Streptocarpus is an Afrotropical genus in about 155 species of the flowering plants in the family Gesneriaceae. It is a popular house plant and is native to Afromontane biotopes from eastern, central, and southern Africa, including the Comoro Islands and Madagascar. It is also renowned as Cape primrose and nodding violet.
The flower has five-petals, salverform tubes, looks like an orchid with 2.5 to 3.5 cm in diameter, and hover or arch over the plant. It varies in limited colors like mid-purples, pale pinks, and white whereas, the leaves and stems are cauline. Birds, long-tongued flies, butterflies, moths, and bees can pollinate the flowers. You can grow streptocarpus as houseplants, hanging plants, and sometimes as bedding plants too.
How to Grow Streptocarpus Plant
Generally, streptocarpus will bloom from spring to autumn, and they usually stop flowering and lose some leaves in winter whereas, some genus still produce flowers in winter as well. You can grow or propagate this plant by seedlings, leaf, root plantlet, clump division, and by stem cuttings as well.
To germinate from seeds
- Thinly scatter the seeds on top of the potting mix and provide light to germinate.
- You should cover it in a clear plastic bag to keep up the humidity.
- Place it at a place where it will get bright, indirect light, and maintain temperature about 18 to 20 degrees C (avoid direct sunlight).
To grow from leaf cuttings
- Take some petiole, and pot them with the base down in a potting mix
- Cover the pot with clear plastic and secure it with a rubber band to keep up the humidity. If you can change the water weekly, you can also put the leaves in a glass of water.
- Either you cut the leaf segments horizontally or length-wise across the leaf, both parts can be used as cutting to grow from it. These plant’s leaves contain a high concentration of cytokinin, which is a type of rooting hormone due to which it does not need artificial rooting hormone.
To grow from root plantlet
- Un-pot a plant from which you want to produce root plantlets.
- You can see the roots exposed, either in the soil, between the pots, or coming out through the bottom holes of the pot.
- Snip those plantlets off with their attached roots, and plant up.
To grow from clump division
- Divide a multi-crown clump into different pieces along with their root system, and plant up as for leaf propagation.
To grow from stem cuttings
- Take a cutting of about 5 to 10 cm beneath a leaf node.
- Place the cutting in clean water until it sprouts its roots
- Now put the cuttings in bright but indirect light at about 18 to 20 degrees Celsius.
- Observe the roots, and if they are 5 cm long, you can grow up the cutting into the soil mixture.
You need to consider the following factors:
Do not prefer the soil that is too wet and too hot. You need to choose an ordinary commercial potting mix with an amount of 1/8 to 1/4 perlite mixture so that it makes sure that the soil will retain some moisture but will not get soggy. Manage adequate drainage holes at the bottom of the pot to drain water. Remember not to leave the pot sitting in a saucer of water.
The required temperature to grow this plant is 18 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius (64.4 F to 77.7 F), but during winter, this can be taken down to 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) or less.
Avoid direct sunlight; however, early morning or late afternoon sun more suits the plant. It grows even in dimmer light but gives the best result in medium bright light (indirect light).
Do not overwater the plant. You need to add water only when the soil becomes almost dry. These plants species recover very well from dehydration too.
You need to feed the plant with fruit and flower or general fertilizer occasionally.
Pruning leaves and flowers
Slice off the old naturally dying yellow or brown leaves at the base. If there are healthy leaves with some blemishing, then cut off the blemished parts and trim the leaf to a standard shape. Similarly, snip off the dead flower and snip the whole stem off at the base of these are dead.
Pests and diseases
Sometimes aphids, a mealybug may harm Streptocarpus, but these plants are generally pest, disease-free and so commercial insecticides and cultural pest removal methods can treat quickly.