Variegated Saintpaulia - exotic among violets
Saintpolis return to fashion and turn around the idea of cute blooming violet babies who willingly live on any windowsill. Trends in the "market" of uzambar violets indicate a rapid increase in interest in plants with unusual leaves. More and more admiring glances are attracted not by unusual colorings of flowers, but by exotic motley colors of leaves. Variegated senpolias are almost no different in cultivation from all the others. But the bright flashes of light spots on the leaves completely transform their appearance.
What are the leaves of the senpolia?
Violets are often called indoor plants, the most diverse in terms of flowering and the most boring - in terms of greenery. All senpolis are for some reason perceived as dark-leafed, velvet-leafed, neatly rosette crumbs. But if you look closely not only at flowering, but also at greenery, it is obvious that each variety has really special leaves.
More rounded or oval, almost heart-shaped or narrow, with a wide base or narrow petiole, raised or almost lying, small, medium and large, with varying degrees of dentation, different shades of green color and the effect of their fading ...
All senpolis are individual and unique. But “special leaves” in violets usually mean either plants with ruffles along the edge (beautiful wavy varieties) or new-fashioned variegated breeding novelties.
Unlike extravagant collection leaf violets, nondescriptly blooming and grown only for leaves, variegated violets are full-fledged and familiar senpolia, in which variegated colors of leaves are added to the "option" of luxurious flowering.
Variegation of leaves - a unique mutation of senpolia
Variegation is an atypical phenomenon for uzambar violets, but it is also not quite an achievement of science. These are natural genetic mutations that reduce the amount of chlorophyll in the cells of individual leaf sections and actually violate the metabolic changes typical of senpolia.
They opened the possibility of breeding variegated varieties thanks to an amazing random mutation in one of the largest violet collections in the USA. Natural mutation today remains the main tool for obtaining these unique multi-colored violets. And selection, which strengthens and enhances the variegation of the offspring, allows you to get different variations of colorful patterns.
The variegated nature of the senpolis - “size” is not constant. The best variegated varieties in other conditions can completely lose light and color areas, or vice versa, increase their area. Dependence on the quality of care and stability of conditions are the factors that determine the manifestation of this mutation on the leaves of the plant.
The variegated senpolia is attractive in that, unlike many other plants, each mutation is absolutely unique. In fact, variegation is exclusive on every plant. Their leaves can be painted both from the edges and from the petioles, change patterns throughout the aging process, offer different variations of the patterns on each sheet and not be repeated exactly once.
Variegated Violet Groups
Depending on how patterns appear not only on individual leaves, but also on the entire outlet, all variegated senpolia are divided into several groups:
- Mosaic varieties (trade name - Lilian jared), in which variegation appears in the center or at the base of the sheet plates in the form of alternating spots resembling mosaics or marble ornaments.
- Bordered varieties (trade name - Tommie lou) - neat and beautiful senpolias, on the leaves of which appear along the edges and as if light rims blur, without creating a strict effect.
- Crown varieties (trade name - Champion), in which variegation decreases from the center of the rosette to its edges, sometimes almost disappearing on the lowest leaves and always manifests itself differently on each leaf - from small specks of dust-like specks to large spots, from rare individual points to evenly covering the entire leaf plate, or covering it completely.
- Chimeric mutations - the manifestation on the leaves of large spots of a different shade of green, usually in the center of the leaf.
- Spontaneous mutationsoccurring in varieties without previously characteristic variegation.
Mutations during vegetative propagation are preserved completely in motley violets, but with one secret: the cleaner the sheet is used for cuttings, the stronger the patterns on the offspring and the stronger the plants themselves.
The most striking variegation of the offspring can be observed if you use non-variegated leaves from the second row in the outlet - from the bottom, of course.
But new bushes are not easy to get: because of mutations, small, almost white rosettes that form on old leaves when rooted become much more fragile and weak than on ordinary senpolia. It is possible to separate them from the handle only when they are well grown, dark green colors will appear on young outlets.
"Trivia" in care, which are important for variegated violets
Variegation means not only decorative changes: the area capable of complete photosynthesis also decreases on the leaves of violets. And the larger the surface covered with variegated areas, the more strongly the plant depends on the quality of lighting and care.
In general, the cultivation of variegated violets is no different from the cultivation of all other senpolia. But there are a few points that you need to pay attention to if you want to keep plants healthy and ... variegated. After all, this mutation in an inappropriate environment disappears very quickly.
The first thing to do to guarantee colorful patterns is to clarify all the information about the plant upon purchase. At home for variegated senpolias, it is necessary to recreate the same conditions in which they grew earlier - otherwise the patterns may disappear. The rest is enough to take care of a few nuances:
- Lighting for the plant is critical. Variegated violets will not just as easily adapt to change. Only good, diffused bright lighting with a 12-hour daylight guarantees the full manifestation of patterns on the leaves of variegated varieties.
- The temperature requirements for variegated violets vary only in one parameter - the maximum indicators. Senpolias with variegated leaves do not like heat and will prefer to be indoors with a temperature of no higher than 21 degrees.
- It is worth paying attention to one more trifle - water quality. Variegated crumbs do not forgive misses and waterings with soft water.
- When choosing top dressings, it is worth using not any fertilizers for violets, but only those in which the nitrogen content is lowered in comparison with potassium and phosphorus.
The best variegated violets
The first variegated variety from among the “mutants” appeared only in 1959, two years after the discovery of the mutation and verification of its resistance in the offspring. For a long time, the white border on the leaves was considered something exceptional and for almost half a century on the shelves you could meet only the very first variegated variety, which gave the name to all bordered varieties - «Tommy Lou (‘Tommie Lou ’).
But in the new millennium, the trends quickly changed, and the fashion for everything exotic and unusual also affected the beautiful crumbs of the senpole. Dozens of interesting variegated varieties have been actively bred both here and in Europe and overseas.
The best of the varieties of violets with variegation are rightly considered:
- crown variegated variety "Private Dancer" (‘Private Dancer’) with grayish leaves covered with light pink spots, almost completely covering the center of the rosette and purple, with dense lilac fringed flowers;
- crown grade ‘Rob’s Scrumptious’ with a watercolor transition of pink to cream and medium green colors on the leaves and candy pink flowers with white borders;
- mosaic grade ‘Crabapple’ - Slow-growing, with five to six shades of green flowing from the brown edge to the whitish center of the leaves and contrasting with dazzling bright pink double flowers;
- mosaic grade ‘Witch Doctor’ with huge cloves along the edge of dark green leaves, decorated with cream ornaments and fuchsia pink double flowers;
- bordered variety The Allamo Gold Rush (‘Alamo Gold Fever’) with sprawling dashes wavy light edges, white on old sheets and unevenly reddening in the center of the outlet, merging with cream flowers;
- bordered variety ‘Powwow’ with dark scarlet simple flowers and even oval emerald leaves decorated with a powdered border, thicker at the base of the leaf, thin on old leaves and capturing almost the entire leaf plate except for the “feather” on the rest;
- bordered variety ‘Buckeye Boysenberry’ - lilac large-flowered, with wavy petals variety, the leaves of which are decorated with speckled light pink border;
- one of the darkest varieties ‘Rob’s Outer Orbit’ with a white-cream “dash” border, especially pronounced on young leaves and ultramarine flowers, occasionally covered with light pink spots;
- chimeric variety Happy Penny (‘Lucky Penny ’) with olive-green spots-feathers on whitish-light leaves and unique faded light lilac flowers that retain dark purple erosions in the center of the petals.
Many plants that can be purchased at exhibitions remain nameless, if not random mutations. But from this their beauty does not decrease at all.