Episcia - Gesneriaceae - How to care for and grow Episcia plants
HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
The Episcia sThey are small stoloniferous plants that are very cultivated because they form real lawns, very attractive as they have been selected cultures and hybrids that produce leaves with very pleasant colors.
Species: see the paragraph on "Main species"
The genre Episcia, belonging to the large family of Gesneriaceaeincludes evergreen plants native to the tropical forests of South-Central America.
These are perennial herbaceous plants, stoloniferous, with a creeping habit that usually do not exceed 15-20 cm in height and form real lawns.
The leaves are usually large, opposite, often variegated and covered with a light down at whose armpit the solitary flowers develop, often gathered in groups, characterized by a tubular corolla and by colors ranging from red, to pink, to white, to lilac.
They are plants that can be grown both as creeping plants and as hanging baskets with a great decorative effect.
The genre Episcia includes about 40 species among which we remember:
L'Episcia cupreata, a perennial plant native to Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil, is among the most cultivated species as an ornamental plant. It is characterized by oval green leaves with metallic and slightly velvety reflections. It blooms from spring to autumn producing red and yellow flowers sometimes with red spots in the throat.
There are numerous hybrids that differ from each other for the different shades of the leaves.
There Episcia lilacina It is a perennial epiphytic or terrestrial creeping plant which forms ovate copper-green leaves, 5 cm long, with green veins and a red underside. It blooms from spring to autumn producing flowers, gathered in racemic inflorescences, white in color with blue-lavender throats.
There Episcia reptans It is a plant that has large leaves covered with a light down, of a beautiful dark green color and with silver veins. The flowers are bright red.
There Episcia dianthiflora it is a species native to Mexico and CostaRica and is a creeping perennial plant, characterized by oval dark green leaves and solitary white flowers that bloom from spring to autumn.
The Episcia they are plants of easy cultivation and do not require particular precautions if one considers that they are plants of tropical origin.
The minimum cultivation temperatures must not drop below 12-15 ° C and have no problems with maximum temperatures. This means that in regions with cold winters, plants must be stored in sheltered places.
The light must be intense but must not be exposed to direct sun. We realize if the amount of light to which the plant is exposed is sufficient from the internodes which in case of low light tend to stretch and the plant not to bloom.
During the spring-stivo period the Episcia should be watered regularly, keeping the soil moist, not soaked, and waiting for it to dry slightly on the surface before proceeding with the subsequent irrigations.During the autumn - winter period, watering should be drastically reduced and watered just enough so as not to dry out the topsoil.
They are plants that love humid environments so it would be advisable to place the pot in a saucer with gravel or other inert material in which there will be a little water (be careful that the water is not in contact with the bottom of the pot) which evaporating will guarantee a humid environment around the plant.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
The repotting of Episcia it is done when the pot has become too small to contain the plant, in early spring. When choosing the pot it is preferable to choose a wider pot than a deep one as the roots are quite superficial.
You can use a mixture formed by peat, leaf soil with the addition of a little coarse sand to help drain the irrigation water as they are plants that do not tolerate water stagnation.
During the spring - summer period, fertilize with a liquid-diluted fertilizer in the irrigation water, once a month, decreasing the doses compared to what is indicated in the package.
Use a good complete fertilizer that in addition to having nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) also contains the so-called microelements, i.e. those compounds that the plant needs in minimal quantities (but still needs them) such as magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), all important for a correct and balanced plant growth.
The Episcia they are plants that cannot be pruned. The parts that dry out are simply eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for disease.
The quickest and safest way to multiply Episcia it is through division of the stolons.
In spring, pieces of stolons are taken from the plant and rooted in a mixture of peat and sand. In a short time they will take root.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
Leaves that turn yellow and mottled
If the leaves show this symptom associated with the presence of thin cobwebs, especially on the underside of the leaves, it means that the plant has undergone an attack of red spider, a very harmful mite.
Remedies: increase the ambient humidity around the plant as a dry climate favors their proliferation. Only in case of a severe infestation use a specific insecticide.
Presence of aphids on all green parts of the plant
Small whitish insects that are found all over the green parts of the plant may be aphids commonly known as lice.
Remedies: the plant must be treated with specific pesticides.