razz(6 Washington)August 3, 2004

I just did a wonderfull trade with grubworm! I'm know the owner of all these great plants and I really don;t know how to keep them alive. I have them in dixie cups in a fish tank with a light and a glass lid. do they have to live their whole lives under glass? soil,watering,container size....I live in size 6 and I do grow hoyas, which are outside right now but will have to come in when it cools off. Would anyone please take the time to teach me?



chirta, blue moon

alsobia cygnet Whats a cygnet?


strep country girl

cryptanthus earth star

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mingtea(z9 Tucson)


i don't grow all of these, so i only have input for a couple. i believe a cygnet is a young swan...the flowers of the alsobia are fringed and white. it's a trailer and i keep it under the same conditions as an AV. right now mine is outside under the trees and loving it. i have been giving pieces of it away all summer long--it roots very easily.
i have kohleria 'Red Ryder.' i haven't had it too long, but was warned that it'll go dormant in the fall (so don't throw that pot out!). it's been doing a lot of growing and i've divided it's rhizomes for the season.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 4:06PM
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I only grow Achimenes outside so I may not be much help.They grow outside in the shade here and go dormant in October and sleep until May.Maybe you could make hanging baskets with them and then let the baskets sleep inside all winter.Jessie

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 9:23PM
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Hello razz,

I don't know anything about the cryptanthus so you are on your own about that one. Some episeias are grown under glass, but not all of them. I have some that I don't grow in terrarium conditions. The rest of them should not be put in a terrarium. You are in jeopardy of getting a severe case of powdery mildew on the rest of them. I would consider sending grubworm and e-mail and ask her how she grows the cryptanthus and episeia.

Cygnet is just a variety of alsobia.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 1:41AM
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Hey razz,

I realize that I really didn't answer your question very well except about whether to keep these plants in a terrarium. You will find that most of these plants can be grown under similar conditions as most African violets. I'm not a real expert on some of these plants, but the ones that I know pretty well I can't comment on.

achimenes - definitely no terrarium but I don't know a lot of about watering schedule.

episeia - they seem to like a little more humidity than some of the other gesnariads. They also like it to be a little more on the warm side. That is more than 70°.

Chirta, blue moon - again very much like an African violet, but they like to dry out just a little bit. Not like a cactus though.

alsobia cygnet - is very closely related to episeias, but don't need as much humidity and can stand just a little bit more cold than episeias.

kohleria, somebody earlier said it has a growing season and a dormant season. When they start to look pretty scraggly it is time to withhold water from the plants and let it die down. This is a good time to collect rhizomes, give them a few weeks to a couple of months rest. When they are rested then plant them again and start watering Watch them close, the rhizomes can soften up and die on you. If you feel that these rhizomes are softening up, plant them immediately and start watering. Soon you will probably have so many rhizomes that you won't be able to find enough people to give them to. They can take a little more light than an African violet can

strep country girl -should be grown very much like an African violet. They can take a little bit more light, but be careful they can get sunburned too. They don't take heat very well. Anything above 82° and they really start to suffer.

cryptanthus earth star - this one I would have you send e-mail to grubworm about. I have never grown this one

I have definitely not giving you an in-depth book on how to take care of these various gesnaread cousins of African violets. I would suggest that you get a book on the subject, or start looking out on the Web and see if you can find send information. I wish I had a good book on gesnariads that I could recommend, but I don't.

I really hope this helps you get started. Good luck and have fun


    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 2:37AM
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komi(z7/8 DC)

cryptanthus is a bromeliad. generally, they like it moist bright and warm. They should be fertilized (I do weakly weekly).

The episcias - roughly speaking - grow like avs... but some need more humidity, some need more light (eg dark pink leaves), some need a terrarium (pale pink/green shimmery leaves). I grow mine slightly drier than the avs.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 10:37AM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Hi, the terrarium is useful for raising the humidity while establishing plants, especially if they have lost their roots. I also use plastic bags to enclose small pots of things, then put under light. But, all of your plants can grow in the open. Kohlerias are a little wierd--they do make rhizomes and can go fully dormant, but they don't need to and often can be brought into their best flowering in the middle of winter. I like to use them to decorate my north facing kitchen window in winter. At that time I have to stake them and they really would like a little more light than that window gives me at tjat time of year, but they flower for months. What they really do is grow all year and replace old ratty spent stems with new shoots from the rhizomes. If they encounter a drought, they die down and often come back very strong when watering is resumed. Achimenes, on the other hand, are very seasonal. They go dormant in fall or early winter and come up again after about four months (for some). For me they resprout in late May or even mid-june, usually after I have concluded that the pots have no rhizomes in them. Sometimes I carefully sift through the pots in early spring, find no rhizomes, put the soil back and leave them to do what they will do. And, more often then not, they resprout from some overlooked rhizomes. So I never give up on an achimenes.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 3:34PM
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surfpnsbch(z8 NWFL)

I have achimenes in hanging baskets on my deck. They are in full sun in NW FL, which is pretty hot. In the fall they should be allowed to dry out. I keep the basket just as it is over winter and then in spring dig up the little "pine cone" rhizomes and replant them whereever I want them. You could dig up the rhizomes in the fall I guess, and keep them as you would other bulbs and rhizomes over the winter.
Hope this helps a little.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2004 at 5:23PM
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where is a great place to buy these plants at?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 11:26PM
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Patrick888(z8 SeaTac WA)

jbess1...2 sources I know of are:

There are probably others, but these are the 2 I'm aware of. I read that Kartuz has been involved in Gesneriads for many years.

Other than African violets and gloxinias, I'm fairly new to actually growing Gesneriads. In June I joined the Gesneriad Society and attended their annual convention, held this year in July in Seattle. A good thing about membership there is access to the members' seed bank...lots of choices for $2 per pkt.

Gesneriad Society of America:

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 4:55PM
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Be-careful when ordering from Kartuz they sent me 3 plants and they were infested with mites I have them sprayed 2 might make it 1 not sure also I even sent pictures to the man thats so rude when you call and he would not do a thing about it I sent several e-mails with pictures I noticed this 2 days when they taped up a large broke limb and of course it dies thats when I started noticing the white buggers on the stems of that one and the other two....good think I did not put them with my other violets and I have a lot of them. If you buy from them you will not get a replacement, or your money back. they then ignore you. I told them I was going to warn people when I saw there name brought up , he don't care so WARNING! you buy you die to them.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:27PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)


I am very sorry - your experience was not good.

Generally - you can always presume that the plants you ordered can be infected, need to be isolated and sprayed.
I think Violet Barn is the cleanest operation of them all - and they had problems more the once. But they are very efficient in catching it up and eradicating bugs immediately.

I am thinking that this is an end of the season, the workers and customers are in and out of greenhouse, something could easily sneak in.

If it is not a virus, the rest is doable, you can eradicate all the pests. The broken limb - means you have a cutting to put down.

At Kartuz - they have some absolutely neat stuff you cannot find anywhere else. I still grow Streptocarpella Sparkles - I got it from them 10 years ago - and I think it came with root mealy bugs. It was easy - I just cut the tops and rooted them.

So with all my dislike to the bugs - I want Michael Kartuz to continue for many more years. He maintains a stock of very rare plants that will be lost when he goes out of business. Marcia Belisle retired - and yes - at the end her plants were not the quality she had when she was younger - but her business is gone and her plants are gone too.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 2:08PM
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