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Streptocarpus: characteristics, care and curiosities

In the continuous search for something new, many growers and garden lovers document themselves on some types of plants with a particular appearance and with particular structural characteristics. Among the many specimens proposed by mother nature, it is worth dwelling on Streptocarpus, a type of plant that in many respects is similar to the mythical African violet.

 

Among the flowers that grow luxuriantly and not easy to find from the point of view of beauty, it is worth mentioning the species Streptocarpus. The latter is in fact a plant belonging to the Gesneriaceae family, native to Africa and Madagascar, although some specimens grow well in Asia. That said, it should also be added that Streptocarpus flowers can be found in red (a relatively recent addition to the hybridizers), blue, purple, yellow, white and orange. They are also typically borne on vertical stems, hovering over the plant's flat, textured leaves, and appear single-flowered per stem or multiple.

Cultivation

To cultivate the Streptocarpus in the best way and admire its varied range of colors it is necessary to optimize some aspects. In the first place it must be said that this specimen grows very well on rocky slopes, a little shaded or on the banks of rivers, even if it sometimes propagates on fallen tree trunks or even between the joints of the rocks. Growing Streptocarpus on a window sill is however possible as long as there is enough natural light or fluorescent tubes are set up. Secondly, it must be considered that the soil should be loose, well drained and rich in humus. For this reason, a liquid fertilizer that is generally used to fertilize the African violet is a good option to optimize the growth of the plant and its flowering, while ensuring the latter is constant and strong. On the sidelines it should also be added that the Streptocarpus can be propagated both by seed and by cutting. In the first case, the seeds should be distributed over a sterile mixture and in a well-lit and warm area. In the second case, however, the procedure is similar to the one used for all types of plants.

Diseases and treatments

Some plant species complain of annual death of leaves turning brown from tip to middle. All this is therefore part of the norm, but in the case of Streptocarpus specimens to cultivate them healthier and more flowery they must be treated regularly by treating them with specific pesticides for cochineals which represent the only insects that can attack the plant in a violent way. However, other diseases such as fungal ones must be avoided, and therefore it is always advisable to guarantee the plant regular watering to minimize the accumulation of water that favors the proliferation of spores.


Curiosity

The basic Streptocarpus is a plant specimen that has violet-colored flowers and it is for this reason that it is compared to the African violet. However, thanks to the skill of expert gardeners, it is possible to purchase some very interesting species precisely in relation to the color of the flowers; in fact, there are hybrids that have an intense red or a delicate pastel pink.

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