streps and heat

crueltyfre(Tampa 9a heat 10 sunset 26)July 9, 2009

After reading how easy and great streps were, I took the plunge and bought two. They are slowly going downhill. I have multiple issues going. First was tip browning, which, in episcias meant too dry, so I started watering more. Then I got leaf droop, so I stopped watering. Even though I put them in half perlite/half av potting mix, I repotted one with even more perlite. I had them in a windowsill so then tried them under lights. Either the leaves are up and browning at tips, or they're drooping down with brown tips. New leaves try to emerge but never make it.

I finally was sick of trying to fix them and took the worse one and stuck it outside on a shelf and said it was on it's own. It took no more than a day or two for it to die. The second is still inside but following the same decline.

After even more research, the conclusion I'm coming to is heat. The various sites say never over 80 degrees. I live in Tampa, if it's 79 degrees outside it's winter. My a/c is set higher than that.

Are these plants that temp sensitive? Any thoughts on what else it could be? If they're so easy, why am I having such a hard time with them? Thanks in advance for any input,


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irina_co(z5 CO)

Lori -

2 things - way too hot - and way too much water.

You can keep them at 80 - provided you water sparingly - and wait until they become a bit droopy before adding more.

But - there are so many gesneriads that thrive in Florida -
it is much easier and rewarding to stick to ones that like heat and humidity.

You can keep Nematanthus, Aeschynanthus, Kohlerias, Smithianthas, Achimenes outside practically in a fool sun - and episcias in a shady are all summer - and only take them in on the frost nights.

Tampa area has good AV/Gesneriad clubs - I bet they can give you know-how tidbit how to do it just right.



    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 5:39PM
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I have had 3 streps for months, ordered from Violetbarn.
I live in a very hot area ,around zone11 not in the US., the temperature mostly 80-95-102F all year. When I got the streps, I repotted them with peat, perlite and vermiculite as I learned from Irina.
Now they are doing fine with flowers coming up all the time.
I get them in the air-conditioned room -with on and off.
Here is the picture of Bistrol's Party Girl which is blooming today. I don't know why your strps died, I am a novice too. But your weather is not hotter than mine.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 6:26AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Kai - hello -

the issue - is a controlled environment. You have yours in airconditioned room with the temperatures I think not above 80, and as I understand - with lights.

I am not sure if Lori uses lights - because - if you keep them on windowsill - the sun can easily raise the temperature even higher.

Lots of blooms to all


    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 9:50PM
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crueltyfre(Tampa 9a heat 10 sunset 26)

I thank you all for your answers and suggestions, both on and off list. I took the remaining strep, Salmon Sunset, and put it in the coldest room of the house, which, of course, is also the darkest room. I put it in the windowsill so as to get light.

Then I caught three wild kittens in a cat trap. I put them also in this room, idiot that I am. When it came time to catch the kittens to start taming them, they ran hissing and spitting and clawing and fighting, along the windowsill to get out. The poor strep went flying. Of it's remaining leaves, three or four got broken off, only two remain on the plant.

The poor plant is looking miserable. I give up. I don't want it's death on my conscious. I'd give it away via mail, but I live in Tampa where the temps are in the 90's so mailing it in a hot box would kill it for good. Sooooo...if there's anyone in Tampa who'd like to come and pick up the pitiful thing, they can have it. Come quick, lol. I caretake my elderly father and can get out of here on Tuesdays if you want to meet somewhere.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 9:32AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Lori - if the roots are Ok and even chunks of leaves are present - it will recover. They are not harmed too much if part of the leaf is removed. i do it when they become huge and get into the neighbor tray.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 8:51PM
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