Gesneriads

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Sirius

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We have a succulent thread, a bonsai thread, carnivorous plant threads, and quite possibly a banana tree thread somewhere around here. What we don't have is a Gesneriad thread (I really didn't search before posting so I don't know for sure).

So. Who grows Gesneriads? African Violets, Episcia, Sinningia or Streptocarpus? Other gesneriads?

I recently picked up an Episcia as a kusamono/shitakusa candidate, and I love it. The culture requirements are perfect for my growing area. As a side note to myself- damn, I have really made some weird plant purchases lately.
 

Sirius

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Ki does!
(dry)

:rollhappy:

(I'm sorry, I couldn't resist!)

I know. But I didn't want to call her out directly and make her think I was stalking her through her webshots gallery. :)
 
M

MoreWater

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yeah, go ahead, laugh.

That's actually normal new leaf formation (for winter) on a Conandron, which is, yes, a Gesneriad.


Which episcia are you using?

Faves are probably the Sinningias. The micros like pusilla because they are so small (they need moisture) and the bigger ones because they are drought tolerant and the tubers are gorgeous.

micro
Kevin's Sinn pusilla growing "mounted" with pleuros.
A really nice specimen of the white form of pusilla grown by someone somewhere.
They grow well on wads of sphag or moss too.

minis (hybrids)
Tons of color in 2-3" pots.

medium
Sinn piresiana, which would be my favorite for the fuzzy leaves and tuber, except that it likes to go dormant for 17 month stretches....

big
If I had the space, I would grow a Sinn macrostachya.


If I could, I would grow more of the epiphytes, though, like Nematanthus corticola, Nem. brasiliensis (actually I have a cutting of this somewhere), Columnea minor.... just to name a few. But reality is reality. Getting more into codonathes (yes, succulent and dry-ish growing) and of course the rhizomatous types (because I get a second chance - water the rhizome in time and it will grow again).


I've been slacking a bit on the gesneriad end, but that's about to change. I'm supposed to get more involved in our local GesSoc chapter, and we host the national convention in 2009....

Eh, this post needs a photo. Aeschynanthus Crimson Belle at the USBG.

 

Sirius

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I really like that Sinn pusilla. Is it complicated to grow, besides figuring out how to water it? I keep reading about dormancy periods, and tubers, and I wonder if I really want to dig further into these plants.

I went with Episcia hybrids because they are relatively easy to find. I picked up a couple from Karin Dean like FireDragon http://www.blossoms-birds-butterflies.com/_borders/Kd_Red_Dragon.JPG and AutumnGlow http://www.blossoms-birds-butterflies.com/_borders/C_Autumglow.JPG

I am still waiting on an order. I hope the plants look as good in person, because all of her photos have the contrast oversaturated.
 
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MoreWater

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Red Dragon is lovely. Haven't seen it before. Episcia leaf color is somewhat like orchid flowers - temps etc have an effect. Some Episcia hybrids are also not stable.

You might find Silver Skies useful - it's a small compact grower:




Sinn. pusilla is easy - keep moist. Assuming normal room temps, they don't go dormant. Once old enough, they are pretty tolerant of drought too. Pusilla (including the white form, White Sprite) is probably the easiest of the micros. Sinn. sp. Rio das Pedras (as yet unnamed) is also easy. Concinna is trickier. (I've killed it.) Rio has nice leaves but growth habit is a bit rangy and it's a bit bigger than pusilla. Rio and pusilla also spontaneously self seed, so you can end up with a veritable forest in no time... They bloom in 5-6 months from seed.


2-3 year old pusilla growing in the open (dry winter house air) on about 1" of LFS, kept moist (most of the time):




Pots of younger pusilla and Rio, grown in a cookie jar (which I rarely opened - these things don't really require air circulation if it's not too humid):



Same cookie jar, but lined with fine leca and then LFS:



so the lesson is to use LFS.
 
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Faan

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If you live in the country where the Streptocarpus is found you have to have a few plants. For this reason I do have a few. It is so beautiful to see these in flower in nature. I have seen some species i.e S rexii in flower in the Knysna forest.
You have to do yourself the favor and visit the Cape in Aug - Sept to see all these stunning flowers, including terrestrial orchids.
I decided to put this item about the orchid in it's proper place
 
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M

MoreWater

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That's an amazing flower. I wish we had more non-slipper terrestrial orchids here... (shhhh I didn't say that!)

The only streptocarpus I have is kentaniensis, coming from somewhere on the N. Kei River. I can't keep any of the others watered well enough. (I suppose I should say that I have a seedling of a unifoliate Strep somewhere, too.) Once I grew a mini Streptocarpus, which dies after flowering. It was supposed to self-pollinate and set seed, but didn't so I lost the batch. :mad: Strep pumilus.


 

snow

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i just wanted to say how much i loved watching your gesneriads
i just have african violets and lipstick vine in my terratium
 
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I have a Sinningia 'Freckles', four micro-mini AVs and one standard AV. That's all I think I need though. It's a taste of something different without moving in on the orchids much. The Sinningia is in a semi-enclosed container, and the four mini violets are in 1" soufflé cups with wicks drawing water out of the same 4" ramekin--yes, that's blooming-sized!
 
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MoreWater

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do the micro mini AVs have names? I had TeenyBopper but didn't like the growth habit. Would be nice to have a different one.
 
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They did, but I couldn't decipher the Sharpie writing and decided not to worry about it since I had no plans to do anything with them other than enjoy them. That's not to say I don't generally like to keep track. Two are single micro-mini trailers though, one of them being very similar to 'Tiny Wood Trail' which is what I was initially after.

I love your plants, Ki, the Sinningia pusilla especially. That was my first choice when I decided I "needed" one, but decided to try 'Freckles' because there was one for $3.50 at the Gesneriads show here--no point in paying to ship one little thing before you find out whether or not you're going to kill its kind.
 
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