The beloved senpolias have not only a special appearance, but also a very specific character. Cultivation of this plant bears little resemblance to the classic care of indoor crops. And even relatives of the Uzambarian violets from among the Gesneria require a slightly different approach. Watering is often called the most "strange" point of care for violets, which prefer non-standard watering to the classic method. But you will have to change the approach in the feeding too. The rapid growth of rosettes and abundant flowering leads to the fact that all violets are extremely dependent on the frequency of water treatments and fertilizer composition. And mistakes with them are absolutely unforgivable.
Performities for senpillas
Uzambarian violets, Or senpolias are compact plants, amazingly decorative, with equally beautiful rosettes of velvety, pleasant to the touch leaves and inimitable blooms. Collected in shields, glistening-pearlescent, simple, semi-major or macrose flowers create a unique "second tier" above the rosettes.
Senpollias can be both miniature, and medium, and relatively large, neat and almost loose, austere and extravagant. Neither in color, nor in the shape of leaves, nor in the peculiarities of the structure of the flower, the varieties of this plant, numbering in the hundreds, there are no limits. But in spite of all their diversity, senpolias are always senpolias.
The requirements for soil, transplanting, lighting, temperature, care are always the same in them. And plants can not be called super demanding or not at all capricious: Uzambarian violets must be perceived not as complicated but as special plants requiring non-standard approach.
It's not by chance that for all senpollias care is more important than cultivation conditions: If they can adapt to differences in light and even temperature, then improper care for these plants is almost always extremely traumatic. At best, senpolias lose their decorativeness, at worst they die. And beware of any extremes - and not enough, and too zealous and careless care. Violets are demanding equally to two main "items" in the program of regular care - watering and nutrition.
The senpole counts among indoor plants very dependent on the composition of fertilizers and the schedule of their application. The increased dependence on the fertilization schedule of favorite violets is influenced by two factors - the extended period of vegetation and rapid depletion of the substrate.
The extended period of vegetation, often the complete absence of the dormancy period and flowering for almost the whole year. Senopolias are not only plants that bloom profusely, but also that have almost no dormancy period. Many colorful and beloved varieties, if properly cared for, bloom for almost 10-11 months, and, unlike many crops for which fertilizers are only applied in spring and summer, they also remain in need of fertilizer almost all year round. Senpollias are usually grown in small containers and even for their fairly compact root system, the amount of soil to provide all the nutrients the plant needs is not enough. Plants will not bloom until the thin roots fill the whole clump of soil. Therefore, it does not make sense to increase the volume of containers for them. As well as to strongly increase the frequency of transplants: unlike many indoor crops, senpolias, and so, most often, transplant annually. At the most, once every 6 months, if the roots have no room for development at all. Even with this cultivation strategy the need for nutrition will be high. The supply of food in the substratum of a standard pot for senpillia usually suffices only for 2 months.
When to feed the violets?
While the common indoor cultivars are being fertilized mainly in spring and summer, making a break in their nutrition for about half a year, the violets are being fertilized as much as they need - starting from the transplanting procedure with a little "adaptation" period till the blossoming period.
Fertilizing of senpils is not only influenced by their development phase. How often and how much fertilizer is applied to these indoor babies should depend on several other factors:
- air temperature (fertilizing for senpollias should be stopped when the air temperature drops to 16-17 degrees and below, because the development of the plant and the processes of absorption of macro- and microelements from the substrate in the cold completely stop);
- correspondence of the size and shape of the container to the plant itself;
- quality and regularity of watering.
For practically all violets, except those in which growth has apparently stopped, fertilization should be carried out all year round, varying the concentration during periods of seasonal reduction of light and drop in temperature.
Feeding Schemes for Senpillas
Classic feeding scheme for senpillas with continuous or nearly continuous flowering:
- In March, after transplanting, fertilize senpollies once every 2 weeks;
- In April, fertilize with a frequency of once every 10 days;
- In May, maintain the frequency of fertilization once every 9-10 days;
- For the summer, fertilize senpollies weekly;
- In September the frequency of nutrition reduces to 1 time in 10 days;
- In October the nutrition is carried out 2-3 times a month or keep the frequency once in 10 days;
- In November the nutrition is carried out once in 2 weeks;
- From December and till the transplantation in the end of February or March for senpillias spend 1 nutrition once a month.
There are simpler strategies for feeding violets:
- Classic feeding. Fertilizers can be applied from the third week after transplanting until flowering is complete at the same frequency 2 times per month, with a break between after flowering and before transplanting.
- Constant Fertilizers. Low concentrated solutions of fertilizers are applied constantly, carrying out feeding together with watering (actually, instead of it). The dosage is then reduced to 6-8 times the normal dosage. Usually this strategy is used for the wick method of watering and feeding.
If senpollias bloom early or not bloom at all, if their conditions differ from optimal and recommended, the frequency of feeding should be changed downwards. If plants are on the extra light, for them leave the frequency of feeding of summer or early fall, prolonging the period of more active care.
Feeding features after transplanting
You should not start fertilizing violets immediately after transplanting. Of course, you must remember that in 2 months after transplanting the stock of nutrients necessary for normal development of the senpolla is depleted almost completely. But the lack of macro-and micronutrients plants begin to experience much earlier, so fertilization in the care of violets introduce a few weeks after transplanting. But not before the plant has adapted and started to grow. Usually the violets can be given food 2-4 weeks after the change of soil and containers, but there are exceptions to this rule.
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As in any other point of care for Uzambarian violets, you should always be guided by the condition of the plant itself and how it adapts in the new container and soil. If the violets are weakened, if they don't show signs of taking root, if they were transplanted suddenly, if the plant is in a poor condition or if they were watered incorrectly, and in all cases where pests or diseases are suspected, no additional fertilizing is necessary until the plant is completely recovered.
If problems with senpolias occur during the active growth phase, fertilizing should definitely be stopped until the threat to the plant itself disappears and it begins to grow actively again.
Types of complex mineral fertilizers for senpolias
Uzambarian violets are one of the most common indoor plants. And it will not be difficult to find special fertilizers for them, intended for senpolias or at least Gesneria. Every manufacturer offers them in their product range.
Fertilizers with a narrow specialisation should always be selected for senpillias. Even preparations for beautifully flowering houseplants have a different ratio of macro- and micronutrients than ideal for this unusual plant.
Fertilizers for variegated or unusually colored violets must be chosen more strictly: even among special fertilizers for senpillas it is worth choosing preparations with reduced nitrogen content for manifestation of bright patterns and motley contrasts on the leaves.
With the type and form of fertilizer for senpillas determine not so easy. Fertilizers for Uzambarian violets come in 3 types:
- long-acting fertilizers in the form of granules or sticks.
If possible, for senpollias you should always choose liquid fertilizers. The matter is not only in convenience, ease of dosage, but also in much greater safety: fertilizers are distributed evenly when watering, there is less risk of burns arising from the fact that in some parts of the substrate fertilizers accumulate in greater quantity.
Dry fertilizers also dissolve in water, but it will take more time to create "working" solutions. Not all fertilizers will dissolve equally, so it is difficult to talk about the same uniform composition of fertilizer and their distribution in water. But if you prepare working compositions in advance, mix them thoroughly before watering, follow the general rules, you can achieve the same efficiency as when using liquid fertilizers.
Preparations with a fine, powder-like, uniform texture will suit senpolias much better, because they dissolve more evenly.
Use any fertilizers of prolonged action for violets undesirable. Both pellets mixed with the substrate and sticks that are buried in the soil during transplanting simplify care, but for such sensitive and delicate plants they can be destructive. Even if you choose the safest preparations and use them properly the nutrients will penetrate into the soil unevenly, some areas with high concentration of macro- and microelements will lead to partial or complete damage of roots.
Fertilizing with organics for senpillas
Even though Uzambarian violets react positively to organic fertilizers, you cannot grow senpillas solely on them. It is acceptable for senpolias to alternate between mineral and organic fertilizers, but the best care strategy is to replace regular fertilizers with organic ones 2-4 times per season.
Fertilizers themselves need to choose carefully.
- dry cow manure (manure, poultry manure);
- dry biohumus;
- microbiological (EM) preparations;
- bought organic fertilizers (humisol and others.
Non-concentrated fertilizers are always better
The correct choice of fertilizer concentration is the key factor in the care of any senpolias. The slightest exceeding of the allowable dosages and root contact with concentrated preparations causes burns and serious root damage. It is better to feed senpollias with non-concentrated fertilizers than to risk increasing the dosage.
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The standard for any senpolias is the dosage of complex mineral fertilizers specially designed for the plant, containing both macro- and micronutrients:
- 1 g fertilizer diluted in 1 L of good quality water for watering at 15 to 20 day intervals (or the full dose specified by the manufacturer);
- 1 g per 2 L of water for watering at 7-10 day intervals (or half the recommended portion);
- 1 g per 3 L of water for fertilizing with frequency of 5-6 days (or 3 times reduced recommended portion);
- 1 g per 6-8 L at constant fertilizing with watering (decrease dosage by 5-8 times).
For organic fertilizers the dosage must be determined by the type of fertilizer and its characteristics. Purchased preparations, especially special fertilizers for senpolias, use according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Microbial preparations are diluted at a concentration of 50 ml per 10 liters of water. Dry humus is used in the form of mulch on the soil, spreading evenly on the surface about 2 tablespoons per plant, followed by abundant watering.
Cattle manure, dung, poultry manure is first diluted to a concentrate (200 g of dry manure or 50 g of poultry manure per 10 liters of water with the addition of 1 g of copper sulfate), incubate the fertilizer for 1 month and then use 100 g per 3 liters of water. © Merike Linnamägi
Fertilizing rules for violets
Regularity and systematicity
Fertilizing senpollas is important - systematically, regularly, with equal or evenly variable intervals between treatments. Even if the plant is in a depressed condition or there are some difficulties with its flowering, it is better to give feeding regularly, but regulate its composition, concentration, time rather than refuse feeding.
Only if we are talking about sick and unrooted plants or violets suffering from excessive nutrients, it is worth stopping feeding at all.
Consistency with watering
The method of fertilizing should coincide with the usual method of watering - wick, dip or classic tidy top watering.
Fertilizing only on wet substrate
Although violet fertilizers are usually applied with water for watering, to fertilize on dry substrate is a big mistake. Like many plants which are sensitive to quick changes of conditions and are prone to root scorch, Uzambarian violets require the most careful possible approach to the fertilizing procedure and to apply fertilizer in previously moist or constantly humid soil. To avoid the risk of root scorch or any root damage due to carelessness, water violets first with very little water, restoring the usual stable humidity to the plant, then apply fertilizer. To avoid overwatering and overwatering the soil, it's convenient to fertilize 1 day after watering.
The best fertilizers are evening
All violets, even those grown in soft and diffuse light, respond better to fertilizers if they are done in the evening.
Optimal temperature of solutions
The temperature of fertilizer solutions for senpils is better controlled. Watering with cold water is contraindicated for Uzambarian violets, and if fertilizer is added to the water, you should make sure that its temperature is equal to or 1-2 degrees above the temperature of the substrate and room air. Do not feed violets with too warm solutions either: increased temperature is usually also associated with an increased risk of root burns.
Vine foliar feeding for violets
Vine foliar feeding can be done only with sufficient experience and if you have "mist" sprayers. They are especially good for ornamental-leaved varieties. But you must be very careful with such applications, avoiding too wet leaves and applying them only to healthy, well-groomed and clean plants. The foliar feedings are replaced by regular feedings not more often than 3-4 times during the spring and summer.
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