Gesneriad Buys

Happy Independence Day!

To celebrate, I went to the Gesneriad Society's plant show and sale today. The local DC area chapter is hosting the annual meeting here in Silver Spring, so I couldn't not go to the plant sale!

I still don't know what a gesneriad is. Ah. Wikipedia tells me that gesneriads are plants in the Gesneriaceae family. That helps! I knew stuff like African violets (Saintpaulia), but also other genuses, such as Columnea, Episcia, Nematanthus, and Streptocarpus. I recognize Columnea, so my inclination is to assume it's popular--I also recognize Streptocarpus, but I specifically included that one in the list, along with Episcia and Nematanthus, because I bought some.

I had to get the "Vampire's Kiss" Streptocarpus (center), for $7.50. I mean, look at that flower! I was more enamored of the "Bristol's Hey Mei," but I went to the sale late (it started yesterday at 9 AM), so I'm sure they were all gone. There was a nice board with pictures of flowers near the streps to ID them--most were just a few leaves in a small pot of soil, so who'd ever know what they were?

I also acquired an Episcia, "Coco" (left), for $6. For the name, if nothing else, it was an awesome find! Episcia seems an interesting genus; I approve of highly variegated leaves with a wide range of colour choices. Like begonias. But these look like they're easier to care for. Now, I have no idea, because I know nothing about these plants right now. But we'll see.

Nematanthus brasiliensis is on the right. These cuttings were in a baggie for $3. I liked the look of 'em, so I said, "Why not?" That's what I said. Oh and the Internets say they flower! Possibly a good buy? It seems viny, which I like.

I have these folks sequestered in my bathroom sink for the moment--I'm going to be MIA for the rest of the weekend, and I don't really know if they'll do well in the window or if they have bugs. I noticed a few crawlies on some of the tables, so... I'll wait and see. When I come back, I'll have a post with pictures of the show portion--there were some pretty impressive displays of gesneriad love!

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5 Responses to Gesneriad Buys

  1. I've never tried an Episcia, because I've always been under the impression that they're more or less impossible to keep alive outside of a terrarium: I'd rather try rex begonias again. And Streptocarpus and I have been on the outs for some time now.

    Nematanthus are good people, though. In fact, Nematanthus and Aeschynanthus are the only gesneriads I even like, at the moment.

    YMMV, of course.

  2. What a beautiful episcia you have.

    Please do not put them too long in water, they do not like wet soil. When water, do not touch the leaves.

    I have very good success rate with episcia - known as flame violets.

    Do let me know if you face any problems with it, I may able to help you.

  3. Mr. S, I finally read up on Episcia. Something about "likes high humidity, so mist twice a day, but hates water, so don't get it on the leaves."

    Yeah. That'll work.

    Maybe I will actually just keep it in the bathroom. There is no air circulation in there (I have to keep the door open or water droplets form on the ceiling and then mold grows and it's a bad scene), so it is generally pretty humid.

    Streptocarpus, however, well, I have it in the tray with my squill. They seem to have the same care requirements, in terms of watering schedule. Hopefully that's the only thing I have to watch out for, because otherwise, the thing's just gonna die.

    James, I am excited about the Episcia. I do hope I keep it alive--I love the colouring! Do you know good details about their light requirements? I have found vastly conflicting information on the Internets.

  4. Im very much excited about Episcia too, been keeping them for years.

    Ok its like this, The first few weeks, Episcia will appear to be dormant and may slowly turn few leaves yellow (don't worry its the intial process)
    Once they started shooting out the tendrils, its means its showtime!

    As for lighting, they do well in semi shaded area. Too much sunlight may give out a lot of flowers but at the expense of burned leaves.
    Placed in a shaded area may give the leaves a darker colouring and broader shaped leaves. (but few flowers may bloom at this condition)

    A word of caution: If you find this plant starting to rot (usually you will find, few leaves at the bottom rotting together with the stem) remove them from the soil and let it dry up for a day or two and then, replant again.

    Do not place this plant in the water as it will not root (like other plants) rather, it will start to rot. ) treat it like a succulent plant.

    Hope this helps - good luck.

  5. I've found Episcias next to impossible personally (hates water but never let it dry out etc) but hopefully you'll have better luck than I've had.

    Streptocarpus has been another I've had problems with but this summer we've had consistently low night temperatures (15-20C - and these are being kept near an open window) and they've been doing very well with that. If mine keep doing well there's a whole list I've got my eye on ('Inkblot' 'Inky Frills' & 'Purple Pepper'). Really nice and vigorous when growing well, huge pain if they aren't happy.



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