Bushy Episcias

stonesriver(6B Tennessee)November 1, 2004

Hello:

I am new to Episcias. I have succssfully grown AVs (especially mini and semi-mini trailers), Columneas and Begonias for a long time.

When my Columneas start to look sparse in the center, I pinch them back to encourage them to fill the pot.

What about Episcias? I have to confess, I love foliage and don't care much one way or the other if the Columneas or Episcias ever bloom. I want the Episcias to be more bushy and compact.

Some of mine are already trailing and "leggy." Is repotting (like the tutorial on Rob's web site) the only way? Or can I remove stolons?

Thanks so much,

Linda

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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

When you remove stolons on episcias that gives them the opportunity to grow larger and/or flower. If you pinch off all stolons, the one or two stolens that are growing have a good chance to increase to a good size. Then you allow a well placed stolen to grow larger and root. If you pinch off all stolons the stolons that are the plant will become larger and larger until finally you can allow most stolens to grow rather than being pinched out.

Nancy

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 5:53AM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

There are so many ways to grow episcias and so many of the techniques conflict with each other but each will lead to a very nicely grown plant. You can let it just grow as it wants, given a greenhouse location, and produce a big beautiful hanging basket. But, who has that kind of set up these days? You can grow episcias like a single crown violet, removing all stolons and training the main growth to grow an upright stem, then chopping and rerooting as it gets too tall. This is an old method that has largely been dropped by most growers. But, in the 70's some shows such as in AV clubs insisted on this method. Personally, I like this technique. What happens is that you can grow your single crown into a big plant with a simple "rosette" of huge leaves (depending on variety). Without the stolons shooting off all over the place you can grow the plants fairly close. But, then they need to be rerooted all the time--I once read a description of a grower who said she rerooted her episcias 4 times a year. All those stolons can be used for propagation, as long as they are left on long enough to make leaves--tiny stolons can be rooted though. The single crown method is really a challenge but the results--a plant with huge leaves is wonderful. Most growers allow their plants to make a few stolons, which they might root by sticking down into the soil, to make several main crowns, and then let a few stolons grow out. Whatever you do, plan on restarting plants from time to time. Episcias don't age well. Some growers insist that the best plants come from rooted stolons. I have had good success with stolons but I think any growth will make an equally nice plant. One way to grow a nice plant is to root a whole bunch of stolons, each separately in 2" pots. Then pick out the three best, and pot them up to make a specimen, selling, giving away, or trading the rest.

Since episcias reroot so easily it is not too difficult to reroot a crown. Just cut it off and pot up in an enclosed enviroment. It will root and the large leaves will reestablish while new bigger leaves will grow out to make the new crown. At least that is how it works in theory.

Jon

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 6:20PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Thank both of your for the replies. Now I feel a lot more confident. I especially like the idea of starting the stolons, picking out the three I like and putting them in one pot.

Maybe after my success, I can give away stolons and encourage some of my AV club members to try other gesnariads.

Again, thanks so much. I'll keep you posted on my future beautiful episcias :-)
Linda

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 7:02PM
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