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Streptocarpus is often confused with:
Episcia cupreata Episcia cupreata 'Silver Sheen'
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Strobilanthes alternata 'Exotica' Strobilanthes alternata 'Exotica'
Aphelandra squarrosa Aphelandra squarrosa
Platycerium bifurcatum Platycerium bifurcatum
Streptocarpus has some common insect problems:
Aphids Found on Flowers and Foliage

Streptocarpus

Previously known as:

  • Saintpaulia
Phonetic Spelling
strep-toh-KAR-pus
Description

In its native Africa, Cape Primrose can be found on a forest floor where low light and periods of dryness are common.  

This popular houseplant produces beautiful flowers atop delicate stalks in various colors.  The round leaves are fleshy with soft hairs.  It propagates easily through leaf cuttings.  Take a large leaf and divide into two halves by cutting along the central vein and removing the vein.  Stand each half leaf in potting soil with the cut side facing down.  Keep the soil moist until sprouts appear.  Many baby plants will form along the cut leaves.  Separate the individual plants into their own pots.  

It needs warm indoor temperatures, high to medium light intensity and high humidity.  This cousin to the African violet adjusts well to the warm temperatures and dry air of homes.  If you find that growing African violets is difficult, try Cape Primrose.  You will find its requirements are similar to the African violet, but the Cape Primrose is not as delicate, therefore, easier to raise.  Another noteworthy difference is that the Cape Primrose is also available in a red variety.

While they require good light, direct sunlight is not necessary. Windows facing north or east provide favorable light conditions and are preferable to those exposed to midday and afternoon sunshine during summer. The sunnier, warmer windows are better in the winter. The best temperature for the Cape Primrose is about 60° F at night and up to 80 to 85° F during the day.

Direct sunlight can burn the foliage.  Consider locating a sheer curtain between the window and the plant.

When watering, allow the soil to become somewhat dry before providing a thorough watering. Take care to water the soil while avoiding watering the leaves directly.  Watering the leaves, especially with cold water, will stain the leaves, leaving them in an unsightly condition.

To maintain an attractive, healthy plant remove older leaves once they begin to yellow.  Older stems can also be removed after flowering.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  The most common problem is overwatering.  Use soil that allows water to run out freely. Water more frequently but use less water in each watering. 

Insect issues can include cyclamen mites and aphids.

High temperatures can cause root diseases.  

VIDEO Created by Laura Barth for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bethan'
    Bright blue upper leaves, dark markings on lower leaves.
  • 'Caitlin'
    Two shades of pink.
  • 'Crystal Ice'
    White flowers with blue veining.
  • 'Denim'
    Upper leaves the color of denim, lower leave indigo blue.
  • 'Falling Stars'
    Light blue, veined, white center.
  • 'Hanna'
    Pale pink flowers with yellow throats, long stems.
  • 'Harlequin Blue'
    Bi-colored, upper petals blue, lower petals yellow.
  • 'Harlequin Lace'
    Purple upper leaves, patterned lower leaves.
  • 'Hope'
    Deep purple-red leaves with yellow throat.
  • 'Lucky Strike'
    Pink flowers with burgundy and white striped throats.
  • 'Maassen's White'
    Profuse white blooms.
  • 'Polka-Dot'
    Compact, unusual purple and white markings.
  • 'Purple Panda'
    Two-toned purple-white flowers.
  • 'Red Alert'
    Deep red foliage with white edges and striping.
  • 'Sadie'
    Pink flowers with yellow throat, red veins.
  • 'Targa'
    Compact, dark purple flowers.
'Bethan', 'Caitlin', 'Crystal Ice', 'Denim', 'Falling Stars', 'Hanna', 'Harlequin Blue', 'Harlequin Lace', 'Hope', 'Lucky Strike', 'Maassen's White', 'Polka-Dot', 'Purple Panda', 'Red Alert', 'Sadie', 'Targa'
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#houseplant#purple flowers#fleshy leaves#showy leaves#pet friendly#tropical perennials#long-lasting flowers#dry soils tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel#tropical#container plant#wet soils intolerant#hsc#hsc-fl#container
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bethan'
    Bright blue upper leaves, dark markings on lower leaves.
  • 'Caitlin'
    Two shades of pink.
  • 'Crystal Ice'
    White flowers with blue veining.
  • 'Denim'
    Upper leaves the color of denim, lower leave indigo blue.
  • 'Falling Stars'
    Light blue, veined, white center.
  • 'Hanna'
    Pale pink flowers with yellow throats, long stems.
  • 'Harlequin Blue'
    Bi-colored, upper petals blue, lower petals yellow.
  • 'Harlequin Lace'
    Purple upper leaves, patterned lower leaves.
  • 'Hope'
    Deep purple-red leaves with yellow throat.
  • 'Lucky Strike'
    Pink flowers with burgundy and white striped throats.
  • 'Maassen's White'
    Profuse white blooms.
  • 'Polka-Dot'
    Compact, unusual purple and white markings.
  • 'Purple Panda'
    Two-toned purple-white flowers.
  • 'Red Alert'
    Deep red foliage with white edges and striping.
  • 'Sadie'
    Pink flowers with yellow throat, red veins.
  • 'Targa'
    Compact, dark purple flowers.
'Bethan', 'Caitlin', 'Crystal Ice', 'Denim', 'Falling Stars', 'Hanna', 'Harlequin Blue', 'Harlequin Lace', 'Hope', 'Lucky Strike', 'Maassen's White', 'Polka-Dot', 'Purple Panda', 'Red Alert', 'Sadie', 'Targa'
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#houseplant#purple flowers#fleshy leaves#showy leaves#pet friendly#tropical perennials#long-lasting flowers#dry soils tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel#tropical#container plant#wet soils intolerant#hsc#hsc-fl#container
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Saintpaulia
    Family:
    Gesneriaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Houseplant
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Leaf Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South Africa
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Shade
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Horizontal
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    11b, 11a, 12a, 12b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are borne in small panicles just above the foliage. With proper lighting they can bloom up to 10 months.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Fleshy
    Velvety
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Orbicular
    Peltate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Attractive dark green, thick, wrinkly, hairy leaves with long petioles. They are orbicular in shape and may appear shiny. Each will produce 8 to 10 bloom stalks.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Wet Soil