My share on Ruby Tuesday today is this lovely plant with tiny red flowers.
You can find them easily in Singapore. You may not know the name, and think there are one kind of violet. Yes, they belong to the same family as the African violet, their name is Episcia, also known as “flame violets”. Episcias are tropical plants that require warmth, and prefer humidity, so it grows well in our climate.
You don’t need green finger to grow Episcia. For most species, they grow incredulously fast, covering every nook and cranny of a garden, they are good as a carpet plant. Episcias freely produce solons, which bear small plantlets at their tips, propagation is extremely easy, just stick the stolons into the soil. They will just root and grow into a new plant. As such you can keep it as houseplant, a potted episcia plant will make a perfectly beautiful hanging basket for a semi-sunny window.
While they are growing, it’s better to remove the small, developing stolons, to allow the main plant quickly mature. Once the main stem gets thicker and stronger, it will bloom. When they have many flowers, you can pot it into a larger pot or basket, and allow the stolons to grow. They will eventually produce blooms and stolons. Remove unwanted stolons and old leaves, otherwise, the plant will look “weedy”. This plant don’t have any flowering season here, they bloom whole year round, their nice foliage are more appreciated even when they are not in bloom.
One funny thing is this plant have chameleon-like behavior, the beautiful, variable colorful foliage grown in a different lighting condition, they turned to a different color. A place with good light is just perfect for them to grow the lovely colors of the leaves. But If the light is too bright, however, leaf color might be a bit dull…
We are all too familiar with the green-leafed Episcia, actually there are many other cultivars and hybrids of Episcia with with dazzling leaf colors and patterns. Most of them have the bright red colour of flowers, but I have seen the yellow flowers too, the another type with red edge on the leaves. However some are not as easy to grow as the common green one – even the dark red leaves type like the last picture, it grows slower than the green type.
They are just lovely, right? Grow one of your own.