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My Vertical Garden Wall


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

How to Care & Cultivate Episcia

This was commonly known as Flame Violets which is much hardier than violets itself, both share the same genes - Gesneriaceae. I was ambitious to start a collection on this genes as I thought Episcias were easy and perhaps level up my challenge to another level. To my disappointment - it was not as easy as I thought.

Regardless, I'm sharing my years of experience with this plant - truly my love-hate relationship plant as they appear to almost to die and revert back to healthy again and at times, the reverse happens like in a cycle.

Therefore, to safeguard the species from totally eliminated from my garden, I started propagating spare plants here & there - just in case the mother plant disappears.

Here are my tips & observation:

A) MEDIUM: Soil Mix

I find the most important substance here is the soil-mix medium. They seemed to do fine in the beginning but as time goes by - they all succumb to their demise (just like begonias) I had found their needs are similar.

The key is to use moist but fast draining medium.
There are many options to use, the key is finding the right one that can work best for you.


1) 100% Sphagnum Moss using fast draining pot.

I had found this method successful, using a wide flat pot to place the moss.
the moss should not be soggy (do take note - not to place a tray to hold the water below)
Another set-back is that I found after many months, the moss tend to disintegrate and rot which can also kill the episcia leading the plant to root rot.
However using a good grade can be very expensive.

2) 50%  Sphagnum Moss & 50% Coconut Husk Chuck.

Similar to the above method but I believe this one is much more stable and able to slow down the moss disintegration. The only set-back is coco-chuck do harbor many times of insect when the medium is moist.


3) Equal portions of  Cocopeat / Rice Husk / Sphagnum Moss / Perlite / Potting Mix

This is the common mix that usually used for Episcia cultivation. You can skip one of the materials if they are unavailable. Do note that using Rice Husk can attract rodents and it may dig out the pot seeking out the rice and ruining the episcia planted on it.

But if you do have such vermin problem, do consider using this medium for indoors or a terrarium setting.


4) 50% Regular Potting Mix & 50%  River sand.

I want to emphasize on the use of sand as I find that it really helps on the fast draining medium similar to other medium mentioned above. Again - most of these medium can be expensive and thus using what you can afford and what you can get your hands on as a practical means.


5) 100% Mop Wick Material.

To Better Explain this please click on my link below:
Best Way to Grow Episcia using Leaf Cutting

I used this specifically for Begonias but it appears that Episcias too share the same condition and characteristics. I had successfully cultivated a whole plant using a single leaf of Episcia and so to prove this method works


Watering Issue is the most challenging and the most important issue when it comes to this particular plant. Too much water can kill the plant and too less water can cause the plant to wither. The best balance is required to cultivate this plant successfully.

I found the best method is to slightly tilt the plant in an angle as to let the water slide off from the pot.  

After few months, the plant gently cascade below the pot, trailing off new stolons.

Another method is to check the soil whether it is dry or wet & only water when it is dry. The tricky part is that if you have a big collection of plants and you water all of them in one go - or if the plant is exposed to rain. The way to handle it is to plant it using a suitable fast draining medium based on the environment.


They need bright but shaded light. Too direct hot sun can easily burn the foliage but I had also found that some cultivars can handle direct sunlight on them. The brighter the indirect light- the brilliant the foliage features will show. Another plus point is the blooms - they will only bloom in bright conditions.


This is the most important part. Without feeding the plant will slowly shut-down and may not recover. It starts to behave like an annual and it may require that you replant it or you may loose the whole species. I would suggest to use foliar fertilizer for this one.

The common commercial fertilizer can be too strong for them and you will notice burned leaves around the edges.

One way is to flush off the excess fertilizer or plant some other soft hardy plant alongside with episcias to give that soil balance. One of the best I found that works well are Wandering Jew, or any hardy Tradescantia species. They will quickly absorb excess fertilizers and equalize the soil make-up.


1) Pruning - Pinching off all the Flowers & Baby Stolons off for Few Weeks.

This is a bit unorthodox and I only recommend this if you have a strong heart.
Plant a spare episcia in the center of the pot and let it grow. Any time you notice a new baby stolon or a flower bud - pinch it off immediately so the the plant will focus all its energy on strengthening its root stability and foliage growth. Continue to do this for 3-4 weeks until the mother plant grows big and the crown fills the whole pot.
Also continue to fertilize the plant. Then at the last of the 4th week - don't pinch the flowers and you will see that one singular plant will burst with so many bloom.

If it cultivated on a hanging put, then pruning off the extra stolons actually helps the plant in the long run as it won't exhaust the mother plant unless it is planted on ground where the the whole plant behaves like a colony.


- Take a medium size cutting of a stolon.

Get a clean transparent container and place a damp wet tissue and place the stolon inside.

Keep the container air tight in a bright cool place for a week.

Note for any new formation of roots at the base of the stolon - this happens within 5-7 days.

Remove immediately any rotting leaves (if any) from the container while it is inside the damp container.

Plant the Stolon in a soil medium and place it in a cool indirect place and slowly acclimatize it to your garden.

Episcia Names and Images
Please click on the link on the title above for the post.

Here is the link where I had put together a list of all the Episcias that I had come across. A database of all the different types & their characteristics.

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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