Saintpaulia

Common name: African Violet

An evergreen perennial that is generally grown indoors or in an alpine house in the UK.

Most of the varieties available in garden centres are hybrids resulting from cross-breeding saintpaulia s. ionantha with saintpaulia erroneous s.confusa.

It is estimated that due to cross breeding (hybridising) there are possibly more than 1500 varieties of saintpaulia.


They grow to around 150m (6") high with a spread of around 250mm (10").

Depending on growing conditions, most varieties flower any time between July and December, although this period can be increased with artificial lighting.

Watering:

Always water plants, idealy with soft water, from the bottom of the pot to avoid the top of the corm getting wet, more plants die as a result of over-watering than any other cause.

Do not attempt to water overhead or spray this can cause leaf rot.

Temperature:

Maintain a minimum winter temperature of 13°C (55°F)

Grow plants on in light position, but shaded from direct sunlight.

Saintpaulia do not take kindly to draughts and sharp fluctuations in temperatures.

Feeding:

As plants come into bud, apply a half strength high potash or general house plant liquid feed weekly.

Cultivation

Week 12: Plants that have outgrown their containers will require re-potting.

Pot up small plants into 100mm (4”) pots, and larger plants into 125mm (5”) pots filled with lime free loam/peat/sharp sand compost mix.

Alternatively use proprietary soilless compost.

Water the re-potted plants by sitting in a container of clean soft water until the surface of the compost appears damp, remove, and allow surplus water to drain off.

Do not attempt to water overhead or spray this can cause leaf rot.

Some people are of the opinion that due to the small root system of saintpaulias, it is better to pot up into flat half pots rather than traditional deep pots.

As said, this is an opinion, so it up to each grower to grow in the manner that suits them best!

Propagation:

Circa Week 13: Sow seed on a 50-50 sand - peat mixture and germinate at 18°-21°C (65°-70°F)

Prick out seedlings when they are large enough to handle into 75mm(3") potsof potting compost.

Pot on as necessary.

Week 24: Take leafbud cuttings.

Trim the leaf bud of a mature healthy leaf down to about 30-50mm (1½”- 2”) and insert one or more cuttings into containers filled with well-drained compost.

Root in propagator (or sealed plastic bag) at a temperature of 18°- 21°C (65°-70°F)

Alternatively insert singly into peat pots

Pests and Diseases:

Remove spent flowers and any damaged leaves on a regular basis to prevent the possibility of fungal diseases developing.

Yellowing /browning of leaves may be a result of too much light caused by direct sunlight scorching the leaves.

Root rots are quite common.

This is generally a result of either irregular or too much watering or both!

Fluctuating temperatures (draughts) or too cool growing conditions can also cause this problem.

Occasionaly plants can contract grey mould

The best cure for this is to remove the affected leaves and place the pot/s in a drier airy spot.





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