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Botanical name: Streptocarpus hybrida
Streptocarpus hybrida (Cape Primrose) is a popular plant which bears trumpet-shaped flowers in white, blue, purple, pink and red with prominently-veined throats.
The flowers in Cape Primrose hover or arch above the rosette of coarse, stemless strap-shaped 8-12 in. long leaves.
Many hybrids of various colors and forms are available but the old favorite Streptocarpus Constant Nymph which bears lilac flowers with violet veins remains the most popular.
If the growing conditions for Cape Primrose are met, a succession of blooms will be produced.
Cape Primrose requires moist air, bright light away from direct sunlight and freedom from drafts. It does not like soil that is too wet and it does not like it too hot.
Streptocarpus hybrida is native to South Africa where it is found growing on shaded rocky hillsides or cliffs, on the ground, in rock crevices and almost anywhere the seeds can germinate and grow.
Streptocarpus hybrida care is similar to that of its close relatives African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha), Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa) and Flame Violet (Episcia cupreata).
Cape Primrose is an excellent addition to any houseplant collection. Buy Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus hybrida) online from Etsy.
Photo Credit: Little Prince Plants
Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus hybrida) thrives in bright light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil accompanied by regular feeding and repotting. Keep on reading for more on these growing conditions.
Cape Primrose grows best in bright light conditions away from direct sunlight to prevent sunscorch on the leaves.
Streptocarpus hybrida will not bloom if the light is not enough. Therefore, ensure it receives adequate light to promote blooming.
Water Cape Primrose liberally during the growing season to keep the soil moist at all times while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Decrease watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.
Cape Primrose prefers average warmth to above average between 18-250C. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for this plant.
Keep Streptocarpus hybrida away from cold and hot draughts to avoid sudden changes in temperature which can cause reduced growth and leaf drop.
Cape Primrose requires a humid environment inorder to thrive. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Do not mist the leaves as it can lead to fungal diseases infestation due to too wet conditions.
Feed Streptocarpus hybrida with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season to promote flowering.
Stop feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and it can lead to fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.
Regularly flush out excess fertilizers by running a stream of water through the soil until it comes out through the drainage holes, allow to run for at least 10 minutes.
Repot Cape Primrose annually during the growing season as the plant is fast growing and the roots will quickly fill the pot.
Use a pot that only allows 1/2 in. space around the plant as it blooms best when slightly pot-bound.
Do not repot a Cape Primrose that is in flower as the repotting shock can shorten the flowering period.
Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.
The best soil for Cape Primrose should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.
Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal. Purchase quality Potting Mix for Cape Primrose online from Etsy.
Pruning Cape Primrose is easy. Remove dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and minimize pests and diseases infestation. After flowering, cut the flower stems at the base to encourage more blooms.
Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus hybrida) propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season from leaf cuttings, seeds or by plant division.
Take leaf cuttings from a healthy Cape Primrose plant and insert the leaf petiole in moist free-draining soil.
Place the set up in a warm, well-lit spot away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist through out until new plants emerge at the base of the petiole.
Carefully seperate the new plants and pot them in moist free-draining soil in individual pots.
Maintain the soil moist until the new Cape Primrose plants are well established after which you can begin routine.
Spread the Cape Primrose seeds evenly on moist free-draining soil and slightly cover with some soil.
Cover the set up with a clear plastic sheet to create a greenhouse effect and place the set up in a warm brightly-lit place.
Maintain the soil moist through out by gently misting the soil surface until germination takes place.
Transplant the seedlings when they are well established into individual pots.
Place the seedlings in a well-lit place away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and the Streptocarpus hybrida are well established.
Water a large Cape Primrose thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.
Carefully divide the Cape Primrose plant into sections while ensuring each section has enough roots for faster establishment.
Pot these sections into individual pots in moist free-draining soil and ensure that each pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy to avoid rotting of the plants.
Place the set up in a warm, brightly-lit place away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist until the new Streptocarpus hybrida are well established.
Photo Credit: Little Prince Plants
Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus hybrida) problems indoors are caused by cultural faults like improper watering, low humidity and inadequate light.
Streptocarpus hybrida problems include leaf spots, brown leaf edges, lack of blooms, wilting, pests and diseases among others. Read on for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.
Limp leaves and brown leaf edges in Cape Primrose are due to soggy soil (too wet soil) as a result of poor drainage.
Maintain the soil moist but never allow the soil to become soggy. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy.
In addition, reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and therefore the plant does not require a lot of water.
Cape Primrose will not bloom (flower) if the light is too little as it grows best in bright light away from direct sunlight.
Move the Streptocarpus hybrida to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light but away from direct sunlight or consider investing in a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate to promote flowering.
The most common disease in Cape Primrose is root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil. Ensure that the pot has a draining hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy.
Also, cut down on watering in the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time. Read on how to treat root-rot in houseplants.
Brown leaf spots in Cape Primrose are sunscorch marks which are caused by exposure of the plant to direct sunlight. Keep the plant away from direct sunlight or protect it from direct sunlight.
Dull and wilted leaves in Cape Primrose are due to underwatering. Maintain the soil consistently moist and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.
The common pests in Cape Primrose are Mealy Bugs and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
According to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus hybrida) plants are non-toxic to humans and pets. Cape Primrose is safe to grow indoors.