Flame Violet – Episcia

Flame Violet is grown as much for its beautiful textured or coloured leaves as for its brilliantly coloured and dainty flowers.

Originating from the tropical regions of central and South America, this plant belongs to a large family of plants called Gesneriads. It is closely related to a number of popular house plants including the African Violet and Gloxinia.

Flame Violet is also known as Carpet Plant, since it spreads by means of runners. In the wild the plantlets at the end of the runners root down into any suitable material on the ground or on the branches of trees. Single plants soon develop into large clusters, forming dense carpets on the ground or, if in trees, forming a hanging curtain of runners.

The leaves are heavily textured and marked. They are coppery or silvery and are hairy. The flowers, which appear from June through to September, have brilliantly coloured petals which give the plant its common name, Flame Violet.Flame Violet - Episcia

Flame Violet trails, or grows across the ground. Stems can be fairly long but the plant does not grow to a great size.

Varieties and colour

Four species of Flame Violet are popular and are frequently grown as house plants. Episcia cupreata has oval, extremely wrinkled green leaves flecked with copper. Episcia dianthiflora has small succulent green leaves and white flowers. E. punctata has thick juicy upright stems. E. reptans has pink flowers.

This plant is ideal for hanging baskets or as ground cover in a sunroom.

Through The Year

November—February Give your Flame Violet as much light as possible and do not let temperatures fall below 15°C (60°F). Water sparingly. Do not feed and keep out of draughts.

March—April

Repot using a peat-based potting mixture, plus coarse sand or Perlite. To make a new plant, sever a. rooted runner and pot up in the same mixture as for the mature plant.

May—October

Put in an east- or west-facing window in the summer. If you choose to put it in a south-facing window, protect it from the rays of the mid-day sun by filtering the light through a blind or a curtain. Do not overwater the plant. Apply diluted liquid plant food every two weeks.

Pests And Diseases

Spots on leaves can be caused by spillage of cold water on the leaves. Prevention: Always use lukewarm or tepid water and a watering can with a long spout to reach right into the potting mixture. Avoid wetting the leaves.

Yellow leaves can be caused by a build up of nutrients in the potting mixture, causing the roots to burn.

Treatment: Water thoroughly to dilute the fertilizer in the potting mixture and remove any badly damaged leaves. Use a diluted liquid fertilizer but wait a few weeks before applying.

PLANT CARE

Flame Violet needs a constant level of high humidity but otherwise it is an undemanding plant. If the variety you have makes long bare runners then cut them back.

  • Potting: Repot in March or April using a porous, well-drained peat-based potting compost. Mix in a little sand, gravel or Perlite to improve the drainage.
  • Do not overwater. In summer, water moderately and in winter even more sparingly. Let the potting compost dry out slightly in between. Flame Violet needs high humidity. Place the pot on a bed of moist pebbles or group it with other plants to increase humidity.
  • Feeding: Apply diluted liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks in summer.

BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT

  • Light: This plant enjoys plenty of light but cannot tolerate the strong rays of the mid-day sun. It will lose leaf colour if it gets too much direct sunlight.
  • Temperature: Keep at room temperature. Ideally a day temperature of 21-24°C (70— 75°F) would suit this plant, with a drop of at least 5°C in the evening. Make sure the humidity level is high.

Buying Tips

  • This plant is generally available from garden centres and nurseries in the spring for summer blooming.
  • Leaf colour will vary with varieties, but plants should have firm and succulent leaves without any blemishes. Pick a plant with plenty of buds.
  • This is a perennial plant so it will last for many years. You can also propagate its runners.
  • Flame Violet has attractively marked leaves and dainty, brilliantly coloured flowers. Its natural trailing growth makes it ideal for hanging baskets.

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