Tag Archives: terrarium

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.

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.