Streptocarpus make excellent flowering pot-plants for the house, conservatory, greenhouse, or even outside during the summer in a shaded spot. The range of colours increases every year with the introduction of exciting new varieties.
I’ve been growing streptocarpus since I was an apprentice gardener on a parks nursery and the choice was limited back then, but nowadays there’s a much better selection and I’m looking forward to growing three new ones from Dibleys called ‘Leah’, with velvety plum-red flowers, ‘Zoe’ that has violet-blue flowers and ‘Lemon Sorbet’ which is pale yellow and mauve.
Streptocarpus originate from rainforests, so when we grow them at home we need to provide them with shade from direct sunlight, moisture and a humus rich compost. Given the correct growing conditions the plants will thrive and last for many years. Now’s a great time to get started with them and you’ll find young plants at flower shows or direct from Dibleys, who specialise in breeding and growing streptocarpus. When you get your new plug plants it’s important that you pot them as soon as possible into a 10cm (4in) pots using a good quality peat or fibre-based compost. The plants will flower this summer for you and next spring they can be re-potted into a 13cm (5in pot) to continue growing. Only start feeding when plants are established and roots fill the pot, up until autumn.
STEP BY STEP
Unpack new plants as soon as they arrive. The packing material Dibleys use is made from potato starch and can be composted.
Remove the outer sleeve, but don’t remove the netting around the plug as you will damage the roots and it’s biodegradable.
Pot the plug plant into a 10cm (4in) pot using a fibrous (non-loam) compost. A gentle firming in is all that’s needed.
Pinch off any flowers starting to develop to help the plant establish, then water and stand in a light, warm position out of direct sunshine.