Deinostigma tamiana: a fabulous terrarium plant that’s almost always in flower!

Deinostigma tamiana

Deinostigma tamiana forms small plants with a rosette form. Each of these leaves can produce a new plant.

This is Deinostigma tamiana, a truly marvellous plant that thrives inside terrariums and bottle gardens.  Deinostigma tamiana is a Gesneriad species from Vietnam.  If you’ve not seen it before, yet Deinostigma tamiana looks somewhat familiar, it’s probably because these plants are related to African violets (Saintpaulias).

Growing Deinostigma tamiana

A look inside my Orchidarium, showing Deinostigma tamiana in flower, as pictured on the 7th March 2019.

Deinostigma tamiana is an easy going, adaptable plant that’s content growing in a range of terrarium environments.  Over the years, I’ve found this wonderful plant grows happily inside hi-tech terrariums blessed with lights, fans, misting units, and automated plant care, as well as in the more shaded conditions found inside glass terrariums and bottle gardens that don’t have these luxuries.  I’ve grown Deinostigma tamiana inside my Orchidarium, as well as in traditional glass terrariums and bottle gardens.

Plants will grow successfully inside both closed and open glass bottle gardens.  If your preference is to grow Deinostigma tamiana in a closed bottle garden, opt for a lidded jar that allows easy access for occasional deadheading and tidying up.

Deinostigma tamiana flowering stems will grow taller as the plant ages. To accommodate a fully grown plant you will need a terrarium that measures around 40cm (15 inches) tall.

I find Deinostigma tamiana is a versatile terrarium plant that adapts to a range of light levels, from shade and semi-shaded conditions, to bright, indirect light.  However, avoid placing your Deinostigma tamiana plant in view of harsh or intense light, which may scorch your plant’s leaves.

My Deinostigma tamiana plants have been cheerfully growing in a range of peat-free composts.  These plants thrive in moist compost and enjoy growing in a humid environment.  My Deinostigma tamiana plants have been very happy planted in coir compost, at the base of my Orchidarium.

Deinostigma tamiana is a tender plant that’s killed by frost; these plants are happiest growing in an environment where the temperatures range from 15-27C (59-80F).

Deinostigma tamiana flowers

Deinostigma tamiana is an incredibly floriferous plant; it produces these pretty white flowers with attractive purple markings. These are nectar guides, signposts that direct pollinating insects to the flower’s pollen and nectar.

I love Deinostigma tamiana‘s green, almost heart-shaped leaves, but it’s Deinostigma tamiana’s flowers that attract the most attention.  If you’re looking for a flowering plant to bring daily dose of flowers and joy to your terrarium, Deinostigma tamiana won’t let you down!  Deinostigma tamiana is an incredibly floriferous plant; my plants flower continually.

Whenever I have dead-headed my plants and removed all of their flowering stems, within a day or two, seemingly out of nowhere, new flowering stems spring up and promptly deliver new flowers!  Deinostigma tamiana is an amazingly productive plant.

My Deinostigma tamiana plants flower continuously. Even when I stopped dead-heading my plants they continued blooming for longer than a year at a time, producing countless flowering stems.

If your Deinostigma tamiana plant is slow to bloom or reluctant to blossom, try moving your plant to a warmer or brighter position; although take care to avoid exposing your Deinostigma to harsh light, which may damage your plant’s leaves.

Keeping Deinostigma tamiana plants in shape

Deinostigma tamiana in flower, inside my Orchidarium, as pictured on the 10th December 2018.

As Deinostigma tamiana plants age, they spread out and become taller and a little more ragged.  The somewhat scruffy and ramshackle appearance of more elderly Deinostigma tamiana plants can be tamed a little, simply by removing old flowering stems and pinching out any tatty leaves.  However, new plants are easily raised from seeds or leaf cuttings, making it easy to replace sprawling older plants with a new generation of Deinostigma tamiana plants, as you desire.

Propagating Deinostigma tamiana

Over time, my Deinostigma tamiana plants have formed clumps of multiple plants; these clumps can be divided to create additional plants, if need be.  However, Deinostigma tamiana is more effectively propagated by seed or leaf cuttings, where fresher looking, more compact plants are easily raised.

To take a leaf cutting, simply find a healthy leaf and remove it, cutting the base of the stem, using a clean, sharp knife or scissors.  Next, take a small pot of peat-free compost and make a hole using a pencil or a dibber.  Don’t be tempted to push your leaf into the compost without using a dibber, as you may damage your propagation material.

This is how not to pot up a leaf cutting. When taking a Deinostigma tamiana leaf cutting, ensure that you submerge your leaf in your pot of compost so that the base of your leaf is covered with compost. This will trigger the leaf to produce new roots and generate a new plant.
When taking a Deinostigma tamiana leaf cutting, submerge your leaf in a pot of peat-free compost, ensuring that the base of your leaf is covered with compost. Most of the root generating mechanics are found at the base of your leaf, so this part of your leaf must be covered with compost to trigger root production; therefore it’s better to bury your leaf too deeply than too shallowly. This leaf will produce new roots and a new Deinostigma tamiana plant!
Place your leaf cuttings in a warm, shaded or semi-shaded location, away from harsh or direct light. I popped my cuttings inside a glass jar, to maintain optimum humidity levels and prevent the compost from drying out.

My Deinostigma tamiana plants have rooted both from their leaf stems and at the base of their leaves, but for best results, ensure that any leaves you pot up for cuttings have both their stems and the base of their leaves, covered and hidden below the compost.  It is far better to bury your leaf cuttings too deeply than to place a leaf too shallowly in its pot of compost.

Buying Deinostigma tamiana

Deinostigma tamiana is an easy to grow plant that flourishes inside terrariums and bottle gardens.

Deinostigma tamiana, is a brilliant terrarium plant that’s gone through a number of name changes over the years; consequently Deinostigma tamiana is also known as Chirita tamiana, Primulina tamiana, and Vietnamese Violets.  If you’d like to purchase a Deinostigma tamiana plant for your terrarium or bottle garden, you’ll usually find this plant listed as Chirita tamiana.  In the UK, the fabulous Dibleys Nurseries grow Chirita tamiana; while EU customers have a wider choice of suppliers.

To see every article I’ve written about Deinostigma tamiana, please click here.

For a step-by-step guide on how to create a terrarium or bottle garden, please click here.

To see how my Orchidarium was set up, please click here.

To see how my Rainforest Terrarium was designed, please click here.

To see how my Tall Orchidarium was created, please click here.

For a planting list of fabulous plants suited to growing inside terrariums, orchidariums, and bottle gardens, please click here.

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