General description of streptocarpus, tips for growing, recommendations for transplanting, fertilizing and reproduction, solving problems during cultivation, species. Streptocarpus belongs to the Gesneriaceae family, which also includes about 130 species of the same plants. The homeland of the flower is considered to be the territories located in the south of the African continent, on the island of Madagascar and Asian regions. It has been grown in indoor conditions for a century and a half. The plant got its name due to the shape of the fruits that ripen after flowering, they resemble an elongated twisted box, somewhat similar to a spiral. Hence the naming "streptocarpus" came from, by merging two Latin words: "streptos", which means twisted and "karpos" - fruit. In some places of its natural growth, it is often called "Cape primrose".
Although the plant has long been known to flower growers, it did not enjoy love, since some of its forms do not attract bell flowers. But due to the appearance of an increasing number of hybrids that have very beautiful shades of flowers, streptocarpus began to gain popularity and win back the affection of lovers of home flora from the Uzambara violet. Because, in comparison with the latter, if some errors were made in the cultivation of "Cape primrose", then they can be corrected without much damage to the plant.
The type of streptocarpus is very dependent on its variety - it can be plants, both with a herbal form of growth, and dwarf shrubs. Usually in botany it is customary to divide all varieties of this delicate flower into three groups:
- A fairly small number of representatives with a stem completely covered with leaf plates (for example, the Streptocarpus cauitscens variety).
- Plants are completely devoid of stems, the leaves of which, growing from one point, form a rosette with their outlines. They can take terrestrial or epiphytic (settling flowers on trunks or thick branches of trees) - examples are Streptocarpus Johannis, Streptocarpus Rexii, Streptocarpus Primulifolis and the like.
- Flowers that have only one leaf plate, which is covered with hairy pubescence. The leaf reaches a length of 60–90 cm, the peduncles of these varieties are very developed, and the flowers, which originate in the form of a tube, are distinguished by various colors.
To date, through painstaking robots of breeders, such types of "Cape primrose" have already been bred, which are very different in the shape of the buds and the palette of colors. There are the following varieties:
- Streptocarpus in which the pharynx and corolla are favorably distinguished by contrasting shades, for example Streptocarpus Megan and Streptocarpus Charlotte;
- plants whose flower petals are covered with a mesh pattern, fancy colors or completely spotted (Streptocarpus Bristol's Party Girl or Streptocarpus Crush, or Streptocarpus Leopard Skin;
- there are also varieties with semi-double or double flowers;
- streptocarpus with variegated coloring of petals of buds, miniature or semi-miniature growth.
Because of such an abundance of varieties of these delicate and unpretentious flowers, species of "Cape primrose" become collectible.
Common signs that are inherent in most streptocarpus:
- the presence of a fairly short stem;
- leaf rosette, which consists of elongated elliptical leaf plates reaching 25 cm in length and 7 cm in width;
- the color of the leaves is rich emerald (variegated forms also exist), they are pubescent with short hairs;
- the flower looks like an elongated bell, originating in the form of a tube, on the corolla dividing into 5 petals;
- the corolla of a flower of natural forms can reach a diameter of up to 2.5 cm, and in hybrid ones it can approach 8 cm;
- “Cape primrose” has ceased to require “winter hibernation”, to shed deciduous mass.
Tips for cultivating streptocarpus in a room environment
- Lighting. The plant likes to be in rooms with good lighting, it is recommended to put the pot on the windowsills of the windows of the eastern or western location, it is necessary to arrange shading on the south-facing windows, since ultraviolet light at noon can cause burns to the leaves, but the north side will require additional lighting with special phytolamps. Daylight hours for a flower should be at least 7-8 hours a day. Such a regime will contribute to the good development and flowering of the Cape Primrose.
- Content temperature. For streptocarpus, room temperatures are preferable, in summer they should not exceed 25 degrees, and in winter they should not fall below 15. If the thermometer begins to show a temperature above 25, then the sheet plates will begin to dry out.
- Indoor humiditythat contains the "Cape Primrose" should be hung, as this will ensure the normal growth of the flower. But it is necessary to spray streptocarpus extremely carefully, since the leaf plates cover the hairs, and the ingress of moisture can negatively affect their appearance. Therefore, it is recommended to spray water in the form of a fog, and preferably in the evening, so that the liquid droplets have time to dry out overnight and the sun's rays do not harm the flower. Indicators should vary between 50-70%. Water for such procedures is taken distilled or well-separated, previously brought to a boil. You can put mechanical humidifiers next to the pot, and another method to reduce the dryness of the air is to install the pot in a deep and wide container, on the bottom of which a layer of expanded clay or chopped sphagnum moss is poured and some water is poured. It is only important to ensure that the edge of the flowerpot does not come into contact with moisture. To do this, you can place the pot on a saucer.
- Watering. It is necessary to moisten the soil in such a way that its condition is only slightly moist. However, streptocarpus more persistently tolerates a small drying out of an earthen coma than the same violets. The main thing here is not to overflow the substrate. The best approach is the "bottom watering" method, which is called "watering-ebb". When a certain amount of water is poured into a container under the pot, and after 15–20 minutes, the remaining moisture is drained. In this case, waterlogging the soil is simply unrealistic, since the plant will only take in the amount of water that it needs. The flower signals very clearly that it is time to water it - its leaves begin to lower their "ears". As soon as the soil was moistened, the decorative beauty returned to the “Cape primrose”. The water should be soft at room temperature. It is recommended to take collected rainwater or receive snow.
- Fertilize streptocarpus it is necessary often, since during watering nutrients are washed out, and in addition to this, the plant produces buds for almost a whole year, it is natural that the soil is depleted very quickly. You will have to add a little complex mineral additives to the water to moisturize the soil. This operation should be performed once a week or at least once every 14 days. It is recommended to choose top dressing with such a ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as 6: 3: 6. And when the buds appear, it is worth taking fertilizers with a slightly higher phosphorus content, such as "Fialochka", "Phosphate". All types of dressings are recommended to be diluted by half of the norm specified by the manufacturer - in this case, over-fertilization of the flower will be excluded.In order for flowering to continue for a long period, it is recommended to immediately remove the peduncles on which the buds have already faded. It is necessary to cut at a height of 1, 0-1, 5 cm from the sheet plate. It is not worth simply plucking or pulling out the peduncles, since streptocarpus grows flower buds almost all year round, and an inaccurately removed peduncle can cause damage to the remaining buds - flowering, as a result, will decrease.
- Transplantation and choice of substrate. Since the plant grows very quickly, it is important for streptocarpus to frequently change the pot and soil. But they do this when the foliage becomes very abundant. The capacity should be selected 3-5 cm more than the previous one. The container should be wide and not deep, since the root shoots are located on the soil surface (sometimes the plant likes to settle in trees, so its roots are airy). Up to 2–3 cm of drainage should be poured onto the bottom without fail (fine expanded clay or pebbles are suitable). It is also necessary that small holes be made in the bottom of the flowerpot to drain excess moisture or absorb it when watering. After transplanting, it is necessary to very carefully water the streptocarpus, a stream of water is directed to the walls of the flowerpot so that the plant adapts after changing the soil and pot. When carrying out a transplant, it is recommended to divide the flower root.
The substrate for the "Cape primrose" is chosen to be porous, light and loose. You can purchase special mixtures for violets and add a little peat soil to the composition. You can make up the soil mixture yourself:
- leafy earth, humus soil, peat soil (all parts are equal), a little crushed charcoal is added to the composition;
- clay-sod soil, peat, leaf humus, coarse-grain sand (in proportions 2: 1: 1: 1);
- peat soil, perlite, vermiculite (all parts are equal);
- leafy soil, chopped sphagnum moss, peat soil, vermiculite (parts of the constituents in equal amounts).
Recommendations for reproduction of streptocarpus
There are several methods to get a new wonderful flowering bush: plant seeds, divide the rhizome, propagate with the help of leaves.
Two methods of propagation with a leaf plate:
- It is necessary to select a healthy leaf and use a sharp knife or scissors to divide it into 2-3 parts across, but so that the length of the parts is not less than 2 cm. For the fragments, you need to trim the base a little so that it resembles a petiole-leg. Plastic 200 gram cups are taken, a little fine expanded clay is poured and a soil mixture is placed on top, which includes: peat soil, chopped moss, perlite and vermiculite (in proportions 1: 0, 5: 0, 5: 0, 5). On the surface of the soil, it is necessary to make a depression with 1 cm and install a part of the leaf there. It is pressed a little so that the seedling does not dangle, and it is wrapped in a plastic bag to create the conditions for a mini-greenhouse. Approximately in a month, small children should appear, which are separated and planted in separate cups when 2-3 leaves appear.
- It is also necessary to take a leaf plate and cut it lengthwise, while removing the midrib. Further, all actions are similar to those described above, only this method does not guarantee 100% survival of the leaf seedling, but if it sprouts, then more children will develop.
When dividing the rhizome, it must be remembered that only very overgrown streptocarpus bushes are subjected to this procedure. It is necessary to carry out division in the spring, combining this with a flower transplant. Before the process, it is recommended to moisten the soil in the pot a little, then remove the “Cape primrose” from the flowerpot, shake off the rest of the soil and cut the rhizome into 2–4 parts with a sharpened knife. It is necessary to ensure that each of the parts has several points of growth. Places of cuts must be sprinkled with activated charcoal or charcoal crushed into powder - this will disinfect the cuts.Then it is necessary to plant parts of the streptocarpus in separate containers filled with drainage material on the bottom and a moistened substrate on top.
The method of propagation using seed is the most difficult and time-consuming method. It is recommended to pour peat-humus substrate into a transparent plastic container. It is moistened a little from a spray bottle and sprinkle seeds on the surface, dust it a little with the same soil. The container is closed with a lid or wrapped in a plastic bag (film) and placed in a warm, well-lit place, but so that the direct rays of the sun do not fall on it. After about 2 weeks, the first shoots will appear. As the seedlings grow, they will have to be dived twice - to be planted in small separate pots with the same substrate. Flowering in this case will occur after 8 months from planting streptocarpus seeds.
Potential Problems When Growing Cape Primrose
- Most often, streptocarpus is affected by a spider mite - it manifests itself as a thin cobweb on leaf plates; insecticides are used to combat.
- Thrips are characterized by spoilage of buds. A systemic insecticide is used, such as aktara or fitovir.
- Powdery mildew infection can also occur, while all parts of the flower will be covered with a whitish bloom. For treatment, treatment with topaz fungicide is carried out.
- Late blight is a frequent guest of streptocarpus - there are no means to save the flower yet.
- With high humidity in the room, "Cape primrose" can be affected by gray mold - when a gray bloom appears on all parts of the flower. At the same time, they are treated with a fungicide.
Of the problems of streptocarpus cultivation, there are:
- lack of watering is characterized by wilting of the leaves;
- if the leaves are completely wilted, and the soil in the pot is wet, then rotting of the root system is possible;
- leaves turn yellow if the plant is burnt by the sun's rays;
- the tops of the leaves have dried up - the air in the room is too dry or a small flowerpot;
- plaque on the leaves in the likeness of rust, speaks either of waterlogging of the soil or an excess of dressings;
- bloom does not occur when daylight hours are short.
- Streptocarpus royal (Streptocarpus rexii). The homeland of the plant is South African territories. A herbaceous flower with a very short stem. The leaf plates grow up to 22–25 cm in length and 5–7 cm in width. Their appearance is elongated-lanceolate, with a crenate-toothed edge, completely pubescent. Peduncles are pulled out from axillary leaf buds by 1-2 units. The height of the flower-bearing stem is up to 25 cm. The corolla is 5 cm long with a diameter of 2.5 cm. It begins in the form of a funnel, and to the apex it is divided into 5 lobes. The lobes are slightly rounded and uneven in size. Colored in a lavender shade, on the pharynx and tube with deep purple stripes.
- Streptocarpus wendlandii Sprenger. It grows in the South African province of Natal. Lives in wooded areas on leaf litter. It is distinguished by the presence of a single leaf, reaching 90 cm with a width of 60 cm. It is densely covered with hairs, on top of a leaf plate of a rich emerald hue, and on the back it is purple. The flowering stem is up to 70 cm. The flower is in blue-violet colors with a striped pattern of white shade on the pharynx.
- Streptocarpus stem-forming (Streptocarpus caulescens). The tropical rainforests in South Africa are home to the flower. Its height is 40–60 cm. Stems are erect, fully pubescent, with branching. Leaves grow opposite each other, rounded-elliptical with a solid edge, completely covered with hairs. The peduncle, branched in the shape of a fork, contains drooping flower buds, 1.5 cm long and a centimeter wide, double-lipped, very similar to Saintpaulia flowers. Corolla in light blue tones.
How to grow streptocarpus at home, see here: