Botanical Name: Episcia cupreata
Flame violet is prized for its showy leaves that grow in a rosette and reach 2-3 in (5-8 cm) long. They combine shades of green and coppery brown, often with light green or silver veins. Leaves have a metallic-like sheen that make this plant irresistible.
You can expect bright flowers to appear in spring and continue through fall. Dainty, tubular flowers rise above the foliage and are typically red, but may be available in orange, pink or yellow. They flare out at the tips like trumpets and are sometimes fringed at the edges. Deep in the center of the trumpet is a yellow eye.
Place Episcia cupreata near a window, but away from direct sunlight, which can scorch its leaves. Also keep your plant away from heat vents or cold blasts from doors and windows.
Repot in spring every couple years to refresh the soil. Flame violet has shallow roots and a spreading habit, so a wide, shallow pot works best. Or, you can put the plant in a hanging basket and allow the stems to trail over the side of the pot.
Look for aphids on the stems and undersides of leaves. These tiny pests are attracted to new growth on a young plant. Also watch for fungus gnats that are attracted to moist, peaty potting mixes. Treat any infestation immediately.
You have an abundance of named hybrids to choose from. 'Chocolate Soldier' has dark foliage with silver veining. 'Tropical Topaz' is light green with yellow flowers. 'Silver Sheen' has silver-gray, crinkled leaves and red blooms. These are just a few -- spectacular new cultivars are being introduced with more colors and patterns than we've ever seen.
Origin: Colombia and Venezuela
Height: 6 in (15 cm) tall
Light: Bright, indirect light. Flame violets that don't bloom aren't getting enough light. Place your plant near a bright window, but out of direct sun. Like its African Violet cousin, Episcia cupreata grows well under artificial light.
Water: Water regularly to keep soil evenly moist spring through fall. Keep slightly drier in winter when growth is slowed.
Humidity: High humidity is a must. If relative humidity drops below 50%, use a pebble tray or room humidifier for your plant. Don't use a mister because the leaves will spot and are prone to fungus. If the leaves get brown edges and flower buds shrivel without opening, the air is too dry.
Temperature: Prefers cool temperatures, especially while in bloom; 55-65°F/13-18°C at night/not warmer than 75°F/24°C during the day.
Soil: Peat moss-based mix with added perlite for faster drainage. African violet potting mix is ideal.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with African violet fertilizer. Do not feed in winter.
Propagation: Take single leaf stem cuttings in spring. Dip the cut end in water, then rooting hormone powder. Put the stem in moist potting mix, then firm the mix around the stem so that it stands up. Enclose the whole pot in plastic to hold in humidity. Roots should develop in about a month, and you should see plantlets form from the base of the cutting about a month after that.