Streptocarpus is a brightly flowering tropical plant that is successfully cultivated in ordinary household conditions. Those who are afraid of the complex and “tricky” care of decorative exotics, this time can safely take up cultivation – the flower has a docile nature and a fairly high endurance to growing conditions. The second name of streptocarpus is a false violet, however, this is a purely external comparison, since the agricultural technology of these crops has its own characteristics.
Streptocarpus is a representative of the Gesneriev family, native to the tropics of Africa and about. Madagascar, it can often be found in the wild in some Asian regions. The plant does not have a stem and forms a large but not dense basal rosette. The rhizome is fibrous, well developed, branched, with a superficial occurrence. In the place of the root collar it has a thickening, which becomes woody over time. The leaves are entire, with a wrinkled leathery surface covered with a sparse pile. The color of the foliage is dark green, the shape is oval, the size of the plate can reach 30 cm in length with a width of not more than 7 cm.
The peduncle is ejected from the leaf axil, has no leaves, is covered with pubescence. Its length can be different depending on the species – from 5 to 25 cm. The buds are formed at the end of several pieces, their number is arbitrary, the arrangement is close, the flowers are pressed against each other. The corolla, up to 9 cm in diameter, is bell-shaped and consists of six half-fused petals. The top three are usually shorter than the bottom three.
The color is very diverse, including all kinds of colorful combinations, pink-burgundy and blue-violet colors, white, yellow and other colors. Flowering is very long, with good care, streptocarpus can bloom at home literally all year round. But usually the buds bloom from spring to late autumn, after which there is a short, not pronounced dormant period without dropping foliage. Fruits are twisted pods with many small dark seeds.
In natural nature, the plant grows in moist forests, as well as on mountainous slopes near the sea coast. Depending on this, the basic types may have their own content features.
Reproduction of streptocarpus
Both seed and vegetative propagation techniques are available for obtaining new specimens of the false violet, however, growing streptocarpus from seeds at home is not usually practiced. In addition to a long and laborious process, you can get a completely unpredictable result due to the lack of guarantees for the transfer of varietal characteristics from the mother plant. And since breeding varieties and hybrids are usually grown as indoor flowers, working with seeds makes sense only for breeders. However, the unpredictable result sometimes turns out to be very interesting.
Reproduction by seeds
General rules for working with seeds are standard. The material is sown in a shallow dish without pre-treatment in a substrate based on peat, vermiculite, sand and perlite (the presence of all components is desirable, but not necessary). Due to the smallness of the grains, it is convenient to pre-mix them with sand. It is not necessary to deepen them, it is enough to distribute them over the surface, lightly press and moisten from the spray bottle. The container is covered with a film or glass and placed in a warm place with diffused light. The resulting condensate must be cleaned regularly. The first shoots will appear after 1.5-2 weeks. After that, the film must either be removed completely, or shifted to maintain conditions of high humidity. Picking is done after the formation of two true leaves.
The division of the bush
The method is applicable to bushes at the age of 2-3 years with their good development. The division of the bush is timed to coincide with its spring transplant. To do this, the specimen is removed from the pot, the root system is carefully freed from the ground and divided into parts. The plant gives small daughter sockets, they are easily separated from the mother bush, for this it is enough just to untangle the roots with your hands. If the common root neck is divided, do it with a sharp blade, after which the cut is sprinkled with wood ash or crushed activated charcoal. Delenki are planted immediately, after which they are temporarily covered with a transparent (polyethylene, glass) cap for the time of rooting to create humid greenhouse conditions.
The plant does not have a stem, but it is permissible to use any aerial part of the flower as cuttings. It is most convenient to reproduce streptocarpus with a leaf. You can also use children without roots or individual parts of the leaf. The cut point is sprinkled with coal or ash, it is slightly buried in a wet substrate or sphagnum. Shelter is made according to the usual principle with the obligatory timely removal of condensate and ventilation. After the appearance of signs of rooting, they are transplanted to a permanent place with the capture of part of the moss or earthen clod.
The pot for growing streptocarpus must be plastic, clay containers make it difficult to freely extract the roots due to the fact that the smallest and thinnest of them cling to the walls.
Despite the fact that the plant is a perennial, for active flowering and maintaining a decorative appearance, it needs regular transplantation and rejuvenation. If this is not done, it will lose its appearance after 3 years. A high-quality drainage 1-2 cm high is arranged at the bottom of the container. The substrate is selected light, breathable and nutritious. Of the ready-made compositions, soil mixtures intended for growing violets or saintpaulias are ideal.
When self-assembling, it is recommended to include the following components:
- light riding peat;
- vermiculite and / or perlite;
- crushed sphagnum;
- leaf soil.
If we compare streptocarpus with a domestic violet that is similar in appearance, then caring for it will be easier, so that busy flower growers who are not able to pay much attention to the flower can safely take up cultivation.
The light requirements of the plant are standard – there should be a lot of it, but at lunchtime, especially in the summer heat, it should not be direct. Western and eastern windows will be an excellent placement option. The north window, unfortunately, will not give enough light for full growth and development.
Unlike other indoor crops that require a difference between summer and winter temperatures, false violet loves year-round warmth and feels great at temperatures above +20 C. The critically acceptable winter value is +13 … +15 C, with a colder content it will die .
Watering and humidity
The plant loves high humidity, but can adapt to fairly dry air. The optimal content is at 50-70%. It is impossible to put a pot near heating appliances. Spraying on the leaf and buds is also not recommended, water drops greatly spoil the appearance and can cause mold.
Regarding irrigation, the culture prefers moderate moisture, it is better to slightly underfill than overfill, soil flooding is unacceptable. Watering should be done in a pan or along the edge of the pot, avoiding leaves and flowers. Irrigation should be done with warm soft water.
To ensure long and voluminous flowering, streptocarpus need additional nutrition. Fertilizers should be applied throughout the entire period from the beginning of the formation of buds until the last of them wither. The average frequency is once a week or two. Mineral complexes designed specifically for violets or simply for flowering home crops are well suited. However, the dose recommended by the manufacturer should be reduced by about a third.
Types and varieties of streptocarpus with a photo
Found in nature and registered more than 130 varieties of this culture. Not all of them are suitable for growing at home and not all of them have high decorative properties. Based on the basic species, many spectacular varieties and hybrids have been developed with a huge variety of shapes and colors. Consider the most popular and interesting of them.
The predominant habitats of this species are mountain slopes and rocky embankments near sea coasts, where the lack of moisture in the soil is compensated by high air humidity. Endurance in relation to the bright sun and lack of water is high. Due to the lack of a deep fertile layer, the rhizome is a lignified gnarled outgrowth from which leaves grow. Unlike other varieties, they are quite small. They have a rare pubescence and an oval shape. Peduncles bare, erect, painted lilac-green. Each blooms a small number of light purple buds.
The second name is Rex. The leaves are relatively wide and long, with short pubescence. The flowers are large, variegated lilac-violet, pink or blue in color, the pattern repeats the internal vascular skeleton of the petal. It belongs to the forest representatives of the genus, prefers partial shade to direct light, and is more demanding of moisture than other species.
It has an unusual exotic shape and, unlike other representatives, a one-year life cycle. Each specimen grows one single leaf, reaching a length of up to 90 cm. Its outer side is painted in rich green color with a lighter vein pattern, and the reverse side is tinted in red-lilac tones. At the end of spring, a single tall peduncle is thrown out from the base of the leaf, at the top of which 15-20 lilac tubular inflorescences bloom. After the fruits set and ripen in their place, the mother plant ends its life span and dies.
Under this name, the whole set of decorative artificially bred varietal rulers and hybrids is combined.
The most interesting for the home collection:
- “Mozart” – pronounced wrinkling of leaf plates with dense pubescence. The buds are large, differently colored, up to 11 cm in diameter of the open corolla. The color of the upper petals is blue, the lower ones are yellow-cream, patterned.
- ds 1290 is a semi-double hybrid that combines white upper petals with a beautiful purple and yellow mesh pattern on the lower ones.
- ‘Listy’ is another semi-double variety with large flowers painted in pink and orange.
- “Crystal Lace” – not very large, 5-7 cm, double flowers, on a snow-white background of which an openwork purple pattern is poured.
- “Drako” – the variety is characterized by a rugged shape of petals that have a pale pink color with a mesh in yellow and burgundy tones.
- “Vyshyvanka” – the background of the inflorescences is white, the mesh pattern of the lower half of the corolla is a dense crimson mesh.
- “WOW” – has a contrasting two-tone palette that combines crimson red and yellow.
- “Map of Tjuta” – inflorescences of a blood-red tone are decorated with bright yellow spots.
- “Avalanche” – differs in a denser arrangement of snow-white double flowers than in other varietal varieties.
Diseases and pests
The immunity of streptocarpus to diseases and pests is estimated to be slightly below average, the plant is quite often affected by fungal and bacterial infections, especially if the rhizome content is excessively wet and other imbalances between room temperature, watering and air humidity. Damaged parts are subject to immediate destruction, after which the flower is treated with a fungicide solution.
For small lesions, a soapy solution is sufficient, but it should be remembered that the decorative effect of the aerial part will suffer greatly from this.
Insects are more likely to infect specimens kept in overdried rooms. This violates the timing of budding, can lead to the fall of unblown inflorescences, and ultimately to the death of the entire plant. Processing with the use of insecticides must be carried out repeatedly in several stages with the introduction of the agent into the substrate. In advanced cases, a complete replacement of the soil with sanitization of the open root system is required.