Years later when I became technical writer on Practical Gardening magazine, I was given role of houseplant expert, by the then editor Geoff Hamilton, which he said, was also due to the fact that I’d also looked after tropical and temperature collections when I was a propagator at the Rochdale parks department and not because I was the only girl on the team! Wild species can have violet, purple, pale blue, or white flowers. However, one of the most outstanding Streptocarpus varieties launched in recent years is Harlequin Blue, which has short flower stems and compact leaves. Updates? Dispose of affected plants in the dustbin. The hairy leaves tend to gather dust, so it’s a good idea and especially for bathroom plants that get coated with talcum powder, to regularly sweep them clean using a dry, soft-bristle paintbrush. Remove spent flowers and leaves as soon as you notice them, pulling them cleanly from the base of the crown, as any snags left behind will encourage rots. Gloxinias are now bred to quickly produce a large number of blooms with brightly coloured trumpet-shaped flowers in rich crimson, deep red, violet and white to various colour combinations. With steady warmth and high humidity, careful watering, good light and regular feeding it’s possible to have plants in flower two or three times a year. It’s best to root them in a heated propagator set at 21C and they will produce tiny plants, that when weaned and potted up individually will flower within six months. Find out more about these dainty flowers here. Blossoms come in waves during much of the year. The violet symbolizes loyalty, devotion, and faithfulness. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/plant/Gesneriaceae. They tend to congregate in the crotches of the crown of African Violets. In addition, the center is yellow. It is easy to overdo it when you are trying to care for your plant. Have a magnifying glass handy, as pests such as red spider mite are so tiny that they’re difficult to see with the naked eye. They reliably bloom several times a year when cared for properly. Plants look best and flower best when grown in relatively small pots and 10cm-size pots are normally the maximum needed, even for very large plants. Discovered in 1892 by Baron von St Paul (hence the botanical name), many species can still be found growing in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and Kenya. Obscure glass will magnify bright sunlight and can cause scorching, so putting up net curtains would be a good safety bet in bathrooms. 3,540 species in the Old World (most Cyrtandroideae) and New World (Gesnerioideae) tropics and subtropics, with a very small number extending to temperate areas.Many species have colorful and showy flowers and are cultivated as ornamental plants. Corrections? The African Violet Society of America warns that the potting mix most commercially sold violets are grown in, which consists primarily of peat moss, can easily drown your plant in water. Nitrogen-rich fertilisers that are used for feeding foliage houseplants will encourage lush leaves at the expense of flowers. This large family consists of tropical herbs and shrubs comprising around 150 genera and over 3400 species. Violets (Viola)—though unrelated to African violets—are one of the February birth flowers, so a potted African violet can make a bright gift for a February birthday. This plant forms a shrubby, spreading mound to six inches high and two feet wide and performs well in a hanging basket. Knowing the geographical distribution of a plant species helps in understanding their care. African violets are from the plant family Gesneriaceae while the true violets (Viola) are from Violaceae. As with all houseplants it’s a good idea to remove them from the windowsill at night when the curtains are drawn otherwise they may catch a chill causing the leaves to sulk. I always water them sparingly at first, increasing the amounts gradually as the growth improves. Like most Gesneriads, African Violets don’t like direct sunlight, which you might have already discovered if you have ever tried growing them on a sunny windowsill. They are one of the most popular cultivated houseplants in the world today and are particularly well suited to the home environment. If it has to reach for it, then it isn’t getting enough! African violets (or Saintpaulia) are a genus of plants within the Gesneriad family. African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) are low maintenance, easy to grow houseplants. Great Savings & Free Delivery / Collection on many items Amazon.co.uk Today's Deals Warehouse Deals Outlet Subscribe & Save Vouchers Amazon Family Amazon Prime Prime Video Prime Student Mobile Apps Amazon Pickup Locations Amazon Assistant 1-16 of 39 results for "african violet compost" African Violet Family - Plant information, facts and uses, photos, growing tips, where to buy, and more. 99 FREE Delivery The African violet belongs to the family Saintpaulia and is native to Africa. Some experts recommend surrounding them with moist peat but I think that this can lead to a problem with fungus gnats. African violets thrive best where a constant temperature of around 16C is maintained. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Many are of economic importance as horticultural ornamentals. Worldwide, there are 16 genera and 850 species. Stressed plants have droopy leaves, which can be caused by dry soil, cold temperatures and overwatering. The leaves are saucer-shaped and velvety, borne in short stems (3-4 inches). To resolve this problem, it is often enough to let the soil dry out and then water less frequently. If for example, like Cape Primroses, your houseplants come from the wooded areas, they will not thrive in full sunshine, but may still want a bright position. Plants require very little feeding – a half strength dose of a high potash liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season is plenty. African Violet is one of the most beautiful houseplants that you can keep in your home. These prepared mixes have been sprayed with a chemical that causes the peat moss to absorb water, and then release it slowly to the plant. From the centre of the crown short fleshy stems topped with clusters of 2.5-5cm flowers with five petals or more emerge in shades of intense purple, mauve, pink and white – with yellow centres. This is a variation of the African violet that has white blooms, but to make them stand out, the edges of each petal is violet. The fleshy leaves of African Violets or Saintpaulia are slightly heart-shaped, hairy and attached to 5-10cm stalks that sprout from soil level, forming a neat rosette. You’ll know some of them are the popular houseplants, African Violets, Cape Primroses or Streptocarpus and Gloxinia plus maybe the Flame Violet (Episcia), Goldfish plants (Columnea and Nematanthus), Hot Water plant (Achimenes), and Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthes), which are availble from specialist growers. Leaf Propagation The most common way for African Violets to be propagated is via the leaf. Their closeness and moisture rising from the pebbles, or peat around them, will provide a microclimate of humidity to keep plants in tip-top condition. The number of species expanded to 20 at one time but has now been reduced to approximately 6. Buy Plant African Violet House Plants and get the best deals at the lowest prices on eBay! adrienne@wildaboutgardening.co.uk, Problem displaying Facebook posts.Click to show errorfunction cffShowError() { document.getElementById("cff-error-reason").style.display = "block"; document.getElementById("cff-show-error").style.display = "none"; }. Cape Primrose or Streptocarpus prefers slightly cooler temperatures than most Gesneriads and will even thrive in a south-facing porch provided they are kept frost free and not allowed to bake on hot summer days. They are grown for ornament, most of them as houseplants in temperate regions. Plants require just enough water to keep the soil moist and the leaves will develop brown spots if they get too wet and if they are allowed to dry out, they go dormant! Immediately after flowering allow the plants to rest for about 4-6 weeks by giving them only enough water to prevent the leaves from sulking, after which normal watering should be resumed. ‘Lovestruck’ has single lavender flowers with a violet ruffled edge Cape primroses are tolerant to most conditions but thrive in a well-lit room with a temperature of about 15F where it will flower for long periods throughout the spring and summer and possibly twice a year. I prefer to use the Rev. If all your sills are sunny, you can just add a sheer net curtain between the glass and your plants but they will perform better if moved to a warm, north-facing windowsill. The members of Saintpaulia are small perennial herbs with thick, hairy, ovate leaves. If they’ve already begun to spin their fine webs then get rid of plants. I also like to put a layer of perlite in the bottom of the pot to allow the excess water a place to collect. The flowers are 2–3 cm in diameter, with a five-lobed velvety corolla ("petals"), and grow in clusters of 3–10 or more on slender stalks called peduncles. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. False African violet(Streptocarpella)is from East Africa. Omissions? The leaves should be deep green and pale plants will have been underfed. That is unless it is mushy or discolored from getting too much water. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. If you find white woolly-coated pests, these are mealy bugs, which are sap-sucking pests. Tony Clement’s approach and take a couple of healthy leaves with 2.5cm of stalk attached and dip the cut ends in hormone rooting powder then place them either back to back so that they support each other above the soil, or simply insert them singly into cell trays, pushing them to a depth of about 13mm into a pot of well draining compost. Use a timer to manage the light levels and take note of how the plant responds in case you need to adjust the height of the lights. … The first commercial yellow Streptocarpus ever seen at Chelsea, which they names Alissa after Lynne Dibley’s niece and in 2015 excited visitors to the Show with the lovely white and purple veined flowers of the variety Polka-Dot Purple. In order to effectively reproduce more African violets for your home, garden, or for sale, you must take a leaf from the plant. If you haven’t the space to display a large collection of African violets on shelves with daylight tubes fitted overhead, you could create a stylish display beneath a table lamp. With foliage houseplants, you can remove them with a cotton bud soaked in methylated spirits but as African Violets are sensitive to this treatment, it’s best to always throw away affected plants. Some forms, called the Tigrina Gloxinias, have flowers heavily spotted or delicately veined in these colours on a white background, and others have frilled edges, touched with white. There are now thousands of varieties in existence, … Good humidity is essential for African Violets to thrive, but as they have hairy leaves, it isn’t a good idea to mist the plants but to stand them on trays of moist pebbles but not so the compost gets wet. You can simply root the leaves by covering a water-filled jar with cling film or foil then poke holes in that covering with a pencil, and insert the stems of the leaves through the holes. You’ll know some of them are the popular houseplants, African Violets, Cape Primroses or Streptocarpus and Gloxinia plus maybe the Flame Violet (Episcia), Goldfish plants (Columnea and Nematanthus), Hot Water plant (Achimenes), and Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthes), which are availble from specialist growers. Always try to avoid wetting the ‘hairy’ leaves as they will become spotted and stained and may even rot if temperatures are cool. Increase the humidity by standing the plants on a tray of damp pebbles; do not over-pot, as too large a pot encourages rampant leaf growth at the expense of flowers; deadhead, by cutting the flower stalks off at the base, to prevent seedpods forming; encourage plants to have a short winter rest by reducing watering. About the African Violet The Saintpaulia houseplant is more commonly known as the African Violet because it originates from Africa and the flowers look like violets (although they're unrelated). African Violets, which originally come from East Africa where they grow in wind-swept, rocky crevices have many admirers around the world and through extensive breeding now come in an impressive range of varieties that have plain or variegated leaves, which sometimes have attractive serrated, crinkled or rolled edges. As good light is essential for African Violets to flower, they can be induced to bloom at any time under artificial light. Take great care when transporting them home too, for the fleshy leaves are delicate and can easily rip. Though their geography is tropical, most species reside in the mountains, at altitude, and under the cover of other plants. These blooms are relatively small. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. I’ve also grown them from seed in a heated propagator, however in this case, I would probably have been better off buying tubers as they took a long time to get going. This method of propagation is very rare among flowers and is one of the more unique aspects of growing this particular flower. Simply stand the pots in about 5cm of water for half an hour or so and after removing the pots from the water allow any excess to drain before replacing the pots on their saucers. African violets are one of the most popular flowering houseplants. These hybrid Gloxinias reliably produce an outstanding display continuously for about two months, but once the flowers fade, the plant rarely comes back because it invests all its energy into flowers rather than sturdy roots. This leaf should be taken from the middle ranks, as the flowers far from the center are too ol… Harlequin Blue was named RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year in 2010 and RHS Chelsea plant of the decade in May 2013. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Don’t limit yourself to African violets, as there are many other species in this easy-going family including Cape primroses and gloxinias. Plants that are kept too hot will drop their flower buds and when conditions are too cold or draughty the leaves will droop. Pale, red-speckled leaves are sure signs that red spider mites are present. Use ‘open’, well-draining compost and maybe add a pinch of charcoal to absorb impurities. The wooded ravines and valleys of Africa and Madagascar are home to Cape primroses. Overwatering is a common misstep for many houseplant gardeners. I wrote a regular monthly column on the subject in the magazine and during that time interviewed many experts including the Reverend Tony Clements, who was a renowned expert of African Violets and had won many medals for his plants at the Chelsea Flower Show. Avoid those with torn or blemished foliage and any that are being sold from outdoor market stalls, as they may have got a chill. No need to register, buy now! Water 2-3 times a week in summer, but do not let the plant stand in water otherwise the base of the leaves may rot. 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