Monday, April 15, 2024

Episcia pot size

Question:  What size pot should I grow my Episcia in?  Can I grow more than one plant in a pot?

Answer:  Episcias, like African violets and most gesneriads, are relatively shallow-rooted plants that don’t need a very deep pot.  As your plant grows, you can repot it into a larger diameter, but not much deeper, pot.  This means that “azalea” or “pan” pots are better than standard pots, since they are more wide than deep.  Somethimes this means you need to be creative, since large but shallow pots can be difficult to find.  We’ve used deeper pots that we’ve cut-down to make shallow, and have some of our larger plants in saucers that we’ve drilled holes into for drainage.  None of these pots are more than a few inches deep, even for the largest of plants.

In many ways, episcia and other stolon-producing or spreading gesneriads can be treated much like trailing African violets.  All grow very well in shallow pots.  Our older, larger, trailing violets are grown in the same saucers.  We grow both as “ground covers”, in the sense that we like to cover a large area of soil with dense growth, rather than allow the plant to sprawl over the pot edges.  The “runners” are moved and pinned into the soil surface to fill-in empty spaces, much like we arrange the stolons of an episcia.  Either plant could just as easily be grown as a “hanging basket” by growing in a smaller pot and letting the runners or stolons grow and fall over the edge of the pot.

There is one important difference between growing trailing violets and other gesneriads for exhibition, though.  Only trailing violets and Saintpaulia species can be shown multiple crowned, while all other gesneriads may be properly shown with either single or multiple crowns.  Further, though trailing and species violets can be shown with more than one crown (a trailer, in fact, must have three or more), only one plant is allowed in a pot, whereas there is no restriction on the number of individual plants per pot for other gesneriads.  While it’s perfectly allowable to fill a pot with many episcia cuttings (plants), only one trailing violet plant per pot is permitted (though this one trailer may have many crowns).

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