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How to Grow Cape Primrose Indoors?

Cape Primrose, or African Violets as we know it, has been a trending houseplant for a very long time now. The pretty flowers with exceptional fragrance are enough to turn the heads of your visitors.

And, who would not want to adorn their living space and bedrooms with these beauties? I mean, why limit them to our balcony and outdoors, right?

African Violet Plant In Indoor Setting
African Violet Plant In Indoor Setting (Source: Unsplash)

Cape Primrose can be successfully grown indoors by providing them with appropriate growing conditions. Check on the lights, humidity levels, watering schedules, soil type, and temperature to grow your own exotic indoor Cape Primrose successfully.

The Cape Primrose sitting gloriously beside my window sill is happy to be among my indoor edition. If you want to know the secret to a happy and healthy indoor Cape Primrose, this article is in your favor.      

Let us dive into the ABCs of indoor Cape Primrose.

Are Cape Primrose Indoor or Outdoor Plant?

Cape Primrose is technically an outdoor plant. They love growing in preferably bright outdoor locations.

However, they can also be successfully grown in an indoor setting. Just make sure that you mimic the environment of outdoor locations.

For instance, give priority to the temperature and lighting requirements.

They are also commonly known as “temporary indoor plants,” They do not do great if placed entirely indoors in a considerably dark spot.

However, your Cape Primrose is all good if you put them in a bright spot or give them few hours of filtered sunlight.

Please note that Cape Primrose will flower faster and more frequently in outdoor settings than indoors.

Are Cape Primrose Plants Easy To Grow Indoors?

Growing Cape Primrose indoors is possible. However, this might take a little more effort than your Cape Primrose on the balcony. This is especially true during the blooming seasons.

As for winters, if you reside in a cold climate, your Cape Primrose will do great indoors.

Cape Primrose usually goes dormant in the colder seasons and does not require excessive sunlight. Hence place them indoors beside a window for best results.

African Violet Plant In Indoor Setting
Cape Primrose Plant In Indoor Setting (Pixabay)

The Longevity of Primroses Indoors

Cape Primrose are perennials and last for many years with proper care and growing conditions. However, after about four to five years, they may start looking tired and stop producing flowers.

Assuming the plant is about to die, many gardeners get rid of the plant.

However, if you give your Cape Primrose a good trim and fertilize well at such a phase, they will rejuvenate again with the same vigor in the next growing seasons.

Cape Primrose Plant
Cape Primrose Plant (Source: Pixabay)

The same goes for indoor Cape Primrose. Although they might not produce as many flowers when kept indoors, they will definitely last as long as any outdoor Cape Primrose.

Growing Cape Primrose Indoors

For growing Cape Primrose indoors, you might need a little bit more patience, and your plant seller might not have expected you to grow them indoors.

Hence, follow the steps below to make your Cape Primrose fit for your indoor living space.

Step 1: Get a slightly larger pot (preferably clay or terracotta) with a few drainage holes. Fill it with a fresh, sterilized potting mix with plenty of perlites.

Step 2: Remove them from the nursery plastic pots. Clean it thoroughly from top to bottom to remove pests (if any). Plant it in the new pot.

Step 3: Water it thoroughly and stop as you see the water seeping out of the drainage holes. Remove the water collected at the plate below.

Step 4: Place it in a shady spot away from a direct source of light at least for a week. It is essential to allow the roots to get well adjusted in the new soil medium before exposing them to bright light.

Step 5: Make sure to water again when you see that the topsoil is slightly dry. Probably in 2-3 days depending upon the size of your Cape Primrose. Please do not wait for it to dry out completely.

Step 6: After the 7th day, place it in a bright spot beside a window to ensure maximum and efficient growth. Because, as mentioned above, good lighting conditions will help your Cape Primrose flower.

Common Problems While Growing Indoor Cape Primroses and Solutions

Some common problems that one might encounter while growing indoor Cape Primrose plants are described below.

ProblemSolution
Leggy AppearancePlace them close to a window. Or, install a fluorescent light close to your Cape Primrose.
Slow GrowthAdd in some water-based plant fertilizer. Place them in the sun for one to two hours a day to maximize the effect.
Less Frequent Flowering TendenciesPlace your Cape Primrose outside in the indirect sun for a few hours each day. Also, you can physically pollinate your Cape Primrose flowers using an earbud.
Root RotWater less frequently. However, if the roots have begun rotting, prune the infected root and re-plant your Cape Primrose in a fresh potting mix.
Ant and Other BugsKeep the soil slightly damp to ward off the ants as they hate wet soil. Also, you can place a few citrus fruit peels on the topsoil to keep the ants at bay.

1. Leggy Appearance

It is very typical for Cape Primrose to have a leggy appearance when placed in an indoor setting. This is especially true if the plant is placed in a dark spot.

But, many plant parents do not mind a stringy appearing Cape Primrose; in fact, they love the aesthetic trails!

The branches tend to get stringy with extended internodes and fewer leaves. They do so as a coping mechanism to reach out to the light source.

And, if there is a window nearby, the stringy trails branch towards the windows. Or, towards a light bulb!

Solution: Place them close to a window. Or, install a fluorescent light close to your Cape Primrose.

2. Slow Growth

Cape Primrose are fast growers; however, placing them indoors may slightly alter their growth.

The further away you place them from light, the slower their growth will be. And, they might take plenty of time to produce new leaves and trails.

Solution: Add in some water-based plant fertilizer to speed up their growth. You can also place them in the sun for one to two hours a day to maximize the effect.

3. Less Frequent Flowering Tendencies

The flowering tendencies of Cape Primrose are highly dependent on sunlight and pollinators.

In the absence of both these factors, indoor Cape Primrose has a hard time producing frequent flowers.

Solution: Place your Cape Primrose outside in the indirect sun for a few hours each day. As an indoor setting lacks pollinators, you can physically pollinate your Cape Primrose flowers using an earbud.

4. Root Rot

Root rot can be a common occurrence when we plant Cape Primrose indoors, as it is initially difficult to hold water requirements.

As the roots begin to rot, you will see that the tips of the leaves start to appear black or brown.

Solution: Water less frequently. However, if the roots have begun rotting, prune the infected root and re-plant your Cape Primrose in a fresh potting mix.

The video below is for you if you do not know how to prune the infected root.

5. Ant and Other Bugs

If you possess an indoor Cape Primrose, I am confident your plant will invite a few ant colonies once in a while.

The sticky, fragrant, and sweet sap produce by the flowers are enough to attract a large colony of ants.

Solution: Keeping the soil slightly damp may ward off the ants as they hate wet soil. Also, you can place a few citrus fruit peels on the topsoil to keep the ants at bay.

If the bugs have been bugging you and your precious Cape Primrose, check the section in this article where I talk about getting rid of bugs in Pothos: Do Pothos Plants Attract Bugs?

Taking Care of Cape Primrose Indoors

Taking care of outdoor Cape Primrose is not rocket science and is clearly easier than taking care of exotic succulents. Most of the time environment will take care of the plants outside.

However, it might be a little tricky when it comes to taking care of indoor Cape Primrose. After all, Cape primrose is primarily an outdoor plant with some indoor potential.

To help you boss at this, I have come up with seven tips below.

Care TipAction To Be Taken
Prepare The SoilPrepare your own potting mix.
1. Mix two parts of coco peat with one part of the orchid mix.
2. Add in some perlite and cactus mix.
Water ProperlyMake sure to wait and allow the top two inches of topsoil to dry before watering your plant.
Maintain TemperatureThe ideal temperature for Cape Primrose is somewhere between 13 degrees Celsius to 21 degrees Celsius (55 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit).
Humidity RequirementCape primrose loves a moderately humid environment (50% – 60%).
Lighting ConditionsPlace your Cape Primrose near a bright window or any other spot that receives indirect sunlight filtered through windows or curtains
Pest and Diseases PreventionIt is essential to use sterilized potting mix and refrain from over-watering to prevent pests and diseases.
Fertilizer RequirementsFertilizing once a month for large plants and once in 45 days for smaller plants is more than enough.

1. Prepare The Soil

If you are a busy plant lover, the safest bet is to invest in a good-quality African Violet potting mix that you can easily find in any plant store.

However, if you want to be a bit economical, you can prepare your own potting mix.

Follow the two steps below to prepare your own potting mix.

  1. Mix two parts of coco peat with one part of the orchid mix.
  2. Add in some perlite and cactus mix.

This is an ideal potting mix to meet the aeration requirements of Cape Primrose.

 2. Water Properly

Cape Primrose loves moist soil, but not a dripping one. Regular tap water works fine with Cape Primrose.

Furthermore, the watering schedule might depend upon the size of your plant, temperature, season, and humidity levels.

A Woman Watering Plants
A Woman Watering Indoor  Plants (Source: Unsplash)

However, make sure to wait and allow the top two inches of topsoil to dry before watering your plant.

It is necessary to water your plant less frequently in winters to avoid root rot.

3. Maintain Temperature

The ideal temperature for Cape Primrose is somewhere between 13 degrees Celsius to 21 degrees Celsius (55 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit).

Anything significantly below and above this temperature scale can cause stress to your Cape Primrose.

You can observe stress caused by temperature in the color of leaves and stunted appearance in the plant.

Also, shallow temperatures will not allow your Cape Primrose to flower.

4. Humidity Requirement

Cape primrose loves a moderately humid environment (50% – 60%).

If you have any species of this plant, I am sure you have noticed their youthful appearance in the monsoon seasons or humid summers.

As for indoor Cape Primrose, maintaining a healthy humidity level might be a challenge if you live in hot or cold climates.

The indoor humidity (30% – 40%) is extremely less when we use heaters or coolers.

Hence, make sure to invest in a good humidifier and place it beside your Cape Primrose.

Or you can also occasionally mist your plant with plain water to boost the moisture levels. However, make sure to wipe the plant after each mist.

5. Lighting Conditions

Cape Primrose loves bright and indirect light.

However, placing them in direct sun will dry out and damage the plant at the tissue level. A filtered form of light works best for Cape Primrose.

If you have a bright window or any other spot that receives indirect sunlight filtered through windows or curtains, your Cape Primrose will thrive in that location.

If you have a dark apartment with no windows, you can invest in a good quality fluorescent light.

Your plant might have difficulty flowering in unnatural light, but it will definitely produce healthy leaves.

6. Pest and Diseases Prevention

Cape Primrose commonly gets affected by pests and diseases that come along with severe infestations.

The primary reason for being a bug-favorite plant is the fragrance of Cape Primrose flowers.

Learn more about diseases in Cape Primrose here.

Root-crown and botrytis blight diseases, both caused by a fungal infection, are common in Cape Primrose.

To prevent such events, it is essential to use sterilized potting mix and refrain from over-watering.

Bug On A Plant Leaf
Bug On A Plant Leaf (Source: Pexels)

Cyclamen mites, ants, mealybugs, and spider mites are common pests that damage the Cape Primrose.

Occasional use of organic insecticides (preferably neem oil) before an infestation can prevent unexpected bug infestations.

If you want to learn more about those pesky pests and diseases, head on here.

7. Fertilizer Requirements

Cape Primrose loves a good phosphorus-rich fertilizer and plant food. And fertilization is a very crucial step in achieving a healthy and happy indoor plant.

However, make sure not to overdo it. Outdoor plants grow fast and may require frequent fertilization.

However, as for indoor plants such as Cape Primrose, fertilizing once a month for large plants and once in 45 days for smaller plants is more than enough.

You can also find specifically manufactured fertilizers for African Violets.

It is best to use a water-soluble organic fertilizer and mix it with water before introducing it to the plant.

Taking Care of Indoors Cape Primrose in Winter

Winters are the period of dormancy for all plants, including Cape Primrose. It is also the easiest time to overdo the care for your plants and kill them.

A Beautiful Cape Primrose Plant
A Beautiful Cape Primrose Plant (Source: Pixabay)

The following steps may help your Cape Primrose to transition and get through the harsh winter conditions happily.

  • Prune the dead leaves and excessively long unruly stems just before the onset of winters to preserve plant energy.
  • Keep your plant away from cold windows. If possible, place them in a spot with a few sun hours.
  • Clean the dust from the leaves so that the plant traps maximum sunlight.
  • Make sure they receive an appropriate amount of light, whether in natural or artificial form.
  • Place your plant away from the room heaters and AC vents as they are extremely drying.
  • Do not re-pot your plant or prune them in the winter season. Wait until the growing seasons to do so.

Do not worry if your Cape Primrose does not grow or appears stunted throughout the winter season.

In fact, they might not flower or produce a deficient number of leaves. This is very normal, and your plant will bounce back to health in the spring season.

Conclusion

Henceforth, if you are worried whether your beautiful Cape Primrose might not survive indoors, I hope this post helped you eliminate the doubt.

Cape Primrose
Cape Primrose (Source: Pixabay)

Many African Violet lovers have had massive success planting them indoors, including me.

As long as you tend to its requirements, you are good to go.

Looking for a birthday gift for you friend? Learn how to propogate Cape Primrose and get them started on a wonderful journey.

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