Tag Archives: episcia

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.

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).