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How to Grow Flame Violet — Episcia

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Episcia–commonly called flame violet or carpet plant–is a small evergreen tropical perennial with long slender stems that produce small plantlets at their ends. The leaves are oval and hairy. The flowers are tubular to bell-shaped, flame red or metallic pink, and appear in spring and summer. Episcia stands about 6 inches (15cm) tall.

Episcia are grown for their soft, colorful foliage and salvaform flowers. In tropical regions, Episcia is grown as a ground cover. In temperate, cool-winter regions Episcia is grown indoors in hanging baskets or in terrariums.

Episcia is a genus of 6 species of creeping, mat-forming plants. Episcia spreads via stolons that root as they creep along. Episcia is native to tropical forests and rocky habitats in Mexico and South America.

Get to know Episcia

  • Plant type: Evergreen perennial
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 14-15
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Height and width: 4 to 6 inches (10-15cm) tall, indefinite width
  • Foliage: Soft, colorful leaves
  • Flowers: 5-lobed flowers borne singly or in small racemes
  • Bloom time: Spring to autumn
  • Uses: Groundcover, hanging basket, terrarium plant
  • Common name: Flame violet, carpet plant
  • Botanical name: Episcia
  • Family name: Gesneriaceae
  • Origin: Rocky habitats from Mexico to South America
Episcia or flame violet
Episcia or flame violet

Where to plant Episcia

  • Light outdoors: Grow Episcia outdoors in partial shade.
  • Light indoors: Grow Episcia in bright filtered light.
  • Soil outdoors: Plant Episcia in fertile, humus-rich, moist but sharply drained soil.
  • Soil indoors: Grow Episcia in soilless potting mix with added perlite or vermiculite.

When to plant Episcia

  • Set container-grown Episcia outdoors any time of the year in tropical regions.

Planting and spacing Episcia

  • Episcia spreads via stolons that root as they creep along. Set plants at least 12 inches (30cm) apart.

How to water and feed Episcia

  • During the growing season, water Episcia moderately. Keep Episcia just moist in winter.
  • Fertilize Episcia with quater-strength, balanced fertilizer at each watering during the growing season.

Episcia care

  • Episcia creeps and roots with stolons. Plants can become invasive if they are ignored.

Growing Episcia as a houseplant

  • Grow Episcia in a warm, humid room where light is bright.
  • The growing medium should be extra rich and evenly moist.
  • Do not allow cold water to touch the leaves or they may spot.
  • Fertilise monthly during spring and summer.
  • After the plant flowers, cut it back to encourage new growth and pinch the new growth to encourage fullness.

Episcia pests and diseases

  • Episcia can be attacked by spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs, and botrytis blight.
 Episcia, flame violet
Episcia, flame violet

Episcia propagation

  • New plants can be propagated by rooting the plantlets that form at the ends of the stems or from stem cuttings.

Episcia varieties to grow

  • Episcia cupreata, flame violet. Wrinkled leaves that are green, reddish green, copper or market with silver; flowers are dark red with yellow undersides and red spots. Cultivars include ‘Chocolate Velour’ has heavily textured dark brown to black leaves; ‘Metallica’ has metallic pink margins and bands of pale green in the center; ‘Variegata’ has silver pattern onc hte center.
  • E. dianthiflora, lace flower vine. Soft hairy green leaves that are red veined; white flowers.
  • E. lilacina. Quilted leaves that are green, reddish-green, or bronze often with rosepurple undersides; flowers are lavender with yellow throats.
  • E. reptans, flame violet. Dark green leaes with pale green or siler midribs; flowers are dark red, pink inside the tube and fringed.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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