Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions and other interesting queries about Streptocarpus will be answered by BSS Team members and listed below.

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Tomato fertiliser comes only in large containers; if you only have maybe 12 0r 15 steps like me, that lasts for years and years. Does it remain of viable or does it deteriorate . Should one buy fresh every year? I have several streps with leaves gone very yellow Why is this and can i treat them to get them green again? This website is wonderful i have only discovered it since the last news letter - thank you so much.


Firstly, are the leaves yellow only on the ends?  If so, it's nothing to worry about.  Secondly, your tomato feed should be OK for 2 years at least.  If it's Fisons, it should last longer.  Give it a good shake each time you use it. Thirdly, you can give the plants a watering with EPSON SALTS. This will green them up in a few weeks and will also green up any grass you may have.

As a new member I have acquired a number of plants and they have flowered very well and I have been able to take cuttings which are quite large. When do you suggest I remove them from the old leaf and pot on? The plants in the greenhouse are looking a little sad with their leaves hanging down and very limp. I have the greenhouse set at 7 degrees on a thermostat. All the plants are still in flower and the plants which I purchased from Frank have been fantastic.


Young plantlets should be taken off when they are about 1 to 1.1/2 inches and put into 2 inch pots if possible. Regarding your plants in the greenhouse, they MAY be dry as we have had quite warm weather. Please check before you water them though, otherwise they could be too WET.  If this is the case let them dry out.  They should pick up in a week, but I think you will need to water them if they are anything like mine. Frank.

Reading the previous newsletters I see that you can use water to propagate the cuttings. Have you any info regarding this?


Yes you can put the leaves into water.  The best way I have found is in a plastic cup; half fill with water, cover the cup with clingfilm or a plastic bag, cut a slit into the cover and insert the leaf so that it is about 1 to 1,1/2 cm in the water, (quater to half inch). When the roots start to appear wait for them to get about the same length that the stem is covered with water, then plant into a pot with good compost.

Is it ok to overwinter the plants keeping the greenhouse just frost free?


Your plants will be OK as long as your greenhouse does not freeze. You can also help by putting fleece over them when a frost is forecast, just rest it over the plants it will not do any damage if it touches them being so light.


Here is a link to Dibley's fact sheet on the subject:

Which is the best liquid feed for Streps and African Violets? I used Baby Bio which proved to be too strong. I have some fertilizer tablets from Dibleys but these aren't practical for feeding my seedlings and small plants. Any advice welcome! Thank you.


The best one I have found is tomato liquid feed, use it on a regular basis at quarter the strength for tomatoes. Levington Tomorite is the best one. You could use the Dibley's fertilizer tablets in a liquid form if you require - desolve them in hot water the day before use.

Hope this helps. Frank.

Not flowering: I purchased a beautiful Streptocarpus in flower from a nursery last year. After flowering for a while and producing new flowers it has since refused to flower again. It has been perfectly healthy with plenty of green leaves but no flowers. I have tried feeding it and also letting it get quite dry but with no luck. Any ideas? I have taken some cuttings which are growing so hoping for more luck when they get bigger.

FRANK'S ANSWER: No flowers this year.

Seems quite a lot of people have suffered with healthy plants not flowering, the list following may be some of the reasons.

1 Have you repotted into an extra large pot, you should only go up in pot size by 2 or 3 cm each time you pot on.

2 Have you fed with a high potash feed TOMATO FEED is the best, give it weak, quarter the strength for tomatoes but regularly.

3 Has your plant had plenty of light, but not the full sun of summer.


Not flowering: I was given, a few months' ago, a streptocarpus. At least I was assured it was one, but it has small leaves which are a little furry, I have never seen a streptocarpus like this. The plant has an enormous amount of foliage, looks like a triffid! but no sign of flowers. I have given it a little feed as I was advised to do but it just keeps on producing foliage. Do you know of a type that has small oval leaves? I did read that they do not like overly large pots and this one has a fairly small one and does not seem to be root bound. It is a shame as the foliage look very pretty but I do want some flowers. Can you help please?

FRANK'S ANSWER:  As far as I can tell from your description, it is possibly S. orietalis, this seems to be closer to Chirita than Streptocarpus but they are the same family gesneriaceae.  I think they are found in Asia.

This may not be the plant you have but it is the best I can do without a picture.

Keep it in the small pot until it flowers and then please try to keep some SEED.


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