Category Archives: Plant profiles

Ceropegia woodii (Rosery vine)

Ceropegia woodiiCeropegia woodii is a gorgeous small-leaved vine, that is commonly called rosary vine, chain of hearts, hearts on a string and so on, due to the heart shape of its cute waxy purplish-silver leaves. I love how this plant looks. It’s a great addition to any house plant collection. The plant is drought tolerant and doesn’t require much attention, it’s relatively easy to propagate, and I’ve used it in different flower arrangements.

Like other ceropegias, the flowers are odd shape and interesting looking. Once this plant becomes well established it will flower throughout the year.  The flowers are not that noticeable ceropegia woodiion the plant as they are not huge or contrasting to the foliage. They are still fascinating to look at, and either way it’s the leaves that are what makes Ceropgia woodii such a pleasure to grow at home.

This plant is native to South Africa. It tolerates dryer air conditions and drought as well as occasional lower temperatures. There are different cultivars available with different size and leave variegation.

Requirements:

Watering needs:

Ceropegia woodii is a succulent plant that tolerates drought. Medium watering will be just fine for it, and if you forget to water it once in a while it will be no big deal. Do not overwater this plant, as it will rot away. Moist soil is ok, but soggy soil or leaving the pot soaking in water for a long time will kill your plant. I tend to let the plant dry out completely and then soak the pot in water until it gets moist, let it drain well and then repeat the cycle. I do water it more in the summer time.

Light:

ceropegia woodiiThe higher the better, though it will grow and flower in part shade just as well. South west and east facing windows are ideal. I’ve grown Ceropegia woodii on a north facing window for a while to see how it does. It still grows well, but the leaves became lighter and spread farther apart on the stems, and the plant flowered less. North facing garden window is fine for this plant, where it gets very bright indirect light all day. If you take it outside in the warmer months make sure you slowly acclimated it to higher light levels to avoid leaf burn. It grows and flowers great at full sun exposure as well.ceropegia woodii

 

Humidity:
This plant can tolerate lower humidity. If grown around high humidity loving plants, it will be fine as well, and you will just have to water it even less, since the leaves will evaporate less moisture since the air is humid.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Cactus soil and cactus fertilizer work fine for this plant, though I’ve used generic potting mix with some sand, per-lite and peat moss as well. Ceropegia woodii likes well draining soil mix.

Propagation:

Ceropegia woodii is very easy to propagate. It forms nods on the stems that you can root in sandy soil. The plant forms tubers as well and you can simply dig one out with the roots and repot it. It is a bit harder to propagate the plant from cuttings that don’t have nodes on them, but one way to do it is to get a bigger cutting and leave it a few days to dry a bit before potting it in moist sand, that will stimulate the need to grow roots and nodes. Once, on accident and I tossed the long stem cutting into a randomCeropegia woodii flower pot with a big dracaena in it (did not even pot it or anything) and a week later I saw the ceropgia growing vigorously under the dracaena.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

It’s a lovely plant to have and very easy to propagate. Ceropegia woodii is great for hanging baskets and displays itself beautifully. It’s one of my favorite plants. I remember being so excited as a child when I saw one for sale, that my mom had to get it. I love the cute heart shape leaves and I love the color of this vine, it really stands out. If I didn’t have one already, I would prefer Ceropegia woodii for a Valentines day present, rather than cut flowers of chocolates. A great plant to have at home and since it’s not an overly aggressive grower you can easily pot it with other plants and do arrangements.

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 RoloSee all kohlerias.

Kohleria ‘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.

Justicia brandegeana (Shrimp Plant)

Shrimp plant

 

Justicia brandegeana, formerly known as Beloperone guttata, is an awesome plant to have at home. Just like the name suggest, the flowers, or actually the bracts, are positioned in a way that it looks like a shrimp.

 

Shrimp plant variagated

The actual flowers protrude from the bracts and can be different colors, though usually are white with red markings. The cultivar “fruit cocktail” has yellow bracts and red flowers (not pictured in this article). There are varieties that have yellow bracts, pick-orange bracts or dark red bracts. Some shrimp plants have variegated foliage. They can be grown as a shrub, or trained into a tree.

Darker variety shrimp plant

 

Justicia brandegeana originates from Mexico. It grows to about 3 feet, but can be maintained smaller with pruning. This plant is quite easy to grow. In it’s native environment it likes part shade. In a home it can tolerate lower light, but you will get the best results with higher amounts of light.

Requirements:

Watering needs:

Moderate watering is required. This plant likes to dry out between watering. Justicia brandegeana can be kept evenly moist in the summer, but the rest of the time you should let it dry out to prevent root rot. I have grown this with a hygrolon set up, where the soil moisture is kept almost constant and it seems to like that as well.Shrimp plant

Light:

Shrimp plant in the winterThis plant can tolerate lower light levels, though how well depends on the particular cultivar. It grows and flowers the best at full sun when grown in the north. I have grown this on a north facing garden window, though a normal north facing window will not be sufficient for flowering. East/west and south facing windows will produce the best results. The plant will get leggy with lower light, flower less and the bract color will be paler. Here is a shrimp plant flowering on a north facing garden window in the winter time.

Humidity:

The shrimp plant can tolerate lower humidity level and some neglect, but it will make it more susceptible to spider mites, aphids and mealy bugs.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

I use generic potting soil, and add extra per-lite to make it lighter and faster draining. This plant is not very fussy about it’s requirements and quite easy to grow. It’s a moderate feeder, and you can use generic fertilizer spring to fall.

Propagation:

The shrimp plant is very easy to propagate though cuttings.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Shrimp plantJusticia bandegeana is quite easy to grow, flowers constantly if enough light is provided, and has quite intriguing flowers. I do take it outside in the summer months where it gets 5-6 hours of direct sun. Be sure to slowly accustom your plant to higher light levels to avoid sunburn. Pruning is important for maintaining shape. The plant tends to grow long leggy stems, and likes to flower at the tips of those, so pruning will not only keep the shape and size of the plant good, but will also help with having more flowers. The shrimp plant is very easy and fun to grow :). I highly recommend it!

Deinostigma tamiana (formerly Primulina, also known as Vietnamese violet)

Primulina tamiana flowerDeinostigma 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.

Deinostigma 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 Deinostigma 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 d. 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

Deinostigma 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. Deinostigma 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. Deinostigma tamiana 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:

Deinostigma tamiana 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 Deinostigma tamiana forms seeds, it impairs the flowering of the plant and does tend to exhaust itself. 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 Deinostigma tamiana likes it cooler, that is under 80°F.

Pavonia multiflora (Brazilian Candle plant)

Pavonia multifloraPavonia multiflora, also called Brazilian
candle plant and Many Flowers, as it’s names suggest is an interesting Brazilian species that flowers profusely year-round.Pavonia flower buds

It has tropical looking glossy long leaves, and fascinating flowers. The bracts are pale pink when the flower bud is just forming and grow darker and redder as the flower bud matures.

Pavonia multiflora flower

 

You don’t even have to wait for the flower to open, the color and interesting shape all comes from the bracts. The flower itself is deep purple and resembles a  closed hibiscus flower. It makes sense since Pavonia multiflora is related to the Hibiscus family.

In nature Pavonia multiflora grows in part shade, in warm and humid environment, and grows up to 4-5 feet. Indoors this plant only grows to about 3 feet, and can be maintained smaller with pruning.

Pavonia multiflora

It likes it warm and humid, though it can tolerate  both lower temperature and lower humidity. Very, very easy to grow in my experience!

The plant starts blooming when small and never stops. Though it doesn’t show very well on pictures, this plant is exquisitely elegant: thick light in color woody stem, long glossy deep green-laves that are spaced perfectly to reveal clusters of intricate flowers.

Requirements:

Watering needs:

Medium watering requirements. If the humidity is high enough, Pavonia multiflora can tolerate quite a bit of dryness at the roots. Occasional soaking seems helps. It’s not very needy at all, and when I think of, I’ve been watering it rather erratic, and it can tolerate quite a range, in fact I don’t think it made any difference how I watered it.

Light:

Pavonia multiflora on an east window in the winterThis plant can tolerate a range of light levels. From part shade to full sun. I do take it outside in the summer, and slowly move it from part-shade to full sun where it gets covered with even more flowers. It will grow at low light levels as well, but the leaves will be spaced out more, and it will not flower as profusely. Indoors, you can grow it on a south/east/west window, and even a north window, though you won’t get as many flowers from it. The picture on the right shows a plant grown on a somewhat smaller east facing window, and as you can see it looks great.

Humidity:

Pavonia multiflora likes high humidity and enjoys its leaves being sprayed. Make sure it gets plenty of spraying in the winter time, when the air is drier. Humidity tray can be helpful too, though this plant is not as fussy as other humidity loving plants. If the humidity is not high enough, the leaves slightly curl down at the edges, and become more rigid and brittle.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Pavonia multiflora habitusAgain, this plant doesn’t really have fussy requirements. I grow mine (I have a few of them lol), in general potting mix with small amount of peat moss (it seems to me right to make the soil a bit acidic, since it’s a hibiscus relative), and quite a bit or per-lite for good drainage. General houseplant fertilizer will do. And as with all plants, I would always recommend fertilizing at at least half strength, more often during active growth, and significantly less if the plant is growing slower (such as winter time).

Propagation:

Pavonia multiflora can be propagated through cuttings, as well as seeds. Soft wood cuttings are fairly easy to root, and you can also do air-layering.

 

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Pavonia flowerPavonia multiflora is not as sensitive to pests as other plants, but it’s still somewhat susceptible to mealy bugs, spider mites and scale. If you miss out and have your plant heavily infested, you can always prune it down to an inch from the soil, clear out the top layer of the soil, maybe even re-pot and shake of the old soil, and spray it with the appropriate pesticide. The plant will re-sprout and resume blooming in a couple of months. It is such a fun plant to have, so easy to grow, and I have no idea why it’s not more popular as a house plant. It’s not an aggressive grower either and you can make arrangements or plant other smaller ground cover plants in the same pot.20161101_093231

 

After hard pruning:

20161101_093340

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 from 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.

Passiflora piresii

 

Passiflora piresii Passiflora periesii is one of the many wonderful everblooming passiflora varieties. They all more or less require the same conditions, though some are more needy than others.

Passiflora periesii is a large showy passiflora. The flowers only last a day and they tend to open consecutively along the stem. When your plant gets large enough, it will be continuously covered with flowers.

The higher the light/heat/humidity/soil richness the more you will get out of your plant. This plant requires room and support to climb on. Extremely showy and very rewarding to grow. Even thought each flower last a day, it makes such a beautiful sight to see. The flowers are such an intense bright red color, they almost seem to glow. They are also very large and look almost unreal.Passiflora piresii

Requirements:

Watering needs:

Water when the plant when the soil approaches dryness. If the temperatures are high, water the plant more generously. Passionflowers generally like a lot of sun, heat, water, fertilizer and humidity. Pretty much a lot of everything. During the winter reduce the amount of water appropriately.

You can find more information and tips on watering here.

Light:

Passiflora piresiiThe more the better! Passiflora piresii will flower on an east or west window, but it will do the best on a south facing window. The picture on the right shows Passiflora piressi flowering on a small east facing window. If you have the opportunity, grow it outside in full sun during the warmer months.  Supplementing it with grow lights during the winter will help to get more growth and flowers during these dark times. If I had southeast floor to ceiling corner windows (the next best thing after an actual greenhouse) I would have tons of ever blooming passionflowers!

Humidity:

This plant prefers higher humidity, though will tolerate lower as well. If the humidity is too low the corners of the leaves will dry up, and the flower buds may fail to open.

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

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Passionflowers like rich soil mixes, neutral to slightly acidic, that are freely draining. Some varieties can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, others are more fussy. When I re-pot my passifloras in the spring I like to mix in general potting mix with some peat moss and a bit of fully composted cow manure to get the pH slightly up and add plenty of organic richness to the soil. I also add perlite or sand to insure the soil is freely draining. Generic fertilizer applied at half strength regularly throughout the growing season seems to do the job. If the plant leaves turn paler, the plant is either not getting enough nutrient, not enough light, or is missing minerals.

Propagation:

Can be easily propagated though cuttings or seeds. Cuttings is preferable as the plant will come  into flower as soon as it gets big enough. If you grow your plant from seeds it may be years before your plant matures enough to start flowering.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

20150823_120039This is a large leafed vine with big flowers that requires quite a bit of support. Shaping pruning and wrapping back onto the trellis is essential to keep this plant in a good shape, well branched and looking good.

The higher the light the better. It’s interesting how the plant forms buds up along the branches in a way that would allow the flowers to open one a day. The leaves are big and darker green, beautifully contrasting the flowers. Passiflora piresii flowers don’t have a sent.

Passiflora piresii

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 it. It’s very easy to grow, and even if something goes wrong, or you forget to water it, it can quickly recover.Seemannia sylvatica

Requirements:

Watering needs:

Seemannia sylvatica likes plenty of water and can even tolerate sitting in a tray full of water. In 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, but overwatering it might rot the rhyzomes and there is no recovery from that. 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 moisture. You can chose to let it “die” for the winter by placing it in a slightly colder, darker place and significantly reducing the watering. Once you start watering the plant in the spring time it will re-sprout.

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. 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. 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 and fastest way to propagate it. This plant grows to a nice dense specimen and you can simply split it into two good sized, covered in flower plants.

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 the soil 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.

An interesting observation that I’ve made is that this plant likes to fill up a pot with its rhizomes and then offshoots, before it starts 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 offshoots.

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).