long time. The leaves are small and darker somewhat variegated at the edges and redder on the bottom side. The flowers are large, bight orange with yellow throat and darker red lines. They look very similar to Columnea ‘Lava flow’, another everblooming columnea.

Columneas are generally seasonal bloomers, but a lot of hybrids and cultivars are available that bloom constantly and heavily. Some columneas are cascading with softer stems, other grow more shrubby and have more rigid stems and upright habit. Some have tiny leaves, other large, some are hairy others glossy and so on. The flowers range from yellow, orange, red, and any type of marking in between, some cultivars have pink flowers. The strange shape of the flowers are why those plants are commonly called “flying goldfish plant”, “dancing dolphins” or “shark plant”.Columnea melissa

On general columneas are epiphytic plants, and like orchids, require very well draining , open medium, higher humidity, and like to be kept lightly moist with very slight drying out between watering. Some varieties are more tolerant to drying out. They generally prefer warm environment, though some are high altitude plants that require lower temperatures. The seasonal bloomers sometimes require colder periods of time to promote blooming.Columnea melissa

Columnea ‘Melissa’ is an excellent hybrid, very easy to grow, and starts blooming very early and profusely. It has somewhat more rigid stems medium sized leaves and very large flowers. It’s quite tolerant of a bit of neglect, and if grown from cutting, it takes only a few months to have it start blooming.

Requirements:

Watering needs:

Medium watering needs. Allow the plant to slightly dry out between watering it in the winter, and try to keep it evenly and lightly moist during the summer. Grows wonderfully with hygrolon strip though the medium to keep constant moisture in the soil without letting it get soggy. If you overdry out plant, don’t overwater it right after (though usually that’s fine for other pants), as it most likely will rot your columnea, rather water it slightly and slightly increase the watering.

Light:

Part shade, though  it can take higher light if slowly accustomed to it. You can grow this plant on south/west/east window and even a north window, though it will reduce the flowering and make the growth leggy. Allow for plenty of light to get the maximum out of your plant. You can also grow under artificial light.

Humidity:

Columnea MelissaColumnea ‘Melissa’ is not very needy as some other columneas, or columea species. It can tolerate lower humidity. Don’t directly spray the leaves though to avoid wilt spots. Humidity trays will help you plant look its best. Very low humidity will make your leaves dry at the edges.

 

 

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Make sure your soil is very well drained. I sometimes add orchid potting mix (little chunks of wood) to the bottom of the pot, and a bit throughout the medium, quite a bit of per-lite, and either african violet soil or peat moss and maybe a bit of regular soil. Columneas don’t mid underpotting, and they seem to flower more when potbound. I use african violet fertilizer, though orchid fertilizer might work just as well. Fertilize more during spring and summer when the plant is growing rapidly. Columnea ‘Melissa’ is quite a rapid grower.

Propagation:

Colmuneas are very easy to propagate though cuttings. I root the cuttings in moist soil and an enclosed environment to keep the humidity high (either a glass bowl, in a ziplock bag, or a pot wrapped with a plastic bag).

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 
Columnea MelissaMake sure you don’t over dry your plant as recovery will be difficult. Trimming will help maintain shape and create a fuller specimen. Columnea ‘Melissa’ is a wonderful plant to have. It will be perfect for hanging baskets, even though it has more of a bushy growth habit. Very easy and fun to propagate, since it starts blooming almost right away. I highly recommend it! The flowers are quite spectacular and numerous, and it makes for quite a display!

Kohleria ‘Tropical Night’

kohleria tropical nightKohleria ‘Tropical Night’ is a very generous blooming kohleria. Like all kohlerias, it’s very easy to grow. It has dark foliage and smaller but numerous, very cute red fuzzy flowers. I love how cute and fuzzy this plant is.

It’s a relatively small plant, though it can grow pretty high. The flowers appear throughout the stem, though some kohlerias flower mostly at the top of the plant. I personally prefer the more uniform distribution of flowers as it gives the plant a wilder look.

Like all kohlerias, kohlera ‘Tropical Night’ has rhizomes and spreads quickly to fill up a pot. So if you accidentally dry it out, the plant can still re-sprout from the rhizomes. It has a wonderful overall growth is very balanced. The plant may need staking if you’d like to grow it taller.

This kohleria is very easy blooming, and to keep it blooming, just remove spent blooms, cut back any overgrowth or stake them, and it will reward you with never-ending array of intricate fuzzy flowers.Kohleria tropical night

Requirements:

Watering needs:

Kohleria ‘Tropical Night’ has medium watering needs. Getting the soil to slightly dry out between watering will do jut fine. Be careful not to overwater it as the plant can rot. This is a bigger problem than drying it out, since if the rhizomes are viable it can recover quickly from drought. If you overwater the plant, you might be able to rescue it by rooting less affected cuttings. One of the best ways to water it is by soaking the pot in water till moist, and then draining it thoughtfully. This doesn’t wash off or compress kohleria tropical nightthe soil.

Light:

Medium light, part shade to shade will work for this plant. Kohleria will flower even on a north facing window, but it can get quite leggy and in need of support if not enough light is provided.

 

Humidity:

Kohlerias like it warm and humid, thought do not spray the leaves directly as it will cause wilt spots on them. Humidity trays will work fine if you have a dry home environment, Kohlerias are not very fussy with their need for humidity, and will grow and flower at lower humidity levels as well.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

I use african violet soil with extra per-lite to make it lighter and more aerated. You can also use regular soil mixed with equal parts peat moss and per-lite. I’ve noticed this plant doesn’t do very well if the soil gets compressed and hard. I use dilute african violet fertilizer for this plant from spring to fall.

Propagation:

Kohleria tropical night offshootVery easy to propagate. Kohlerias grow shootings readily, some more so than others. Kohleria ‘Tropical Night’ is no exception, though it doesn’t sprout offshoots as vigorously as some other kohlerias. You can always root cuttings, even a leaf, though it’s a lot easier and quicker to use an offshoot or a rhizome. Here is a picture of a offshoot that is flowering.

 

 

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Kohleria tropical NIghtPinching off the top, and cutting back some old growth will help you kohleria look fuller and even flower more. If growth is leggy you might try increasing the light a bit more and maybe staking the stems for support.
This plant is very generous and aKohleria Tropical Night pleasure to grow at home. It looks very strange with it’s furry tubular flowers. I’ve always had a soft spot for kohlerias, and only a few so far haven’t been easy and constant bloomers for me. I love this hybrid’s contrasting leaves and overall dense and compact growth in my experience, though I’ve seen some ‘Tropical Night’ cultivars grow quite tall.

If you let the soil get copmacted and hard and don’t cut back some old leggy growth, or water the plant too little it may stop flowering, and go into a sort of state of dormancy. A repotting and some pruning back will help bring the kohleria to active growth and flowering. I have also noticed that if you spray it against bugs, the leafs will get burnt and a lot of the growth will die back. If you have your plant infected with pests it might be easier to just cut off all growth and re-pot the rhizomes in a fresh new pot.

Sinningia bullata

Sinningia bullataSinningia bullata is a fun and unique looking plant to have at home. It’s relatively easy to grow. The flowers are red/orange tubes, whose faces are dotted with darker red dots. What’s unique about this plant though is the white woolliness that covers the under-leaves, newly formed flower buds and flower stems. It’s interesting to look at and fun to touch. The bubbly green leaves make a nice contrast to the flowers, both color and texture wise. The colors are very bright and it’s difficult to take a picture that does this plant a justice.Sinningia bullata

Unlike some other tuberous sinningias, Sinningia bullata does not go through period of dormancy, and it flowers year round. How much flowers you get depends on how well your sinningia has grown and how big it is rather than the season. It does tend to grow a bit leggy and you should feel free to cut off the old growth as there is always new growth sprouting from the tuber.

In nature this plant is found on an island near southern Brazil called Florianopopolis. Sinningia bullata likes steep rocky cliffs, shade and moisture. This plant doesn’t seem to be bothered much by lower temperatures. You can still have it flowering in a cooler sunroom during the wintertime, but don’t let if freeze. Sinnigia bullata is a gesneriad, and there are quite a few other sinningias that are everblooming as well.Sinningia bullata

Requirements:

Watering needs:

I maintain the soil moist but never soggy, especially in the summer. Water less in the winter time, unless you are growing your plant in a warm location. It grows great with a hygrolon strip through the soil to maintain the moisture constant, and it seems to be fine with occasional drying out of the soil.

Light:
Sinningia bullataThis plant grows in part shade to shade. It seems to flower better when it has couple of hours of direct sunlight, making east and west windows ideal for it. It grows and flowers great on a north facing garden window, where it gets very bright indirect light all day long as well. Sinningia bullata tends to grow a bit leggy, so although you can easily grow it on a north window, I would not recommend it.

Humidity:
It can tolerate lower humidity levels, but the leaves will curl up at the ends, so higher humidity will be better for this plant. I do not spray the leaves because they are hairy and don’t want water to stain them. You can use a humidity tray.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Sinningia bullata needs well drained medium, so I use quite a bit of per-lite in my soil. Shredded tree fern fiber, and other epiphytic well draining medium would work as well. I use african violet soil with added peat moss and tons of per-lite for my plant and a bit of orchid potting medium, and is seems to work.  It’s very important not to bury the tuber under the soil! You should let it protrude on the surface to prevent it from rotting and to allow new shoots to sprout freely.

Propagation:

Young sinningia bullataBefore your Sinningia bullata reaches blooming size you can easily propagate it through cuttings. However, once you plant starts blooming that becomes very hard. I am currently trying to “re-set” growth by removing blooming stems. I hope after the plant start growing out new shoots I’ll be able to root some cuttings. Once your plant is blooming it will form seeds pots and you can propagate it through seeds as well, though it will take a long time for seedlings to reach blooming size.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: Sinningia bullata flower

It’s a fuzzy and cute plant  that really stands out among other plants. It’s has very bright green leaves and bright orange-red flowers that are a joy to look at. I highly recommend it! Sinningia bullata is a unique looking plant that stays relatively compact and once well established, never stops flowering! Cuttings from blooming sized plants seem to last forever in high humidity (they even continue flowering) but they stubbornly refuse to root. I love sinningias in general and there are many more everblooming ones that I would love to share with you :).

Kohleria ‘Peridots Rolo’

Kohleria Peridots RoloKohleria ‘Peridots Rolo’ is a cute kohleria hybrid with creamy pink flowers, and dark, contrasting, somewhat variegated foliage.

Kohlerias come in many colors and sizes. They all have similar requirements, furry foliage and flowers . The flowers come in varietey of colors and patterns, but are all tubular, fuzzy and mostly plentiful.
kohleria peridots roloKohleria ‘Peridots Rolo’ is a small kohleria, that stays under 12 ” (unless not enough light is provided, then it will get leggy and possibly taller). This plant flowers profusely (some kohlerias are mostly for foliage and flower less profusely). The pale pink flowers make a wonderful contrast with the darker foliage. If the light is lower the foliage is lighter green and the variagation can be clearly seen.

A gesneriad, this plant has similar requirements to the african violet, though in my opinion, is a lot easier to take care of. Kohlerias produce rhizomes that creep though the soil. The grow offshoots and very quickly fill up a pot. Don’t worry if you dry out your plant: it can re-sprout from the rhizomes. They look like fat caterpillars, and based on the type of kohleria, come in different shades and sizes. This kohleria has light colored rhizomes that are produced in large amounts.

Kohleria Peridots Rolo
Requirements:

Watering needs:

Kohleria "Peridots Rolo" flowerThis kohleria is easy to grow (like all of them), has medium watering requirements. It prefers to have the soil evenly moist, as well as bottom watering (like the african violet). Therefore it grows really well with hygrolon strip through the soil, pulling water up from a container under the plant. If its still in a small pot, a piece of yarn will do the same.

Light:

Part shade to shade. This plant is relatively low light plant. It does like a little bit of a direct light, and can be grown on an east, west and north facing window. It grows and flowers well on a north facing window, especially if its a large unobstructed one, where the plant will get plenty of bright indirect light. It can be grown under lights as well.

Humidity:

Kohlerias prefer higher humidity, though they can tolerate lower. They do not like their foliage sprayed. It will leave wilt spots on the leaves.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Light, puffy african violet soil, or you can make your own mix. I add peat moss and plenty of per-lite or vermiculite to a generic potting mix, or add per-lite (more if you’ll be passively watering from the bottom of the pot) to african violet soil. This plant grows best if the soil is light, well-drained and aerated so that the kohleria can easily grow its rhizomes though it.

Propagation:

Extremely easy to propagate! Kohlerias simply grow off shoots and you can pick out one  out. You can also unearth some rhizomes or even a fraction of a rhizome. Kohlerias can be easily propagated though cuttings. In fact, you can have some cut flower in a vase and it will grow roots while flowering endlessly, unlike most plants where you have to remove any flowers or buds, so that the plant can form roots. You can also root a leaf, though that takes a lot longer.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Peridots RoloAn awesome low light plant to have, that flowers endlessly with gorgeous interesting looking furry flowers. I absolutely love kohlerias! I have tons of them, though not all bloom non-stop, and will be listing other varieties soon. I love Kohleria ‘Peridots rolo’, because it is a smaller kohleria, compact and dense growing, and the the overall look of the plant is balanced and pretty. If you don’t have a kohleria at home, do yourself a favor and get some, you will not regret it. They are some of the easiest plants to grow in the home. In my experience a bit of cooler night temperatures make it flower even more heavily. Other than that there isn’t much to growing these beauties.

Primulina tamiana (Vietnamese violet)

Primulina tamiana flowerPrimulina tamiana is an extremely cute miniature plant. It flowers most of the year, and if the conditions are right it is never out of bloom. The plant is very tiny, under 3 inches. The flower spike is taller than the plant’s rosette, and the flowers are beautifully displayed. This plant is a gesneriad, an african violet relative, and requires the same culture. This plant does not like excessive heat or cold. The household environment seems to suit it perfectly.

Primulina tamiana makes a perfect terrarium plant. It’s tiny, the flowers are large compared to the plant size, and it does like higher humidity. It really stands out on mossy background. I really like Primulina tamiana. It easily forms seed pods that are quite interesting to look at, but they do limit the production of flowers. If you decide to leave the seed pods to mature, the plant will get back into flowering once those are ripe. Occasionally, I would see this plant growing from seed in random pots that were by the parent plant for sometime. You can easily tell it’s a p. tamiana seedling by the leaves. They are positioned like an african violet, but are rounder, smaller and the stems are a bit longer.

Primulina tamiana on a north garden window

Requirements:

Watering needs:
This plant requires moderate watering. You don’t want to leave it soggy or dry it out. I keep the soil moist at all times (or try to) when the temperature is high, and let it dry out between watering when it’s colder. This plant flourishes in terrarium conditions. You can also use a piece of yarn through the soil to wick water from a humidity tray for example, or a hygrolon set up.

Light:

Primulina tamiana

Primulina tamiana likes shade to part shade. It will benefit from few hours of direct sun, but cannot take afternoon sun. You can have it growing on a north window and it will still look great and flower, but not as much as if it is grown on an east/west window. The leaves will burn on a south window. I do take this plant out in the summer and keep it on the north side of the house, where it gets tons of bright light, but no direct sunlight at all, and it grows very compact as you can see from the picture on the left.

Humidity:

This plant likes higher humidity, though it can tolerate lower levels just fine. Humidity tray will help out. Primulina tamiana does not like its leaves sprayed. It will do great in a terrarium environment though.Primulina_tamiana

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

You can grow this as an african violet. I use african violet soil, or make my own mix of regular soil, peat moss and per-lite in more or less equal proportions. Primulinas like their soil to be light and aerated. I use african violet fertilizer for this plant. Primulina tamina is a light feeder and if you repot it twice a year you may not have to fertilize it. Nevertheless, I use lower concentration of fertilizer and apply it during the growing season.

Propagation:

Primulina tamina is extremely easy to propagate. It will sometimes do that even without your help, and you may find seedlings growing in random pots. You can also propagate this plant by rooting a leaf or a cutting. It’s very easy to propagate.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

primulina tamianaWhen Primulina tamiana forms seeds, it impairs the flowering of the plant and does tend to exhaust it. Other than that, it’s a heavy blooming plant with cute, beautifully displayed flowers. It’s tiny and easy to grow, and a favorite of mine. Since it’s so easy to propagate, I love adding from it to dish gardens and terrarium gardens. It grows pretty rapidly from seed too, reaching blooming size in several months. I think it might do great potted in other plants pots as well, as a ground cover, if the soil is compatible. Higher humidity and temperature seem to get the flowers a bit discolored. In my experience Primulina tamiana likes its cooler, that is under 80°F.

Streptocarpella saxorum (False African Violet)

IMAG1430 Streptocarpella saxorum has wonderful cultivars and is one of my favorite plants. It has cute, velvety, deep-green leaves, and dainty flowers that hang from long stems and almost look like a cloud of butterflies flocking around the plant. There are may cultivars, one of the most common of which is Concord Blue. The different varieties available vary in the size of the flowers and the shade of blue from violet to deeper blue, light and darker blue. There are also white cultivars. Some are purely white, others are very pale blue or are white with fringes of blue. There are also variegated forms, though I don’t know how well those bloom. The wild form is somewhat smaller leaved, more of a lavender flower color, and I am still waiting to see how well it blooms (it’s almost blooming size). So far it seems to me to be a shy bloomer. The commonly sold cultivars are heavy bloomers and put on a wonderful display.

Streptocarpella saxorum originates from Tanzania and Kenya. It a tropical plant though it seem to enjoy cooler environment around the low 70ies Fahrenheit.IMAG2708 This plant is very frost sensitive. It belongs to the Gesneariad family and is an African violet relative, even called false African violet. The growing conditions are almost the same as for African violets. This plant grows to about 12 inches in height and makes a wonderful hanging basket plant. Once it reaches a decent size this plant is ever blooming.

Requirements:

Watering needs:

This plant likes to dry out a bit between watering and likes to be occasionally soaked. Be careful of over-watering. The plant has juicy stems that tend to easily rot if the soil is soggy. If your plant is young and tiny you can be more generous with the watering, but a well established plant benefits from having its soil dry up between watering, especially in the winter months.

Light:

Bright indirect light is perfect for this plant. It likes part shade to shade. A large unobstructed north facing window , or an east/west window will be ideal for this plant. Direct midday light will burn the leaves.

Humidity:

IMAG1111This plant enjoys higher humidity levels, but do not spray the leaves as it will result in wilt spots. On another note this plant also seems to enjoy cooler environment, so lower temperatures and plenty of moisture in the air will help making your plant thrive.

 

 

 

 

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

I use a mix of general potting soil and African violet soil with plenty of per-lite to make the soil well drained and light. This plant like basic to slightly acidic soil, well drained and light. I use African violet fertilizer during the warmer months, at a lower concentration than the recommended. Overall this isn’t a very fussy plant.

Propagation:

Streptocarpellas ca be propagated by cuttings, from offshoots or seeds. You can even propagate them from a leaf. Cuttings root well in both water and moist soil. Generally speaking this is a very easy to propagate plant. When propagating from cuttings it helps to keep the humidity high, but keep the leafy part of your cutting from any water droplets as it will rot.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

IMAG2707Streptocarpellas seems to do better kept in a cooler place. From my personal observations it seems to flower better when the temperatures are a bit on the low side. Pruning disrupts the flowering, but sometimes its needed. Cleaning the old leaves / spent flowers and occasionally pinching off a leggy stem will keep your plant looking good. It can suffer mealy bugs, and aphids (those seem to only go for the flowers). Spraying with insecticide will make the leaves get spotted and eventually dry off, so my advice would be to remove as much of the infected plant, simply cut off as much as you can back, remove overly infested leaves and then spray out plant.

Seemannia sylvatica

Seemannia sylvaticaSeemannia sylvatica, formerly known as Gloxinia sylvatica, is a wonderful house plant to have. A rapid grower, it quickly fills up a pot and flowers heavily and constantly. This plant belongs to the gesneriad family and originates from South America. It produces rhizomes and if worst comes to worst, your plant gets exposed to the cold or gets dried out, you can bring it back to life, as long as there is a fragment of a healthy rhizome in the soil. This plant grows offshoots and fills up the pot completely in a very short period of time, so I wouldn’t recommend it for mixed containers or arrangements.
Seemannia sylvatica

Some cultivars like ‘Bolivian Sunset’ are quite large, a lot more enduring and better suited for outdoor cultivation. Seemannia medea looks almost identical to Bolivian Sunset and it grows quite tall with firmer taller stems, larger longer leaves and slightly larger flowers. There are many different cultivars as well as an yellow form of the plant. The one I have is closer to what is found in nature. It’s a small stature plant, seldom growing more than 6-7 inches in height (mine stays around 5 inches tall when provided with lots of bright indirect light), quickly filling up the space in a pot by growing a network of rhizomes and many offshoots.

This plant is a pleasure to have. It has gorgeous unique blooms that really catch the eye, and you are sure to get many compliments on that plant. It’s very easy to grow, and even if something goes wrong, or you forget to water it, it quickly recovers.Seemannia sylvatica

Requirements:

Watering needs:

Seemannia sylvatica likes plenty of water and can even tolerate sitting in a tray full of water, if fact I do that sometimes on a hot day. This plant takes in quite a bit of water, nevertheless don’t let it soak in water for days, as it will most definitely rot. If you dry it out, it can re-sprout from its rhizomes, so don’t worry too much. Just observe the leaves. Sometimes you will water it just to find the leaves going limp several hours later, so you simply have to water it with more water. Significantly cut down on the watering during the winter months. Seemannia sylvatica grows the best with a hygrolon strip through the soil and a water reservoir, passively maintaining the soil at the perfect level of moist.

Light:

This plant can adapt to a range of light conditions. If you grow it at low light it will get leggy but still flower nevertheless. Indoors east and west windows are ideal. In my experience, you get the best results from very bright indirect light. Such as north facing garden window with no obstructions, where the plant gets bright light from all directions, but no direct light, or outside on the north side of the house, with couple of hours of direct sunlight, no noon light and plenty of bright indirect light. You can slowly accustom your seemannia to full light as well, but it has to be done very, very gradually otherwise you will burn the leaves.

Humidity:

Seemannia sylvatica likes higher humidity. If the humidity is too low the tips of its leaves will  dry out, and it will not look as pretty. The leaves are somewhat hairy, so spraying on them directly will result in blotches and spots, even holes on the leaves. A tray with water and rocks under the pot, so that the plant is not soaking in water, is a great way to keep the relative humidity around the plant high.

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

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

I personally use African violet soil mixed with regular potting soil and lots of perlite. You can make your own mix as well (regular soil, peat moss, a bit of lime and perlite). This plant is not that needy, though it really helps to have the soil be light and puffy and well drained. I use African violet fertilizer for this plant, though a generic, well balanced fertilizer will do the job as well. Fertilize from spring to fall every now and then, preferably at a lower than the recommended concentration, but more often that recommended.

Propagation:

Seemannia sylvatica rootsSeemannia sylvatica is extremely easy to propagate. It rapidly grows offshoots and you can simply dig one out. You can technically root a cutting as well, or dig out a piece of rhizome and plant that. Many options there, though offshoots are the easiest ad fastest way. This plant grows to a nice dense specimen and you simply split it into two good sized, covered in flower plants as well.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Seemannia sylvaticaI still get surprised when I go to re-pot a well grown Seemannia sylvatica and I lift the plant from the pot. Where did the soil go? It almost seems all was converted into roots and rhizomes. And any piece of rhizome can be used to grow a plant.

I absolutely love this plant. I really like the flowers on it. Those furry red bells with spotted yellow inside are so gorgeous and cheerful. The overall growth habit of this plant is so lovely. I prefer it over the Bolivian Sunset form, as it stays more compact. It’s definitely a must have plant. I would even say that this is a great beginner plant.

Some interesting observations that I’ve made are that this plant likes to fill up a pot with its rhizomes and then offshoots and then comes the never-ending flowering. However, if you take out a flowering offshoot and start you plant from there, it will remain flowering while growing its rhizome network and throwing out offshoots.