Photo by Melody

Back From The Brink: Rejuvenating an Old Episcia

By Lee Anne Stark (threegardenersJuly 5, 2008

There is a lot to be said about sick & dying plants. Sometimes we have to be ruthless & waste no time removing stricken individuals; especially in cases of pest or disease. Occasionally though, dormant vegetation is mistakenly sent to compost oblivion. And in other instances, seemingly expired plants may still be at death's door; awaiting a miraculous resurrection by way of correct love & care. The Plant Hospital series will look at different situations that threaten the lives of our plants & how we can help them cheat death. Drawing from personal experience & the wealth of knowledge contributed by DG members, various writers will show how to nurse sick plants, recover from gardening disasters & salvage life from discards.

Gardening picture

I've had this Episcia for at least 7 years. He is the first one, Hubbys Mom gave me a small cutting. He doesn't have a name, but he has glorious leaves and bright red flowers most of the year. I've taken many, many stolons off of him to share with others. Unfortunately, he's been in the same hanging basket for the entire 7 years and is badly overgrown. Today it is time to breathe some life into this poor plant.



ImageThe photo to the left shows the poor plant as it is now. First, I'll remove any dead leaves. He has a lot of good, healthy growth at the ends of those straggly, bare stems.
Image Now we need a scissors. I'm going to cut off all of that good, healthy growth.
Image Don't be afraid, it is for the best!! Snip, snip, snip.
Image Now that you have a nice pile of cuttings on the floor, pick them up and remove the bottom sets of leaves. You need an inch or more of bare stem.
Image Insert the cutting into the soil up to the first available set of leaves. I use a regular store bought soil and add extra perlite.
Image Water them in well and place somewhere warm and shady. Using this method I have never lost a single cutting. I potted them all individually but you could easily put 5 cuttings into a 6" hanging basket, they will fill in quickly for a beautiful display.
Image Remember all of those bare stems? Cut them off as well. Yup, snip, snip, snip. The beauty of the Episcia is that a new plant will develop pretty much wherever a leaf once resided. I lay them on soil in a shallow container or in a terrarium and pin them down with hairpins. Once they have developed roots, I take the scissors and snip them into pot sized pieces, and pot them up.


Ta Da!!! One nicely rejuvenated Episcia. With the weight of those stems removed, and a top dressing of new soilImage added to the original plant, it will soon send out new, healthy stolons and fill in nicely.Technically, I should have tipped him out of the pot and given him all new soil, but, alas, I ran out of soil potting up all of those nice cuttings. I now have umpteen new plants to do with as I please, and he can make do with the top dressing until I get more soil.

I hope this "Back From the Brink" tutorial has been a useful aid in helping you realize that sometimes a little TLC is all that is needed. The task of chopping up a plant can be a daunting one at times. Hopefully this has helped explain, and given confidence to those who may be hesitant.

Special thanks must go to Ian(GranvilleSouth) for the Plant Hospital idea and the intro to this article!!



  About Lee Anne Stark  
Lee Anne StarkI am an avid gardener who shares my gardens with 2 other equally avid gardeners. I garden for fun and relaxation, never paying attention to the rules!! During the long, cold winter months I occupy my time playing with over a hundred house plants, my six cats and two dogs.

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