Streptocarpus saxorum (False African Violet)
It’s been a long time since my last post but I’ve had a busy few months and have now propagated a number of plants for a variety of Gesneriad species. One of these is Streptocarpus saxorum, a member of the Streptocarpella sub-genus within the Streptocarpus genus.
Also, known as the “false african violet”, it’s easy to see why as it looks like a cross between an african violet (leaves) and a Streptocarpus (flowers). I’ve tried both leaf and stem cuttings of this species and both have worked well (although the leaf propagation takes a lot longer). I’m now desperately trying to find space for a hanging basket as I think that these plants may have a tendency to trail and think this would look great.
Posted in Gesneriads, Propagation
Tagged african violet, flower, gesneriad, leaf cutting, leaf propagation, plants, streptocarpella, streptocarpus, streptocarpus saxorum, trailing
Watch out for extra plantlets!
I’ve been checking over the latest batch of leaf cuttings and thought I’d mention a quick tip (that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration as this is probably not news to most people…). Anyway, if you’re lucky with your leaf cuttings you will find that rather than one plant, a few may actually have developed with their own root systems. These can be carefully separated by teasing the roots apart and ensuring that the stems and leaves don’t catch on each other when you pull the little plants apart. I only attempt re-potting these plants when they have several (3-5) leaves showing.
In fact, separating the plants at an early stage allows all of them to develop stronger and quicker (as with most plants).
Finally, if you try this and you break off what appears to be some stem and leaves with no roots, it is always worth planting these in very moist compost as they may still ‘take’ and develop roots.
Posted in General Care, Propagation
Tagged african violet, care, cloning, cutting, growing, leaf, leaf cutting, leaf propagation, leaves, plants, saintpaulia
Blimey – it’s been a while since I made a post – the time has passed in a bit of blur over the last few months as I’ve had a lot of interest from my website (www.cloudviolets.co.uk). Perhaps the miserable weather has encouraged people to buy a few plants for the home!
Today I rolled up my sleaves and started to re-organise my african violets ready for longer (and hopefully warmer) days. One of the KEY things that had to be done was to move some of the plants that have overwintered in bright places (south-facing windowsills and conservatory etc.) to more shaded quarters. This is quite important as african violets like a bit of light, but continuous, direct sunlight will end up scorching (brown blotches) or bleaching leaves.
African violet seed pods
Happy New Year to everyone who reads my african violet blog!
Sometimes you find that someone else has done something far better than you can manage and I’ve had one of the those moments this morning. I came across a fantastic article by a lady called Rachel who explained (far better than I could manage), with some great drawings, how to pollinate your own african violets. I was saddened to see on the home page that she passed away in 2008. I hope that her family and friends will not mind me mentioning the site as in my mind there is something quite uplifting to think that although Rachel has passed on her writing lives on and people around the world may be following her advice.
The web page is http://www.rachelsreflections.org/hybridizing.htm and is definitely worth a visit if you fancy having a go at hybridizing your own african violets.
House Plants on BBC
I watched a great programme the other night called ‘Great British Garden Revival’ on BBC 2. It had a section on house plants which is pretty rare in my experience for most gardening progs!
I had a bit of greenhouse envy when they showed the nursery for the largest online supplier of house plants in the UK and it was great to see a few of my favourite plants (Gesneriads) mentioned – including streptocarpus and the wonderfully exotic looking sinningia leucotricha. The BBC iPlayer is showing the episode (click here) and after a quick look it appears that this series is on BBC 2 at 7pm on a Friday. Definitely worth a watch!
Just thought I would share an interesting blog article that I stumbled across today. It was quite interesting to read about someone’s experience when coming across this familiar little plant in the wilds of Africa (Tanzania to be precise).
Wild African Violet
I loved the photos and hope that the author (Andrew Evans) won’t mind me replicating one here! If you have spare few minutes take a look at his blog for the National Geographic.
The flowers of this plant look a little similar to those of one of my own hybrid varieties (Ice Fairy) but the plant itself appears to have larger leaves and a flatter habit.
After the interest that we’ve had for our african violets at http://www.cloudviolets.co.uk we have started to grow a few other members of the Gesneriad family, including streptocarpus.
Streptocarpus – Crystal Beauty
These attractive plants, also known as cape primroses, have a fantastic array of flower forms and colours and we just had to try few.
Along with seeds, we also tried a number of leaf cuttings in various ways to obtain some clones of those plants that we particularly liked (for instance Crystal Beauty) shown here.
We tried three types of cutting; using a single leaf, taking 1″ cross sections across the narrow section of a leaf and also dividing the leaf in half down the central spine. All three methods seemed to work more or less OK with the option of dividing the leaf in half and using these giving the most little plants.