Saintpaulia, or Uzambara violet
Saintpaulia (Saintpaulia) - a genus of flowering plants of the Gesneriaceae family (Gesneriaceae) One of the most popular indoor flowers. There are a huge number of varieties of Saintpoly, or, as they are called, "Uzambara violets." You can choose almost any variety with the right size and color. Compact bright plants that can bloom almost all year round. Let us consider in more detail what kind of indoor flowers are, and how to care for them.
Do not confuse Saintpaulia (Saintpaulia) with violet (Viola) These are two different kinds belonging to very different families. Saintpaulia, also known as Uzambara violet, belongs to the Gesneriaceae family and is a tropical plant. While Violet, known to us under the general name "Pansies", belongs to the family Violets and is grown as a garden plant.
- History of the discovery and spread of Saintpaulia
- Description of Saintpaulia
- What to look for when buying a senpolia?
- Growing conditions and care for Saintpaulia
- In detail about top dressing
- In which pot and when to transplant Saintpaulia?
- Correct drainage during transplantation
- Senpoly landing depth
- Reproduction of Uzambara violet from leaf cuttings
- Propagation of Saintpaulia by stepsons
- Saintpoly diseases
- Varieties and types
History of the discovery and spread of Saintpaulia
The Uzambara violet was opened in 1892 by Baron Walter von Saint-Paul (1860-1940), the commandant of the Uzambara district - a colony of Germany located on the territory of modern Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. Walter Saint-Paul drew attention to this plant during a walk. He sent the collected seeds to his father - the president of the German Dendrological Society, and he handed them over to the botanist German Wendland (1825-1903). Wendland grew a plant from seeds and in 1893 described it as Saintpaulia ionanta (Saintpaulia violet-flowered), isolating this species in a separate genus, which he named after the father and son of Saint-Paul.
For the first time, the senpolia was represented at the international flower show in Ghent in 1893. In 1927, the senpolis came to the United States, where they immediately gained popularity as indoor plants. By 1949, a hundred varieties were already bred. Today, the number of varieties exceeds 32 thousand, of which more than 2 thousand are domestic.
Description of Saintpaulia
Senpolia in indoor floriculture fell in love with its small size and long flowering (up to 10 months a year). The flowerpot, usually, is a low grassy plant with fleshy, rounded leaves covered with villi. Leaves of green or spotty color are located on the shortened stems forming a basal rosette.
Flowers - with five petals, collected in a brush. Color and shape depend on the variety. Saintpaulia also has a cup consisting of five sepals. The fruit is a small box with numerous small seeds with a direct germ.
The natural range of the senpolia is limited to the mountainous regions of Tanzania and Kenya, while the vast majority of species are found only in Tanzania, in the Ulugur and Uzambara mountains (the name "Usambara mountains" is usually used on modern maps). Senpolias often grow near waterfalls, rivers, in conditions of water dust and fog.
What to look for when buying a senpolia?
First of all, when buying an Uzambara violet, you should pay attention to the leaves. If you find any suspicious spots or a too tight growth point on them, then, most likely, this plant is affected by some kind of disease. Even for a specialist it will be difficult to grow and leave such a flower, but for a beginner it will be almost impossible. Therefore, it is better to choose a plant with bright green leaves, without signs of pest damage.
When choosing a baby, it is important that the leaves are not very elongated — this indicates that the plant has already suffered from a lack of light.
To propagate the senpolia, it is best to take a leaf stalk from the second lower row. The lower leaves are also given by children, but, as a rule, they are more depleted due to their venerable age, so the offspring will certainly be weaker.
And be sure to ask the seller to indicate the varietal affiliation of the plant, so that then you do not have to worry about identifying the varieties of Saintpaulia. Some collectors labeled with a grade indicate the date the baby was planted.
It is convenient to use boxes, plastic containers or other containers that will not allow the cuttings to break when transported by public transport for transporting sheet cuttings of the Saintpaulia. If such a container was not at hand, then ask the seller to inflate the plastic bag and tie it tightly, in which case the handle will not be injured during transportation. If, nevertheless, the leaves are broken, then they must be removed from the outlet.
When choosing pots for the Uzambara violet, their size is important, namely the diameter. It should be 5-6 cm for children and young outlets, for adult outlets no more than 10-12 cm. Ideally, the diameter of the pot for an adult outlet should be 3 times smaller than the diameter of the outlet itself.
Both plastic and ceramic pots are suitable for senpolia. Currently, collectors prefer to grow Uzambara violets in plastic pots, because they are cheaper and more convenient.
Growing conditions and care for Saintpaulia
The cultivation of Uzambara violets (senpolia) requires some effort. If you want the senpolia to bloom profusely and for a long time, you must adhere to the following rules.
Temperature mode should be smooth, not too hot in the summer and not too cold in the winter. The optimum temperature is +18 .. + 24 ° C. Uzambar violets do not like sharp fluctuations in temperature and drafts.
Uzambara violet prefers bright lightbut does not like direct sunlight, therefore, if the plant stands on a sunny windowsill, it must be shaded, and in winter it is desirable to additional lighting with fluorescent lamps, so that the daylight of violets was 13-14 hours. In this case, the senpolia will bloom in the winter.
Watering for the seniors requires uniform. The surface layer of the soil should be constantly moist, but it is also impossible to fill the plant. Water carefully under the root. Excess water from the pan must be drained. Water for irrigation should not be cold and preferably soft, in any case, it must be defended. Uzambara violet, leaves in particular, does not tolerate spraying. If water drops fall on the leaves, they can rot. To ensure sufficient humidity, it is good to place pots with senpolis on a water tray, but so that the pot of water does not touch or lay wet moss on the tray. You can put pots in wet peat.
Soil for uzambar violets must also meet special requirements. It should be loose, pass air well and absorb water easily. You can buy a ready-made earthen mixture for senpolia, or you can make it yourself from sheet and turf land, humus, sand, charcoal, bone meal with the addition of superphosphate. The proportions are as follows: 2; 0.5; 1; 1. Add 0.5 cups of bone meal and 1 tablespoon of superphosphate to a bucket of prepared earthen mixture.
In detail about feeding Saintpaulias
In the homeland of the senpolia grow on rather poor soils, therefore, when making earth mixtures, amateurs try not to give them too many nutrients. But since the root system of the plant is in a small volume of substrate, then over time, the earth in the pots gradually depletes. Therefore, you have to periodically feed the plants. True, immediately after the transplant, one should not feed - for two months there will be enough food for the senpolia.
When feeding plants, one should not forget that an excess of nutrients can cause various undesirable effects. For example, an excess of nitrogen leads to rapid leaf growth to the detriment of flowering. “Overfed” plants become unstable to diseases and pests. With a significant excess of phosphorus, the senpolia ages faster, the buds fall, young leaves are deformed. If there is a lot of potassium, the plants stop growing, the leaves turn yellow.
The concentration of the nutrient solution for top dressing depends on many factors, in particular on the size of the pot, the composition of the earthen mixture. Finally, consider that the senpolia refers to plants that cannot tolerate high salt content. Too concentrated solutions (more than 1.5-2 g of salts per 1 liter of water) are harmful to plants.
The smaller the size of the pot and the amount of land in it, the weaker the concentration of salts should be (but you need to feed more often). Plants on loose soils can be fed more often than on heavy ones - in the first case, fertilizers are washed out more quickly.
When watering the Saintpaulia with a highly concentrated solution, the roots are damaged in the plants, the leaves become soft. If urgent measures are not taken, the plant may die. In this case, it is necessary to spill the earthen lump well with warm water (0.5-1 l.) In small portions. Then the pot is put in a shaded place.
The optimal concentration of fertilizers for senpolia can be considered 1 g of complex mineral salts, diluted in 1 liter. water. Each subsequent top dressing in this case is carried out after 15-20 days. Feeding with weaker solutions is also effective (1 g per 3 liters of water). Such solutions can be watered more often - after 5-6 days. Constant top dressing with watering is also noteworthy - in this case, 1 g of fertilizer is dissolved in 6-8 liters. water.
Senpolia should be fed only at the most favorable time of year for their growth. So, in the middle lane it is advisable to fertilize from March to September.
In which pot and when to transplant Saintpaulia?
Adult senpolia every year it is advisable to transplant into a fresh earthen mixture. After all, their root system is located in a small amount of land, which over time loses its structure and nutrition. Usually transplanted in the spring, but if they grow in artificial light, this can be done at any time of the year.
The most common mistake in the culture of the senpolia is the use of too large pots. Recall that the pots differ in numbers that correspond to the diameter of the pot in the upper part. Small plants (nos. 5 or 6) are sufficient for young plants that have just been separated from the mother leaf. In the future, when the plants grow up, they can be transplanted in containers No. 7 or 8. The maximum pot size for the largest adult specimens is No. 9 or 11. Too spacious dishes can often lead to root decay.
Before use, new clay pots should be soaked in hot water for 30-40 minutes, and then allowed to cool and dry. If this is not done, then after planting the walls of the pots will absorb too much water to the detriment of the plant. Sometimes you have to reuse containers whose edges are coated with a touch of salt. Therefore, they must be thoroughly washed with a hard washcloth in hot water, and the plaque should be removed with a brush or a blunt knife.
Correct drainage during transplantation
When transplanting the senpolia, first of all, attention should be paid to drainage. The drainage layer, which is poured on top of the shard covering the bottom hole, serves to drain excess water from the lower layers of the earth. It promotes additional air access to the roots, prevents the compaction of the lower part of the earthen coma and is especially important when planting in plastic containers.
Usually, drainage takes up 1/5 of the volume of the pot. The condition of the earthen mixture, its acidity, largely depends on its quality. As a drainage layer, it is better to use crushed shards from clay pots, they do not change the acidity of the substrate. Well-washed coarse sand can be used (fractions of 1-2.5 mm). Small granules of expanded clay, a light brown building material, are also suitable; larger granules should be crushed. Expanded clay drainage needs to be changed every year, since over time, toxic compounds for the senpolia accumulate in it.
Of the synthetic materials, crumbs of polystyrene (artificial resin) and polystyrene are most often used. The latter is crushed by hand with crumbs (5-12 mm). Granular polyethylene is more difficult to access - a chemically inert lightweight strong synthetic material (granule size 3-5 mm).
Plant materials: crumbs of pine bark, nutshells, cork, chopped pine cones, etc. - it is possible to use for drainage, given that, as a rule, they acidify the soil and do not always give a positive result. With such drainage, it is desirable to add small pieces of charcoal to the volume. Gravel and granite crushed stone usually contain particles that alkalize the substrate, so they can be used on acidic soils. Brick crumb strongly alkalizes the soil, so it is not recommended for drainage.
When planting the Saintpaulia in small pots (5-7 cm), it is enough to close the drainage hole with a clay shard. The remaining volume is occupied by the earthen mixture. In larger containers (8-11 cm), a drainage layer (1.5-2 cm) is poured on top of the shard (which is laid with the concave side up), several pieces of charcoal about 0.5 cm in size are placed on it (coal adsorbs harmful gases) .
Senpoly landing depth
Of great importance is the depth of planting of Saintpaulia. With the correct depth, the petioles of the lower leaves should be slightly above the surface of the earth or slightly touch it. If the planted plant is unstable, an additional layer of sphagnum moss about 1 cm thick can be put on the surface of the earth. Moreover, it can slightly cover the petioles of the lower leaves. Too high plants are often unstable, which slows down their growth and development.
When watering too deeply planted plants, soil particles enter the center of the outlet, polluting it. Young leaflets at the growth point are deformed, their development slows down. Often too deep in the senpolia, the growth point rots, “rust” appears on the central young leaves, the leaves die off, the stem rots - the plant dies.
The propagation of the senpolia
Reproduction of Uzambara violet from leaf cuttings
The most common way of propagating Saintpaulia is by leaf cuttings. To do this, you need a healthy, mature leaf (whether the mother plant blooms does not matter). Petiole should be 3-4 cm long, with an oblique cut. The cutlery is better to put in water until the formation of roots. If the stalk is immediately planted in the ground, then, firstly, the soil should be loose, not compacted, and secondly, the stalk is placed in the soil to a depth of 1.5 - 2 cm, not more. The pot with the handle is poured with warm water and covered with a plastic bag to maintain moisture, the temperature should not be lower than 20-21 ° C. Root formation and development of children lasts 1-2 months.
Everyone can choose for themselves the most convenient, affordable and reliable way of rooting the cuttings of Saintpaulia. If this method is not chosen very well, sometimes newbies are disappointed when the stalk immediately rots and dies.
For home conditions, the most affordable way is to root the cuttings in boiled water. In cities where you can buy substrate components, many lovers of Uzambara violets root cuttings in agroperlite (large fraction) or vermiculite. Rooting in finely chopped sphagnum moss gives good results.
Too many Senpoly lovers root cuttings in peat-humus tablets, in which the risk of leaf decay is minimized.
The most general rule for all these methods is not to leave a long stalk. Children will appear faster and larger if the petiole does not exceed 4 centimeters in length. The cut must be done with a sharp razor or scalpel.
It is important when rooting cuttings of Saintpaulia to ensure increased air humidity and temperature + 20..24 ° C. It is recommended to put rooted cuttings in a greenhouse or in a plastic bag.
Babies appear, on average, after 4-6 weeks. When they get stronger and grow up, they will need to be carefully separated from the leaf, trying to minimize the injury to the baby’s roots. Then you should put the baby in a separate pot. The diameter of the pot for the baby should not exceed 6 cm. The sheet (if it is strong) can be put on over-rooting.
When planting a baby, it is necessary to put drainage on the bottom of the pot (moss-sphagnum, pieces of polystyrene foam or small expanded clay). The soil for children should be loose and nutritious, 1/5 part of vermiculite and 1/5 part of perlite can be added to the substrate. If there is sphagnum moss, then it should also be added to the substrate, previously finely chopped with scissors, at the rate of 1/5 of the total volume of the mixture.
The planted children of Saintpaulia need to be placed in a mini-greenhouse so that the children adapt there in 2-3 weeks. Place a greenhouse with children on a light windowsill (preferably not in the south, where you need to shade the Uzambara violets so that there are no burns on the leaves). In winter, make sure that you do not blow from the window, since the senpolia is very sensitive to hypothermia of the root system. The grown up children can be gradually accustomed to room conditions, airing the greenhouse with the children for 10-15 minutes, then 30 minutes.
Propagation of Saintpaulia by stepsons
For propagation of uzambar violet, not only leafy cuttings, but also stepsons can be used. For successful rooting stepson must have 3-4 leaves. To separate the stepson from the outlet, you need to have an awl or a sharp scalpel. When removing the stepson, you must try not to injure the leaf cuttings of the main outlet.
To root the stepson of Saintpaulia, you can use a peat-preserving tablet or a pot with a substrate. For better adaptation and early rooting, a planted stepson should be kept in a greenhouse for 3-4 weeks.
The causative agents of plant infectious diseases can be bacteria, fungi, viruses, which contribute to their very rapid spread.
An infectious fungal disease, known as gray rot, is caused by the Fusarium fungus. Flowers and buds are covered with gray mold, the affected areas die off. Usually, the fungus infects the plant, falling on dried sick flowers and damaged leaves. The disease develops intensively at low air temperature (below 16 ° C), abundant watering, in conditions of high humidity, excessive nitrogen fertilizer, and poor air circulation.
To prevent infectious decay, the regimes of watering, temperature, humidity should be strictly observed. If mold is detected, the affected parts are removed, the plant is treated with a solution of disubstituted sodium phosphate (1 g per 1 liter of water) or other fungicides (benlat, etc.).
Powdery mildew - a fungal disease, manifests itself in the form of a whitish coating on the flowers, peduncles and leaves of the senpolia. It seems as though they are sprinkled with flour.
The spread of powdery mildew is facilitated by dust and dirt on the plants, window sills and shelves where they are located. It is very important to keep clean. Pots and trays must be washed periodically with warm water.
The occurrence of the disease also contributes to inadequate lighting (in the back of the room), short daylight hours (7-8 hours a day) or high humidity at low temperature (14-16 ° C).
The disease is more pronounced if the earthen mixture contains too much nitrogen, but not enough potassium and phosphorus.
Excess nitrogen in the earth mixture can be determined by the appearance of plants, in particular, by the state of young leaves at the growth point. With the normal development of the senpolia, the young leaves grow evenly, develop well. Due to an excess of nitrogen, these leaves condense and deform, resting against the next row of leaves. Subsequently, deformed young leaves are released from crowding. The plant grows, the leaves grow excessively in size, become stiff and brittle. Saintpaulia blooms weaker, flowers are smaller than usual, side offspring (stepsons) appear.
To get rid of powdery mildew, it is necessary, mainly, to use fungicides. Sometimes you need to take care of reducing the nitrogen content. To do this, an earthen lump is spilled with warm water (30 ° C) - about 0.3 liters per pot. Subsequently, it is fed with phosphorus and potassium fertilizers (1 g per 1 liter of water).
Of fungicides, those are used that, after processing, do not damage the delicate pubescent leaves of the senpolia and do not leave spots. An effective aqueous solution of benlate (fundozole, 1 g per 1 liter of water), which process the leaves of plants and moisturize the earthen clod, is effective. Usually one spraying is sufficient, but if the desired results are not achieved, it is repeated after 10 days.
Fundozol also relieves plants of some other fungal diseases. It does not affect the leaves of the senpolia, but sometimes leaves subtle spots that are subsequently removed by water.
Commercially available fungicide - sodium disodium phosphate (a means of controlling powdery mildew of fruit, berry and ornamental crops) is convenient in that it also acts as a phosphate fertilizer. After treatment with this drug, the leaves are not damaged, but burn spots on the blossoming flowers are possible. Half-blossomed flowers and buds develop normally.
When using sodium disodium phosphate, the concentration of the aqueous solution must not be exceeded. For leaf treatment, take 1 g of the drug per 1.5 liters of water, and for watering plants - 1 g per 1 liter of water. Usually one treatment is enough, in extreme cases, it can be repeated after 10-12 days. It is not recommended to process the Senpolia more than two times. This drug also destroys mold on the surface of the earth.
After spraying the violets with fungicides, the flowers and pedicels most affected by powdery mildew should be removed. Aqueous treatment solutions should be slightly warm. To avoid light burns of leaves after washing, they are allowed to dry in a shaded place.
Noncommunicable diseases usually occur due to disturbances in agricultural technology. They can appear on one copy and not be transferred to others.
Rotting of the stem and root system
Rotting of the stem and root system of senpolia. The first sign of rotting the stem is the wilting of the lower leaves. They become dull, as if dusty, as if the plant needs watering (although the earthen lump is quite moist). Rotting of the roots and stem can be seen during transplantation. The reasons may be planting in dense heavy soil, a high concentration of fertilizers in the earthen mixture, large pots, watering with cold water, insufficient air temperature (below 20 ° C), planting too deep.
In adult specimens of senpolia, the stems also rot during compaction of the earth, when there is no free access of air to the roots. In this case, the part of the stem located in the ground bends away, the roots grow only in the upper layer of the earthen coma (the earthen coma is very dense inside), the rosettes of the leaves lose their decorativeness and stability in the soil. They are best transplanted into a fresh earth mixture. If this is not done, the stem rots and the plant dies.
Withering and rotting of lower leaves
In a healthy plant, under conditions of normal content, the lower row of leaves functions well, usually about a year. Then comes their natural death. Senpolia leaves change color, yellowed areas appear with signs of decay or drying of the edge. As they age, such leaves are removed by breaking off at the base of the stem.
Petioles of lower healthy leaves are often damaged at the points of contact with the edges of the clay container, especially if they are uneven. To avoid this, the edges of clay pots are pre-coated with several layers of varnish or with a molten mixture of natural wax (0.2 parts), rosin (1 part) and sealing wax (2 parts). The mixture cannot be overheated (bring to a boil) - this causes bubbles to appear on the edges of the pots, which is undesirable. During processing, the inverted pot is immersed in the molten mixture by 0.5-1 cm and immediately immersed in cold water.
You can thus process the edges of the pots, dipping them in molten sealing wax mixed with 1/8 part of the wax or in pure wax. Melted paraffin gives worse results, as it cracks, pieces fly off, mold and algae can develop in this place.
Some gardeners do things differently. They take a thin rubber tube, cut it along and then, cutting off a piece equal to the circumference of the pot, put it on the edge, thus protecting the petioles of the leaves. Sometimes lovers install special supports for leaves from thick wire so that they do not lie on the edges of the pot, but it does not look too elegant.
During planting, the petioles of the lower leaves are often injured in the senpolia. In the future, such leaves begin to rot at the stem. They must be removed, sprinkle the stem at the breaking point with charcoal powder.
Yellowing leaves of Saintpaulia
The reasons are excessive illumination, when direct sunlight falls on the plant, or weak shading, as well as a constant lack of moisture or nutrients in the soil. With a lack of nutrients in the earthen mixture, top dressing is recommended (not too strong concentration). If, after this, positive results are not visible, then the acidity of the soil mixture should be checked. Too acidic (pH below 4) or alkaline (pH above 7) earth should be replaced.
Saintpaulia leaf spotting
On the upper side of the leaves there are stripes, round spots of irregular shape, white, yellowish or brownish in color. Most often, this is the result of exposure to direct sunlight (especially if they fall on wet leaves after watering), washing with cold water or spraying. Such spots can also appear in winter, when a stream of cold air is directed at the plants during ventilation. If further spots do not pass, you have to wait until new green leaves develop. To avoid the occurrence of spots, you need to maintain a constant, high enough air temperature, shade the plants from direct sunlight, do not place plants with wet leaves on the windowsill.
Translucent spots on the leaves of Saintpaulia
Such spots are clearly visible in the lumen. They appear from constant heavy watering, especially if the earth is prone to souring (for example, it contains a lot of not completely decomposed leaves). In this case, you can shed the earthen lump with a weak solution of potassium permanganate (pink), adjust the irrigation regime or change the earthen mixture.
Incomplete opening and premature drying of Saintpaulia flowers
This is facilitated by great dryness and elevated air temperature (such conditions more often occur in winter, with central heating), short daylight hours (less than 9 hours a day), and too acidic soil (pH below 4.5). A too fertilized land containing an excess of nitrogen also has a negative effect.
Fall of flowers and buds of Saintpaulia
The main reason is a sharp change in external conditions. For example, the senpolia grew and blossomed in a room with high air humidity (in a greenhouse), but then it was moved to a room where air humidity is much lower. Either the senpolia from a cool place was moved to where the temperature is much higher, or when airing in winter, a stream of cold air fell on the plant. Irrigation of plants with a solution of fertilizers of increased concentration also leads to the fall of flowers and buds.
Varieties and types of Saintpaulia
Saintpaulia has about twenty species of plants.
The most famous species:
- Saintpaulia is dark (Saintpaulia confusa) - a plant with a slender straight stalk up to 10 cm high. The flowers are bluish-violet, with yellow anthers, collected in four brushes.
- Saintpaulia violet-flowered, or Saintpaulia violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) - in nature, the plant has violet-blue flowers, but the color of cultivated cultivars can be very diverse: white, pink, red, blue, violet. The leaves are green above, greenish-reddish below.
- Senpolia Magungen (Saintpaulia magungensis) - a plant with branched stems up to 15 cm high and leaves with a diameter of about 6 cm with wavy edges. The flowers are purple, collected in two or four.
- Saintpolitheite (Saintpaulia teitensis) - a rare view from the mountainous regions in southeast Kenya, is subject to protection.
At present, many varieties of senpolia have been bred, most of them are hybrids. To such hybrids, violet guides usually use the designation Saintpaulia hybrid.
The varieties of senpolias are divided into several groups, primarily in terms of color and shape of flowers and their type. According to this principle, classical, star-shaped, fantasy, limb-shaped senpolias and senpolias-chimeras are distinguished.
By the type of leaves, plants primarily differ as “boys” and “girls”. The “girls” plants have a bright spot on the upper side at the base of the leaf; in the varieties of the “boys” group, the leaves are completely green.
Varieties are also distinguished by the size and diameter of the outlet: giants, miniatures and microminiatures.
Some varieties of Saintpaulia:
- "Chimera Monique" - the flowers of this variety have lilac petals with a white border.
- Chimera Myrthe - flowers of this variety have pink-red petals with a white border.
- "Ramona" - a variety with dense pink terry flowers, in the center of which yellow anthers look spectacular.
- "Nada" - variety with white flowers.
We hope that our detailed article on senpolia will help you avoid many mistakes when growing them. A compact and bright bushes of Uzambara violets will delight you with their flowering all year round.