Smithianthas also known as temple bells, are related to african violets. The giveaway, is their fuzzy velvety leaves, but that’s where the resemblance ends. People often confuse the intricately patterned and mottled leaves for begonias. In some species, such as the Smithiantha zebrina pictured here, the leaves can be up to 6 inches wide and equally long! Most houseplants will probably be on the smaller side but still be equally dramatic as the one photographed.
We found that growing ours in moderately bright light resulted in larger, more luxuriant, foliage. These plants also appreciate warm humid conditions and adequate moisture, but allow them to dry just a little bit in between waterings. The root systems quite shallow and mine seems to be doing very well in a hal-pot. A standard African violet mix suits these plants fine.
While for many, the beautiful foliage would be enough, Smithianthas is also produce spikes of brightly colored flowers, that dangle like temple bells, in the winter months. If ours blooms, which it should, we’ll post a photograph!
Source: Orchid Enterprise