How to grow the Saintpaulia
Saintpaulia is a plant belonging to a genus of plants belonging to the Gesneriaceae family. These are plants with African origins whose genus takes its name from the baron Walter Von Saint Paul-Illaire who, in 1892, discovered the best-known species: the Saintpaulia ionantha, from the mountains of the Usambara in Tanzania.
Also known with the name of African violet, although systematically it is far from the genus of the Viola, due to the similarity of the plant.
In this sheet we will explain how to cultivate the Saintpaulia and the most useful devices. However, it is a species that does not have particular cultivation requirements and produces abundant and lasting blooms even in the apartment; which has led to its considerable diffusion and commercialization. In this regard it should be remembered that there are many hybrids on the market with flowers of various colors including white, pink, purple and blue.
To recognize the Saintpaulia we immediately say that it is plants with horizontal growth and that they form a rosette of leaves that continues to develop from the center. The leaves, covered with a fine velvety downy, are dark green on the upper page and pink on the bottom page, round or slightly jagged.
It is endowed with bipara top inflorescences that develop all year round in the center of the rosette of leaves; they are small delicate flowers, with five colored petals with different colored and intense anthers that stand out in the middle, which are quickly replaced with the new ones that bloom in succession.
For the cultivation of the Saintpaulia in the apartment you have to choose a well-lit area without direct sunlight that would burn the leaves. the cultivation substrate must be kept rather dry and, for this reason, between one watering and the other one it is necessary to wait for it to dry on the surface; in this sense a sub-irrigation technique can be used by filling the saucer with a finger of water, with a low salt content, waiting for about ten minutes and then eliminating the excess water. During the irrigations it is always necessary to avoid wetting leaves and flowers that can stain and rot.
The Saintpaulia can be reproduced by foliar cutting, even in the apartment, which allows you to buy only one seedling, or a few if you want to have more colors of flowers, and reproduce it endlessly.
Reproduction is carried out starting from the picking of a healthy leaf, cutting the petiole at the base and making it root in water or, also, in a very poor substrate (75% of sand and 25% of peat). In order to create the best conditions of humidity during this phase of reproduction, it will be possible to reduce excessive evaporation by means of a transparent plastic bag which we will place (like a small greenhouse) to protect the leaf or cuttings.
Once the leaf has taken root (which happens in about a month) this will be a new seedling that will be gently transplanted into a substratum richer than the previous (50% of sand and 50% of peat), fertilized with fertilizers liquids for houseplants and which will flourish, reached maturity, within approximately eight months.
To remove any dust that may be deposited on the leaves you can use a soft dry brush, which will be used gently.