Winter care of episcias

harwichhelen(Zone 7 MA)July 11, 2010

Hi: I mistakenly posted this as a response to another posting so it got buried. Sorry for the procedural error!

My question is about how cool is too cool for episcias in the winter. I like to keep a cool house in the winter (like between 55 and 60), and am worried it will be too cold for episcias. I have a Chocolate Soldier now that is growing fast and blooming. Will I have to keep it in a terrarium over the winter? My kitchen, where I keep it, has pretty good humidity all winter, not below 50. I want to try more varieties if I can keep them happy! Thanks

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irina_co(z5 CO)

Helen -

In my experience they should be kept at 70 and above - 60F and lower - episcias will be dead in a week or 2.

Terrarium is a good idea - I use a fish tank with light -and they live very happily there. The fish tank light is 12w - and it is enough to keep them warmer. Just keep it 24/7 - even they say that plants need sleep too.

Just get prepared that they grow really fast in hi humidity - so it will take over the terrarium.

Irina

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 2:45PM
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harwichhelen(Zone 7 MA)

Thanks, Irina. I love my Chocolate Soldier enough that I want to try more varieties, so I'll just have to do whatever it takes to keep them happy! I think another option to keeping the light on all the time is some kind of heating mat that the terrarium would sit on. It would give just enough warmth to do the job. There is such a thing, isn't there?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 3:14PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Yes - it is. Or you can hang a small wattage incandescent bulb just for heating.

Episcias are gorgeous plants - but if your house is kept on a colder side in winter - you need to limit the number of them to the amount you have space to pamper.

Good Luck

Irina

Here is a link that might be useful: heating mat

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 4:45PM
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harwichhelen(Zone 7 MA)

Just to follow up on my question this summer: my episcias are doing fine this winter with no extra treatment except that I put a dishtowel over them at night since they are by a sliding glass door (some under lights, some not). Surprisingly, they even sporadically flower, even though I keep a very cool house (55 at night and 60s in the daytime). They are all in the kitchen with a western exposure, where the humidity stays no lower than about 55% all the time, and usually is higher. I think the moral of the story is that there are so many variables (temp, light, humidity, drafts, etc.) that each person has to find what works for them. Try different things, and keep a close watch so you can make a quick change if something isn't working. Would love to hear from someone else growing episcias in similar conditions.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 5:29PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Plus there are different varieties. It seems that thick leaved varieties are tougher than skinny leaved. "Kiwi" won't take as much abuse as "Soledad Bronze" - which is in my house the cast iron variety of episcia.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 3:59PM
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snappyguy

"Plus there are different varieties. It seems that thick leaved varieties are tougher than skinny leaved. "Kiwi" won't take as much abuse as "Soledad Bronze" - which is in my house the cast iron variety of episcia."

In my house it's exactly the opposite. My La Soledad Bronze is nearly finished, but Kiwi is going strong. Our conditions must be very different. Both plants were bought at the same time from the same retailer too. Just goes to show, nothing is for certain when it comes to growing gessies.

Mark

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 6:17PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Mark -

and I keep losing Kiwi. It grows, becomes big - than the tips start drying and dying and it is gone in no time. And I have lilacina Blue Nile which is supposed to be difficult - and it grows like a weed for me.

May be something with the water hardness or Ph.

You just never know...

irina

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 6:52PM
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