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Help! What’s Wrong With My Chocolate Soldier Plant?

Ask The Expert: I have the plant called Chocolate Soldier and have struggled for almost 2 years to keep it alive!! I have it in an east window and water it when it has completely dried out….yet it continues to drop leaves and no grow much?? What can I do for him??

Thank you, Trish

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Trish

Chocolate Soldier Plant From Logees GreeenhouseSince Chocolate Soldiers (Episcia or ‘Flame Violets’) prefer a shade to partial shade environment, your east exposure should be perfect. However, make sure the plant is not receiving any harsh noon day sun.

Chocolate soldiers also need a warm environment. Make sure that the plant is always in an area that stays above 65°. Although the plant needs a state of visual dryness between waterings, they require a humid environment. So mist the air surrounding the plant with lukewarm water. Try not to wet the leaves. Once a month use a water soluble fertilizer like peters or hi-yield or even an African Violet fertilizer.

Following this houseplant care instruction for the Chocolate Soldier should help to revive him. Please let me know if I can help you with anything else.

You can find more posts about Chocolate Soldier plants in these articles:

What is a Chocolate Solider Plant?
Drooping Chocolate Soldier
Propagating Chocolate Soldier

Propagating Chocolate Soldier Plant

Ask the Expert: How do you propagate a chocolate soldier plant? I have tried water. Dolores

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert:

Chocolate Soldier is the common name for Episcia cupreata. It can be propagated in the following ways:

1. From Seed
2. By Division
3. By Rooting Stem Cuttings
4. Layering

My favorite form of propagation is rooting stem cuttings. To propagate stem cuttings you will need:

1. Sharpe Knife
2. Rooting Hormone
3. Peat Based soil

I like tip cuttings the best. Find a nice side shoot and from the top of the shoot go down about 3″. Cut the plant at an angle and dip into the rooting hormone. Immediately stick the cutting in the soil. Keep the soil moist. In a few weeks the plant should start to form roots. Once the plant has formed roots, you will take care of it the same way you took care of the parent plant.

Drooping Chocolate Soldier

Ask the Expert: Drooping Chocolate Soldier
I have a chocolate soldier that about a month ago got way too much water.  Since then I have transplanted the plant into a pot that drains well.  However, my plant is still really really droopy and I am worried that it may not make it.  The blooms on it are still coming but they do not open.  Any help would be appreciated but please hurry.  Norma

Plant Expert Reply:

Give the plant time to recover.  Try to keep the conditions consistent. Chocolate solider needs to have a visual dryness between watering. Use tepid water when you do water them and try not to get the leaves wet.  Keep them in partial sun or shade (an east, west, or northern exposure). A little direct sunlight is beneficial; try to avoid hot noonday sun. They need warm temperatures above 65 degrees. Follow these care instructions and the plant should make a full recovery. Good Luck and keep me posted.

What Is A Chocolate Soldier Plant

Ask the Expert: have you ever heard of a chocolate soldier  it has bright blooms and is similar to African violet but larger  Janice Goode


The problem with common names is they are often used for many different plants. However by your description, I think the plant belongs to the genus Episcia and are in the same family (Gesneriacea) as African Violets. You might look for it under the common name Flame Violet or the botanical name Episcia cupreata.

Chocolate Soldier Plant From Logees Greeenhouse

Chocolate Soldier Plant From Logees Greeenhouse

I found a picture of Chocolate Soldier at Logee’s Greenhouse in Danielson Connecticut which is a go-to source for these plants.  In fact, I spoke with Margaret at Logee’s to find out more about these wonderful plants.  Although, Chocolate Solider is a little difficult to propagate, they are fairly easy to take care of and make wonderful indoor plants.  Margaret said, all of the Episcia plant are wonderful and a delight to have in your home.  They carry another Episica called Fire ‘n Ice that has a lighter leaf than the Chocolate Soldier.  Episcia are in the same family (Gesneriacea) as African Violets  If you need care instruction for the Chocolate Solider, Logee’s has a great Episcia care page.