My Episcia 'Pink Brocade' appears to look good from the

vickster257(Z7aNJ)August 31, 2004

upper level of leaves but where it touches the inside of the bubble bowl and in direct contact with the soil, the leaves are browning. How do I avoid this? After watering the soil adequately, and covering the bowl partially, the glass naturally gets misty and then the leaves get brown.

Any ideas? Wish I could post a pic but haven't been successful yet.


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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

I see you live in New Jersey. You will get lots of good advice, I would think, if you attend a meeting of the Frelinghausen (pardon me, I have never been able to spell that name) Gesneriad Society, that meets in Morristown at the botanical garden of the same name. Bring the plant and show them the problem. This is one of the best chapters in AGGS--their members are great propagators of gesneriads too.

I am thinking that you are keeping your terrarium a little too wet. It is hard to water a terrarium because there is no drainage. I use a turkey baster to remove excess water when I water--I make a little hole and if there is any standing water at the bottom I remove it with the baster. Then you might also leave to top off or partially open after watering to reduce the humidity just a bit. Another idea is to put some long fiber moss between the bottom leaves and the soil.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 7:35PM
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Hi Jon,

It's interesting that you mention the Frelinghuysen Arboretum and Gesneriad Society (now I am really getting homesick for my previous "haunts" wow, I'm showing my age with that word) We used to live 20 minutes from there and the Garden Clubs of NJ in conjunction with the F.A. exhibited many flower shows, harvest festivals; some of my first sinningias were purchased from them. We are about 2-1/2 hours away from there; tho that isn't terribly far, we have other pressing needs now.

But, my soil probably is kept on the dry side and what I do is just make tiny holes and drip a small amount of water along the perimeter on two sides only because the leaves are large and in the way. Now today, there isn't any moisture buildup as the cover is off. I, no doubt, will probably lose those browned leaves soon. I would like to clip off a stolon and root it, as this plant is no longer centered. This plant has not been fed either for many months b/c I am so afraid of adding too much moisture. Will use your tip about the baster if it appears to get wet. Thanks very much. Vicki

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 10:30PM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Hi Vicki,
Too bad that you now live so far away from Frelinghuysen (I copied your spelling ;)). I also live too far away--I'm across the US in the San Francisco Bay Area. Maybe if I lived in, say, Chicago, I could attend ;). But seriously, they do have an annual show and sale, which might be worth a special trip to Morristown. If you join the chapter you could receive their newsletter to be alerted of dates. There is also a chapter in Philadelphia and Delaware, but they are small chapters. The show in Washington is now attracting gesneriad visitors from long distances. Many of the show/sale dates are posted on the AGGS web site, so you could check there for dates as well.

I've discovered that once an episcia leaf begins to brown there is nothing that can be done for it. With a chirita one can just trim off the bad part and the rest of the leaf will continue on just fine. I used a scallop pattern scissor to make a cut that looks pretty natural. But, with episcias it is just best to remove the leaf entirely.

I have joked on this and other forums that I call my little device my "dedicated turkey baster", since I use it all the time for all kinds of sundry plant growing purposes and keep it far from the kitchen where someone might accidentially use it for cooking. By draining out a terrarium after watering you are no longer constrained to only water very lightly. With the baster you can do a thorough job and fertilize when you want to without waiting for the medium to become sufficiently dry. Then removing all the standing water makes the media nice and airy yet moist.

It is also a good idea to start a new plant. Those rooted stolons make the best plants, whether it be one of the variegated varieties like Pink Brocade or one of the regular episcias.

By the way, the Frelinghuysen chapter provided many of the sales plants at the AGGS convention this year, and I found that many of the plants I bought at the sale came from them--items like Petrocosmea begoniifolia, P. minor, chiritas, etc.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 1:13PM
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