(strep-to-car' puss)

Common name: Cape Primrose

Family: Gesneriaceae, Gesneriad

Height x width: 8-12" x 18-30"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: linear to rounded, hairy, veined, wrinkled; singly or opposite on erect fleshy stems in subgenus Streptocarpella; basal rosettes in subgenus Streptocarpus-- the usual ones seen in commerce; some cultivars like 'Constant Nymph' have leaves without petioles

Flowers: cymes of tubular flowers with 5 spreading lobes, axillary or from leaf rosettes; many colors particularly reds, purples, whites

Light: bright to moderate

Temperature: cool to average

Watering: moderate, allow to dry between waterings

Fertility: low, high in potassium

Humidity: average, humid if also warm

Soil: well-drained

Pests and Problems: botrytis gray mold, basal rot (if too wet), mealybugs, aphids, thrips, spider mites; leaf edges turn brown if too wet; chlorosis from hard water

Growth habit, uses: flowering indoor plant, pots or massed

Other interest: native to tropical Africa with 4 species from Southeast Asia; from the Greek streptos meaning twisted and carpos meaning fruit, refering to the fruit shape

Other culture: remove faded flowers to prevent seeding; avoid overwatering, may need yearly repotting

Propagation: seed, leaf cuttings, tip cuttings of bushy or trailing species


Of the 130 species, the following may be seen in commerce, although hybrid cultivars are most commonly found with rexii as a parent, and may be found listed under x hybridus.

caulescens (call-ess' cens)--fleshy, brown stems; opposite, soft hairy elliptic to ovate leaves 2-3" long; 6-12 white to violet flowers, purple throats

cyaneus (sii-a' nee-us)--upright 15" leaves; flowers mauve, pink or white, streaked yellow and lilac inside

dunnii (dun' nee-ii)--red granular surfaces except upper leaves, leaves oblong silvery-gray; pink to red flowers, many in inflorescence opening simultaneously

polyanthus (pol-ee-an' thuss)--thick, hairy leaves; violet flowers with yellow, green or white throat

rexii (rex' ee-ii)--strap-shaped, blunt tipped leaves to 12" in rosettes, finely hairy; white to violet flowers single or in cymes

saundersii (sawn-dair' see-ii)--solitary leaves reddish below; purplish flowers, many opening simultaneously

saxorum (sax-or' um)--more woody; opposite, elliptic to ovate, finely hairy, thick 1" gray green leaves; pale lilac flowers with white throats, single or paired in axils; hanging habit, tolerates dry air indoors

wendlandii (wend-lan' dee-ii)--solitary dark purplish-green leaves; bluish purple flowers, white inside, rough, many opening simultaneously

Cultivar flowers habit, other
'Albatross' white, yellow throat rosettes
'Concord Blue' blue fleshy stems
'Constant Nymph' blue, yellow throat rosettes, parent of others
'Heidi' clear blue rosettes
'Joanna' velvet red, frilled rosettes
'Kim' purple, white throat rosettes
'Lisa' pink, white throat rosettes
'Maassens Wit' white rosettes
'Margaret' dark purple rosettes
'Mighty Mouse' blue, white throat rosettes
'Nicola' pink, semi-double erect rosettes
'Rosa Nymph' pink rosettes
'Susie' red, yellow throat rosettes

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

Return to  Perry's Perennial Pages | PSS121 course