African violets have a great range of color and form. It is very easy to grow and they will flower continuously over a long period and new plants can be grown from leaves.
African violet known botanically as saintpaulia was first discovered in the hills of Tanzania in East Africa. The leaves are hairy and fleshy, with long, brittle stalks. They grow to form a rosette like mound. The flowers grow in loose clusters from the rosette.
Size and Growth
The African violet can be 10 to 15 cm high and up to 38 cm or more across. Miniature varieties are about 15 cm in diameter. Although it can bloom at any time of the year, there are generally fewer flowers between November and March.
Color and Varieties
These days there are many African violet hybrids. Flower color ranges from white, through all pink, red, blue, mauve and purple shades. The flowers may be single five petals semi double or fully double. Much in demand are plants with two colored petals. Frilly-edged flowers, plants with strongly variegated or crinkle edged foliages are also very popular. Also, it is available are miniature, semi-miniature and trailing stemmed forms.
Is African Violets Toxic to Cats?
Many pet lovers have question in their mind, “is African violet Safe for Cats?” The good news is that, African violet is not toxic. Normally cats like to chew the plant leafs. May be cats stomach is not good for digest plant material for nutritional craving. So, African violet is not poisonous for cats and dogs.
The African violet enjoys the company of other plants so it is an ideal subject for setting in containers with other house plants.
Making New Plants
The easiest way to start new plant is to take leaf cutting.
Leaf cutting: Well, you need to propagate African violets by taking leaf cuttings. This way you know the kind of plant and the flower color that you will have in the end and it will be identical to the parent plant. It will take about 8 to 10 months from taking cutting to a fully blooming adult plant.
· Take the leaf from the parent plant together with its stalk.
· Plant it so that half the stem is covered with a rooting mixture. Keeping the cutting at temperature of 18 °C to 21°C. For about one month and roots will form.
· Moreover, after 8 to 14 days at this temperature new plantlets will appear. Once they have reached a diameter of about 5cm then they can be split up and transferred to small pots of their own.
· Also, water with a liquid plant food every fortnight once the plants are well-established. Maintain high humidity by growing plants on pebbles trays.
1. Brown spots scorched leaves can appear if strong sun has been shinning directly on the leaves, or if cold water has been spilled on them. Make sure do not expose the plant to strong sunlight between March and October. Hence you need to give water carefully.
2. Crown rot fungus is a major problem with African violets. Discard the plant and clean the area where it was growing thoroughly.
3. Mildew can appear particularly in winter if the surrounding air is to too moist and stagnant. Also, allow humidity trays to dry out
4. Sunken brown spots on undersides of leaves. This is due to thrips or cyclamen mites. Also, discard plants under severe attack.
Secrets of Success to Grow African Violet
General Care: African violets are not demanding plants but will respond to regular and thoughtful attention, rewarding you with flowers all year round. Pick off faded flowers and leaves right to base to maintain only 3 to 4 layers of leaves on plants.
Potting: This plant grows well in open but rich potting compost. Commercial peat based potting mixtures are best. Also, repot every spring or summer when the roots have filled the pot. Spilt the plant with multiple crowns when repotting
Watering: The African violet cannot tolerate cold water on its leaves or crown. It should be watered with tepid water from bin the saucer. Any water that remains in the saucer after half an hour after watering should be poured off. Keep humidity high by placing it on a tray of damp pebbles.
Feeding: Then you need to give it a liquid fertilizer feed every fortnight during the growth period.
Light: Although the love the light, African violets cannot take very hot sunlight, especially from March till October. The brightest possible light without hot direct sun is ideal. During winter you cannot give them too much light.
Temperature: You will get the best growth and the best flowers if you plant have a summer temperature of (15°C to 22 °C). Minimum winter temperature should be 13°C
Lifespan: With the right care of African violet the plant will grow for many years, offering flowering most of the time round the year. Note the yellow pollen sacs in this variety.
Buying TipsWell, if you don’t want to invest too much time in the above process. Then these African violets are available any time of the year in the nearest nurseries. But make sure that the leaves are healthy and plump. That there are plenty of flower buds showing. source: Charismatic Planet
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