Growing Episcia Plants: How To Care For Flame Violets

The Flame Violet – Episcia cupreata (ee-PISH-ee-ah kew-pree-AH-tuh), is a herbaceous perennial plant. It’s native to Central and South America. Episcia plants belong to the Gesneriaceae family.

Episcia Plant Care

Episcia cuperata the flame violetPin

Flame Violets require a moderate level of caring and maintenance. They thrive indoors, with plenty of bright light and a medium to high level of humidity.

Size and Growth

Episcia leaves grow to about four inches. The plant itself can grow to a height of six inches.

Flowering and Fragrance

Episcia is known for its beautiful flowers. The flowers bloom during the spring with colors that vary with each plant. They can be yellow, orange, red, or pale purple.

The flowers are tubular and are one inch long each. Further, they carry no fragrance, 

Light & Temperature

Episcia prefers bright light but is intolerant of direct sunlight. Sunlight will cause the leaves to turn pale and lose color. Burns and dead areas can also develop.

Episcia plants grow well under artificial light like fluorescent lighting.

The plant grows perfectly within the range of temperatures between 90° and 60° degrees Fahrenheit. 

Temperatures above 90° degrees Fahrenheit stress the plant. Temperatures below 60° degrees Fahrenheit and persistent cold air drafts can cause severe deformations in the plant.

Watering and Feeding

Episcia doesn’t tolerate cold water. Bring the water to room temperature before watering the plant. The specific watering schedule will depend on the soil type and plant size. 

A general rule of thumb is to water the plant when the soil gets slightly dry. If the soil is left to dry completely, root damage may occur.

It’s recommended to use liquid fertilizers. They should be applied once every four to six weeks. The specific amount of houseplant food depends on the plant size and growth stage. You should always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Soil and Transplanting

Artificial soil mixes with good drainage, like peat-vermiculite, or perlite are recommended for growing Episcia. Such mixtures are clean and free of infectious material that can damage the plant.

When transplanting, be very careful not to damage the plant. Episcia’s leaves and roots are very delicate. Remove the plant gently and don’t shake the soil out from the roots ball. 

Mature plants can have multiple crowns. If you want to divide the plant, separate the crowns by cutting through the roots with a sharp knife. Place each part into its pot with the crown slightly above the soil level.

Grooming and Maintenance

Episcia doesn’t require lots of maintenance or grooming. You can trim old leaves and prune them to encourage new blossoms.

How To Propagate Episcia

Episcia can be propagated through leaf cutting and stolon runners. Remove a leaf with about an inch and a half of the petiole still attached. Plant the leaf by inserting the petiole into the soil in a new pot.

A new plant will grow at the bottom of the petiole. It can be removed and replanted. The leaf can then be used to propagate more than one plant.

To propagate from stolons pin the stolon down onto a pot filled with soil.

Episcia Pests and Diseases 

Several pests and diseases can cause damage to an Episcia plant.

Aphids (Plant Lice)

Aphids are insects that attack the plant and sucks the sap out of it. They cause injuries to the plant as they bite it. They can be terminated with pesticides.

Small Spiders

These arachnids cause damage to the plant by puncturing it and sucking the sap out. They’re small in size and have a reddish color. 

In large numbers, they weave webs around the leaves and flowers. They halt the plant’s growth and cause it to look stunted. Luckily, they can be terminated with pesticides.

Cyclamen Mites

These insects are so small that they can’t be seen by the naked eye. They feed off the tips of small, growing leaves and cause them to look twisted and deformed. They usually attack the leaves in the center of the plant. You can terminate them using pesticides.

Mealy Bugs

They’re white, waxy-looking insects about a quarter of an inch in size. They infest the crown and lay eggs. As their numbers increase, they start to infest leaves and stems as well. They attack the plant by sucking the sap out. Can be terminated with pesticides.

Botrytis Blight

Also known as Gray Mold, this is a fungal disease that affects leaves, petioles, and flowers. It causes the death and decay of the affected part. Grey mold appears on the infected areas.

To prevent this disease from affecting the plant, improve air circulation and reduce humidity in the room where it’s kept.

Root and Crown Rot

Caused by a fungus living in the soil, this disease attacks and kills Episcia. The plant rots from the root up and dies. There is no cure. It can be prevented by using sterile soil and making sure the water drains well after watering.

Episcia Uses

Episcia is a popular decorative indoor plant. It’s widely liked because of the bright colors of its flowers, and because of the elegant shapes of its leaves. Silver or copper-colored patterns of trimming appear on the leaves and give them a unique look.

The Episcia plant is great for terrariums, mini terrariums, or allowing to trail over the edge of hanging baskets.