The violet can be seen on almost any windowsill. The tenderness of the pubescent leaves and the beauty of the flowers equally delight beginners and collectors. Senpollias do not require strictly specific conditions of keeping, but in gratitude for proper care they are always ready to reward the owner with cap blossoms and ideal shape of the rosette.
As a houseplant violet became known only in the last century, but to date, the number of varieties of this flower crossed the mark of 32 thousand.
In nature, senpolias grow in the mountainous regions of Kenya and Tanzania, particularly in the Uluguri and Usambara Mountains (Uzambara), which gave the plant the name “Uzambarian violet”. The vast majority of Senpolia species are found in Tanzania, with only one species, Senpolia teitensis, found in Kenya.
In terms of habitat, senpolias are more likely to grow in areas near waterfalls and rivers – in water dust and fog.
History of discovery
Baron Walter von Saint-Paul, the military commandant of the Ouzambara district, which belonged to the Gemean colony, is considered to be the discoverer of the violet. In 1892, the Baron noticed the plant during a walk. He sent the collected seeds to his father, Ulrich von Saint-Paul, who was president of the dendrological society in Germany. He, in turn, gave the seeds to the botanist Hermann Wendland, a member of this society, who grew the first senpollias from seed in 1893.
The resulting plants were described as Saintpaulia Ionanta, the first species in the classification of the new genus, named after father and son Saint-Paul The same year the Uzambarian violet was first shown at the International Flower Show in Ghent, after which the firm of E. Bernari acquired the right to commercial breeding.
In the USA, the first violets appeared in 1927, where they quickly became a popular houseplant. And by 1949, breeders had already released 100 varieties. Today there are more than 32 thousand varieties of senpillas, 2 thousand of them – domestic.
For the senpolia, it is preferable to place it on western or eastern windows. For symmetric formation of the rosette it is recommended to turn the pot periodically. The optimum keeping temperature is 20-22°C, for continuous flowering artificial light with fluorescent lamps is acceptable.
Senpollias are sensitive to drafts and sudden changes in temperature. Under the influence of direct sunlight on the leaves can appear burns, so you should be especially careful in spring and on sunny days in summer, shading plants that stand on a window sill. However, even in the shadow of the senpolias will not be able to develop fully. Suitable lighting for violets is bright but diffused.Soil
An important requirement for the soil is its air permeability. The violation of air exchange leads to rotting of the roots, so the soil mixture is composed of loosening agents – perlite, vermiculite, coarse river sand and chopped sphagnum.
Soil for violets can be made your own, mixing leaf, sod, coniferous and peat components in a ratio of 3:2:1:1, or buy ready-made soil for senpillas in the store.Watering
Moisture must always be available to the violet roots, but water stagnation in the pot is unacceptable. Watering should be done as the root ball dries out, along the edge of the pot, avoiding water on the leaves. Water should be at room temperature, watering with cold water is destructive to the senpolia.
Such requirements are difficult for someone whose life involves frequent travel. A wick watering method can replace daily watering of violets.
During the growing and flowering periods, it is recommended to apply a complex mineral fertilizer about once every 2 weeks.
The natural habitat of violets is areas with high humidity. Under room conditions, it should not be less than 50%. To increase the humidity, you can place the pot with the plant in a tray with damp pebbles or place this tray next to it.
Spraying is not recommended. It is only allowed during the flowering period, and the water should be sprayed very finely.
As the length of the daylight hours decreases, the metabolism of the plant slows down. Keep the same rate of growth and development during winter can be achieved by artificial light, extending the daylight hours to 11-13 hours. Watering in the winter months is slightly reduced. It’s important to remember about the temperature: If the thermometer has dropped below 15 °C, extra light will not change the situation and your violet will not bloom anyway.
Vegetative propagation of senpollias is the easiest of all existing methods. Any part of the plant is suitable for this purpose: daughter rosettes, leaves, their fragments and even flower stalks. Of course, the better the condition of the chosen part, the more likely it is to root. If the plant has not yet formed daughter rosettes, it is best to choose a young leaf with a 2-3 cm long petiole. It can be placed in water until the formation of roots or immediately planted in loose soil, burying it 1-2 cm, then water and cover with a plastic bag. Do not forget to remove condensation from the bag as it forms and ventilate the greenhouse. The desired temperature to keep the seedlings is 20-22 °C. Within 1-2 months, the roots will appear and the babies will start to develop.
Seed propagation is of primary interest to breeders. It is not easy to pollinate a senpole, especially if the flowers are large. The flower stalks selected for crossing must be strong and developed. For the pollen is extremely important degree of maturity, the flower should be older, you can choose already flowered. The flower on which the fruit will ripen, on the other hand, should be selected from the recently bloomed ones. The anthers on it are removed to prevent self-pollination. Pollen transfer is conveniently done with a needle. The procedure is repeated for several days to make pollination most likely.
The seed pod takes 1-1.5 months to develop, reaching 1 cm in length. The ripening process takes at least 4 months, and can last as long as 8 months if pollinated in the fall. When the flower stalk begins to dry out, the capsule is separated and dried for 2 months, only after that can proceed to sowing. Violet seeds are sown on the surface of the earth in a greenhouse. The first shoots appear after a month. After the formation of the second pair of true leaves, plants can be planted in separate greenhouses.
Features of maintenance
The trunk of a senpole will eventually become woody, and the lower leaves will die off. Sometimes this also happens after the lower leaves have been cut off for propagation. The plant can easily be restored to its former appearance by simple repotting and submerging the stem if it is no longer than 2.5 cm. Otherwise, you can rejuvenate the senpilla by cutting off the top and rooting it.
Rejuvenation of violets is recommended every three years to renew the root system of the plant and ensure a long and abundant flowering. Rooting takes about a month, and many people are frightened slightly with, but do not worry about this: as soon as the senpolia forms a new root system, it will again delight you with its appearance.
Diseases and pests
Incorrect care often leads to stem rot, and also provokes the appearance of typical diseases of the genus – powdery mildew and gray rot. Among the pests of senpolia, the powdery worm and cyclamen mite are especially dangerous.