The creeping or trailing stems of Episcia cupreata, from which emerge nodeless red or green stolons bearing new plants at their tips, will rapidly cover the surface of a shallow pan or trail from a hanging basket.
The oval, hairy leaves, 2-3in/5-8cm long and l-2in/2.5-5cm wide, have toothed edges and are arranged in a rosette; their coloring ranges from deep bronze green to bright green, usually with silvery markings around the veins.
The l-in/2.5-cm-long flowers, which appear in spring and continue until fall, are bright red and tubular. They flare out at the tip into lobes that may be fringed at the edges.
Deep in the center of the tube, which is lined with soft hairs, lies a yellow “eye.” Although in the wild the plants are shielded from the fierce sun by the leaf canopy, they need bright light to flower well in the home.
Watch out for aphids, which may infest young leaves.
Humidity must be high, or leaves will develop brown edges and flower buds will shrivel.
ORIGIN Colombia; Venezuela.
HEIGHT To 6in/15cm.
POTTING MIX Cornell mix, or equal parts of sphagnum peat moss, leaf mold, and perlite to provide good drainage.
REPOTTING Move into a pot a size larger only when roots fill the current pot.
PROPAGATION Detach plants that develop at the ends of the stolons and pot up individually. Single leaves with short stalks will also root.
KEEPING PLANTS These shallow-rooting plants do best in wide- topped pans and hanging baskets in which the offsets can hang down.
- Bright fight; no direct sunlight.
- Warm conditions; minimum winter temperature of 60°F/16°C.
- Water generously during the growing season, more sparingly in winter.
- Do not wet leaves at night.
- Stand the pot on a tray of moist pebbles to provide added humidity.
- Every 2 weeks apply a weak liquid fertilizer to actively growing plants.