PESTS & DISEASES
are able to become infected with the same insects, pests and diseases
African violets have. When your plant room has a pest or disease,
treat with homemade remedies or natural remedies first before resorting
to chemicals, which often destroy Episcia before they cure
them. New centers grow in extremely slowly if at all when burned
out by chemicals or affected by pests. Episcia, especially
younger plants, may be more sensitive to certain chemicals and may
Left: E. fimbriata 'Blue Heaven' burnt by an oil-based
pesticide for treatment of mealy bugs.
Above Right: E. 'Moss Agate' showing yellow spots
due to inorganic fertiliser burn and a tight centre due to lack
are especially subject to foliar mealy bugs. Look on the back
of young leaves on spent leaves and flowers, on stems and crevices.
Symptoms of mites include centers of the stolons or main crown
appearing dusty, curled up and hard.
when centers turn brown and leaves completely shrivel up, it may
not be mites. These symptoms may be from too high a percentage of
nitrogen in the fertilizer which makes it too acid. Or it may be
a symptom of salt build-up. Top watering once each six weeks is
recommended. This could also be from lack of humidity.
plants wilt although well-watered and seem not to be growing, in
the 50s, it was usually a sign of nematodes, a pest we don't often
get these days because of our use of soilless mix. In the past,
many growers used a soil mix which contained garden loam and this
is probably where most nematodes were picked up. Nowadays, these
symptoms may be considered a sign of soil mealy bugs.
rot is caused when soil mix is too heavy and keeps water in the
plant. Make sure your soilless mix is light. Most growers recommend
using a variation of one part peat moss, one part vermiculite, one
part perlite with additives such as charcoal and other organics.
Serious growers also use live sphagnum moss.
is caused by poor ventilation and air circulation.
does the stolon you received from a friend's plant not look the
same as the mother plant? Growing conditions can make a stolon of
your plant look very different from the plant from which it came.
Soil mix, amount of light, humidity, different fertilizer and fertilization
schedule as well as temperatures make two plants of the same variety
Above: Due to different lighting conditions, the new
leaves in E. 'Pink Panther' turned to a dark colour,
which lack the two-toned colouration seen in the older leaves.
SLOW GROWING (COMPACT EPISCIA)
is a partial list of the smaller growing plants that should be grown
in three-inch pots.
White', 'Chocolate & Cherries', 'Jade', 'Harvest Time', E. lilacina
virdis, 'Rose Brocade', 'Star of Bethlehem', 'Still Meadows',
'Tropical Topaz', 'Annette', 'Longwood Gardens', 'Moss Brocade',
'Rose Gold Mist', 'Ruby Red Dress', 'Schizophrenia', 'Singing Sands'
(a miniature), 'Sun Gold' and 'Toy Silver'.
Orange' is an easy cultivar to grow and bloom and may be best treated
as a small pot plant with stolons removed. It prefers more moisture
than most Episcia .
easy-to-grow pink flowered Episcia? Look for 'Green Haga'
or 'Pink Haga'.
EPISCIA FOR HANGING BASKETS (HANGING/TRAILER-TYPES EPISCIA)
'Cameo', 'Chocolate Soldier', 'Gray Lady', 'Helen-O', 'Tricolor',
'Tropical Topaz', 'Wine Brocade', 'Ronnie' and many others.
Soldier', 'Carlyle', 'Fantasy', 'Golden Embers', 'Gray Lady', 'Green
Haga', 'Halloween', 'Painted Warrior', 'Velvet', 'Velvet Green',
EPISCIA THAT LOOK
'Adam's Rib-Ebony' - 'Laquer Lady' - 'Chocolate Shine'
'Cameo-Ruby' - 'Velvet Brocade'
'Daisy-Cameo' - 'Yoer's Beauty' - 'Topsy'
'Fantasy' - 'Still Meadows'
'Fire and Ice' - 'Frosty'
'Golden Embers' - 'Green Haga'
'Green Cordaroy' - 'Red Cordaroy'
'Green Goddess' - 'Silver Challice'
'Harvest Time' - 'Velvet Green'
'Jade' - 'Canal Zone'
'Mari' - 'Kristina'
'Moss Agate' - 'Shades O' Erin'
'Mountain Haze' - 'Silver', 'Silver Cliffs', 'Sea Cliffs', 'Silver
'Olive Lawson' - 'Rosewood'
'Painted Warrior' - 'Purple Glory' - 'Tinted Silver'
'Pinkiscia' - 'Pink Tropicana'
'Royal Robe' - 'Rosy Future'
'Cleopatra' - 'Pink Brocade' - 'Pink Dreams'
'Ronnie' - 'Pink Panther' - 'Teddy Bear'
'Strawberry Patch' - 'Gold Digger'
and many more...
blooms easily as does 'Moss Agate' and are among the easiest to
grow for those just beginning a collection of Episcia.
is compact and has many stolons. 'Chocolate Soldier' (or versions
of it) is sold everywhere with red flowers, and is very popular
and easy to bloom.
and 'Pink Panther' are fast-growing.
(not spelled Columbia) Orange' with a very trailing habit offers
many stolons. This cultivar is easy to grow and bloom when kept
in a small pot but can become straggly if stolons are left to grow
Lace', a variegated sport like 'Cleopatra' emerged from a cross
made between E. lilacina cultivar 'Cuprea' and E. cupreata.
Its leaves are medium-sized and are brown irregularly blotched with
pink and white. It is not easy to make bloom but is very popular
because of the general appearance and color. It is an easy plant
to maintain. Sparse flowers are pink.
'Moss Agate', 'Painted Warrior', 'Pinkiscia', 'Silver Sheen' (an
excellent performer), 'Sun Gold', 'Tricolor', 'Tropical Topaz' and
many others are considered easy to grow and to bloom.
varieties such as 'Cleopatra', 'Pink Brocade' and others are not
easy cultivars for the beginner. Pink leafed varieties seem to profit
by growing in a terrarium. These are slow growers and can be more
expensive than most Episcia. These pink varieties are more
heat-sensitive and will not grow well in temperatures over 29 degree
Celsius but will tolerate 13 degree Celsius for a short period of
time if kept fairly dry. Water these plants sparingly at all times.
pink varieties require slightly more light intensity than most other
Episcia, 750 to 800 footcandles. They are often grown quite
close to the lights, around 4 inches. Long-fiber sphagnum most may
be substituted as soil medium.
GROWING EPISCIA FOR SHOW
grown for show should be given fresh soil about 3 months before
show. If stolons are repeatedly cut or pinched off, the foliage
of the main plant has time to grow larger. When it seems to fill
about one-third of the pot, allow two stolons, one on each side
of the plant to continue to grow, but pinch off any other stolons.
When the three seem a good size, allow stolons to grow as they will.
obtain flowers, pinch off stolons for a period before show then
allow the buds to come into bloom.
is important throughout the growth of the Episcia and especially
at three months before the show. Use a similar fertilizer schedule
as for violets, 20-20-20 for two months, 15-36-15 for two months
then for one feeding, use 5-52-10. Occasionally use Superthrive
or other bloom boosters a few weeks before the show.
Robitaille is from Montreal, Quebec, Canada and has been gardening
for over 30 years. Her primary interests outside is roses, peonies,
and lilies and she likes to experiment with Canna and other
perennials. Nancy grows over 200 African violets, 60 Streptocarpus
and 25 varieties of Episcia under lights in her home.
Culture Singapore is grateful to Nancy for allowing us to publish
this highly informative article, perhaps one of its kind, available
to Episcia growers.