Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tropical gardening - African violet

African violet (aka saintpaulias) are container plants. I bought this flower plant as I was a bit down and need a little cheering from some beautiful plants. I do not know what it is and I am not sure it will survive in my hands (I am not very good with flower plants). But imagine my shock when I search through the internet to find so many clubs and societies for this plant. Wow!
Where to get
I bought it at supermarket. You can find them in nurseries. Or you can just pluck a leaf from your friend's and cultivate from there.
How to start
If you actually plucked it from your friend's, (1) Cut the stem at an angle, leaving a stem below the leaves that is 1 - 2 inches long. (2) Fill a small pot (that has drainage holes) with a very light potting mix. A mix of half vermiculite and half potting mix will work well. (3) Set the leaf into the prepared pot at an angle. Do not set it into the soil very deeply. Water and allow the excess moisture to drain away. (4) Place the potted leaf into a clear plastic bag (zip-loc bags work well) and seal it tightly closed. You may wish to blow into the bag as it is sealed to puff it up with air. (5) Set the leaf in a bright location out of direct sunlight. It normally takes about one month for the leaf to root and another month for the plantlets to appear. The clump of plants that develop will need to be divided when the leaves are about the size of a dime.
Take my advice, just buy them from somewhere.
How to maintain
The plant needs free-draining soil. Do not over water. And place the plant in the sun, as it needs them to reproduce and bloom.
Type african violets in the search engine and you will get loads of support.

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