Just bought my first Streptocarpus . . .

andalee(Z6a, N ID)February 28, 2004

and I'm wondering where I can find info on their growth habits, etc.

  • Do they grow like AV's?

  • Should they be kept to one "crown", or do they even really have a crown?

  • I read somewhere that each leaf can produce a bloom stalk; is that why there seem to be a couple of new stalks coming up at the edges of the plant, instead of in the center with the others?

  • Why does that one outside leaf droop like it needs water when all the others stand up so proudly?

I've got lots more questions, but I thought I'd try to find a place to read about these before I peppered y'all with the rest. :o) I'm afraid I'm smitten . . . I've only had this plant for a few days, and I've already joined the AGGS! lol

Thanks so much, and grow on,


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Andalee, (what a pretty name!)

There is not much written about streps. I'll try to help you out.

Growing in the window light is fine. Keep out of bright direct sun. Growing under florescent lights is fine, too.

Make sure your soil is not too heavy since this would keep water in the plant too long. Good African violet soil with lots of perlite added would help. You need really good drainage. Streps hate to be constantly too wet. They can go quite dry if there is good humidity.

Treat generally just like an African violet. One-quarter to one-eighth teaspoon fertilizer in a gallon Warm water and fertilize often. Less often in winter unless you have a winter flowering variety. You can even spray this fertilizer onto the plant. (Keep out of sun when leaves have been sprayed).

Streps leaves naturally turn brown at a given moment. Just cut away. Each leaf can produce one or more peduncles (bloomstalks)and each bloomstalk can produce one to twelve flowers depending upon the variety you have. Usual is one to two flowers to peduncle.

You can reproduce your strep by taking a young healthy leaf, splitting it into two by cutting out the midrib which is discarded. Take the two halves and place them into trenches in the soil. Cover them with a dome or plastic bag and leave them that way until you transplant your babies.

You might enjoy looking at pictures of other streps on rob's violet barn. I think that is just www.rob'svioletbarn He also gives strep advice.

Nancy in Montreal

    Bookmark   February 28, 2004 at 7:22AM
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Try http://www.robsviolet.com

The drooping leaf is not a sign it needs water. Just a natural occurance.

You don't need to divide until about the third year.

Nancy in Montreal

    Bookmark   February 28, 2004 at 8:36AM
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Nancy, thanks for the info. A dear friend who is trying to get "into" houseplants, but not the easy-care ones that are good for newbies, has decided to grow streps. Last week she got 3 at a lawn and garden show and accidently broke a leaf. I ended up with the leaf the next day, totally limp and drying. I wrapped it in a damp paper towel and brought it home, then slit through the midvein. I didn't have any unused potting soil so I placed the sections atop some damp sphagnum in an empty Q-tip tray, laid the p'towel on top and set it on top of the water heater. Friday morning I found one little root about 1/8" long! Five days! Wow! that was fast!
Thanks for the info re heat stress, too. I have told my friend that if her streps are starting to die, I get them. You should see the oncidium orchid that I rescued from her compost pile last year. It is filling a 6" pot beautifully!! She said it was dead -- HA! (She used to grow & show orchids, and that rescue was completely brown and totally dried and shriveled).

    Bookmark   February 29, 2004 at 8:40AM
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Hi Andalee,

Although, I have been told that the success rate of starting strep leaves is not 100%, I had no problem propagating the two streps of mine using the above method. Good luck. It is really fun to watch the little plantlets grow off of the main leaf.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2004 at 9:24PM
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Propagation of streps is fun because they make babies faster than violet leaves. And they CAN make a baby at each vein cut. One of mine made 20 babies--BRISTOL'S PETTICOATS. I'm getting rich selling them!


    Bookmark   March 2, 2004 at 12:16PM
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I just got my first strep a couple of days ago,too. Well, technically it's my second and I killed my first within a week. I think this time will be better. Yours is much bigger and full of flowers while mine has just one stalk coming up. Yours is gorgeous! After a couple episcias, a strep, and a chirita, I'm about to join a local AGGS chapter too!

I was just looking around for strep care. Most care info I see says it has the same general requirements as african violets, but then i go and read that people are growing their streps under lights to get them to flower. my african violets flower all the time in a north-facing window, so it sounds like streps need more light to flower. Is that right?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2004 at 8:08PM
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CCChad(NSW Aust)

Your Streptocarpus Hybrid's common name is Cape Violetta.
I have been looking for these.They come in lots of different colours.
The ones that I have seen,have different flowers to your one. They had the same "nodding" flowers as a Streptocarpus Caulescens (nodding violet)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2004 at 9:49PM
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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)


Streps grow very will in window light and should flower there as well. Maybe a brighter window would help, though. It depends where you are. I'm in Montreal, Canada and can grow in the Western exposure. In Arizona or Florida that would cook the plant.

Provide the brightest light without direct sun.

Nancy in Montreal

    Bookmark   March 23, 2004 at 6:14PM
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You have lovely strep there, and congratulations on discovering one of the best houseplants out there!! They are a fabulous blooming plant to have in a room & I adore mine!!

Joining the AGGS after my vacation next week! =)


    Bookmark   March 25, 2004 at 12:48AM
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Hi Chad. Here they're called Cape Primrose.
We get lots of light all winter long so mine are at the north side of a room that gets full southern exposure and they just started to go wild a few weeks ago with flowers.
Joe, Winnipeg, Canada

    Bookmark   March 29, 2004 at 2:57PM
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dampflippers(Tyne & Wear UK)

Returning to the topic of leaf cuttings, how long does it usually take for them to root and shoot? I took some on Sept 25th and there is no sign of growth.
I have not put them in a plastic bag becasue I tried some before and they rotted.
Any advice welcome.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 6:00AM
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Here is a link to a site about Streptocarpus, it is still under construction but one of the best sites I have seen.


Good luck with it.

Oregon where the 2005 AGGS convention will be.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 2:32PM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

I had a strep that was dying recently. Its growth had wilted even though it was wet. This is a sure sign that the roots have rotted. Often the rot travels slowly up into the stem, which is actually the base of the petiole. Anyway, I soaked the limp leaves in a bowl of water overnight and they became turgid again. Then I cut them into pieces and put them in a mix of perlite and vermiculite, enclosed the pot in a ziplock bag and put it on my lightstand. That was about six weeks ago. Then I forgot all about them until a few days ago when I was going through all the ziplock bags on the lightstand. I found that several of the leaves had rotted, which I promptly removed. But, one leaf was sending up a couple of new plantlets. So, I put it back in the bag to grow a bit larger. It is important to remove rotted leaves but I left them a bit long. Still I was able to save this plant. Its true for me that enclosing often increases the chances of rotting but I have no luck rooting strep leaves in the open. One of our chapter members has come up with a new method for rooting leaves which sounds promising. He puts leaves in a container with a shallow bit of water and roots them that way. He says that in summer it takes about 3 weeks more or less. Then, after they have roots he pots them up, and they usually take. I'm sure there are many other ways to get leaves to root without rotting. We all need to try more experiments.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2004 at 3:40PM
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Hi Jon, I experiment with leaves all the time as when I first got some variegated leaves I thought they had misspelled root and meant rot. I had always had success rooting leaves until then. Talk about a comeuppance.
This summer I set a leaf in water to rehydrated it so I could pot it. Well... then I lost the tag and couldn't remember who it was, so decided to try the water rooting method with it. I let it get well rooted and then potted it up. within a week it was rotted. I guess that method didn't work for me or I need to research it further. I have found that if I leave the midrib in and cut horizontally that I have more success than removing the midrib. I use this method with the plants that are really gotta haves. Also if you plant it like an AV leaf you get less babies but it is almost a surefire way of success.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2004 at 12:28PM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Maggie, I generally make "wedge cuttings" too. At least that is what I call it when I cut the leaf crosswise into pieces with the midrib in the center. I make the cuttings about three or four inches long. Or, I use the whole leaf if it is on the small side. I never had luck removing the midrib and making two leaf half cuts though I know some growers who produce lots of props this way. Thinking back to the days of the clear sweater boxes, I remember when I used these for proping. They were about 9" by 16" (if memory serves) and about four inches high with a clear lid. I would put about an inch of moist perlite vermiculite on the bottom, and then insert the wedge cuttings into it, try to label the various varieties so that I would know what's what later one, and put the box under lights. This method proved 100% successful the times I used it. But, now I use individual approx. 3" pots inside ziplocks. I think the incidence of rotting was less in the sweater boxes because they enclose a larger volume of air and the media is one large unit rather than the smaller amount that would be in individual pots. I still have some sweater boxes around here, I think I will try this method again and see if it still works well.

Here's a nifty propagating tip I learned on Gesneriphiles some years ago and recently found to work for rosulate chiritas. When I came back from convention I had some broken leaves on some new purchases so I put them down. On one I cut the leaves in two, with a bottom half with the petiole and the top half. On the bottom half I cut off most or all of the petiole. Anyway, as I had learned, the top half has now produced plantlets while the bottom half is still bare of babies. Chiritas are very easy to root from leaves, or as I have learned, from sections of leaves.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2004 at 2:39PM
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Nan B. LaRue 7 Va.

I have grown and shown AV, and they were always Wicked,
can these be wicked, Everthing says they like to be dry,
but Steptocarpus always seen to dry out and droop, beause
they are to dry. Any help or suggestions would be of great help and appreciate. Thanks, Nan LaRUe

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 12:53PM
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Here are a couple of sites where there is information about Streps. There are also forums on these sites where many knowledgeable growers are eager to help beginners. Dale Martens is a member of both and is a well known hybridizer.

www.streptocapus- info.com
www.strepbystrep-subscribe@yahoo groups.com

There is another Strep group on yahoo as well. I cannot recall the name of it but I am sure if you google it you would find them.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:30PM
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