Family: Acanthaceae

This is a genus of about 30 species of mainly shrubby plants, native to tropical Asia. Few species are in cultivation but the one most commonly grown makes a good plant for a warm greenhouse or conservatory.


E. pulchellum, blue sage, originally from India, is a quick-growing shrub to a little over 1 m (3 ft). The dark green foliage is promi­nently veined and the clear blue flower spikes appear in late winter to early spring. This is a very easy-care plant in a suitable climate.


Under glass, grow in pots of soil-based potting compost. Provide good light but shade from direct sun. Go easy on the watering: very little in winter and only moderate amounts in the growing season. Plants may need lightly cutting back after flowering to con­tain growth. Propagate from softwood cuttings in spring, in a heated propagating case.


At least zone 10.

Episcia      Eranthis