Senpolias are so diverse that their collections can be added to and altered endlessly. Each exhibition turns into a real show of novelties. Vivid color combinations, unusual flower shapes or ruffles are favorite features of rare varieties. But their variations hardly surprise anyone really. If you want to look at the familiar Usambara violets from a new perspective, pay attention to a small but extravagant group of varieties - non-flowering senpolias. Call them so, of course, only conventionally. The outlandish structure and appearance of true exotics are combined in such varieties with some peculiarities of cultivation technique.
Description of non-flowering senpolias
Non-flowering, Or Green-flowering varieties of the familiar, beloved and classic indoor plant Saintpaulia (Saintpaulia) are so unusual that at first glance you cannot always recognize that they belong to the legendary Uzambarian violets. Only their leaves and the shape of their bushes make them suspect of being "related" to the Saintpauls, which is quickly confirmed on closer acquaintance.
Ordinary, unearthly, wrong, extravagant, innovative, underdeveloped - whatever you call the non-flowering varieties of Saintpaulia, this only confirms their status as the most unusual group of Uzambarian violet varieties. Non-flowering violets are all violets which, as a result of breeding, have lost the ability to flower typically, but not to form flower stalks and buds.
The non-blooming, or reduced, incomplete flowers of such violets form, together with the peduncles, a surprising effect of either green lace or whimsical avant-garde "bundles". The epithet "underdeveloped" shows their blossoming best of all, but it doesn't mean at all that such senpollias have little ornamental effect. They have the structure of inflorescences and originality of buds which come to the foreground and create surprising effects. The outlandish, as if tangled, bizarre mass of inflorescences of these very strange senpollias seems more like artificial decoration than flowering.
All non-flowering senpollias, besides the extravagant "under-flowers", can also boast of improved leaf characteristics, and many also of their unusual shape. Neat, strikingly symmetrical rosettes of some varieties and sprawling loose asymmetric bushes of others, invariable and unique density of the foliage, originality and richness of colors and so they stand out against any, even the most fashionable classic senpolias. They are compact, very neat, looking not like small bouquets, but like living sculptures.
Non-flowering varieties of senpolias are some of the most popular in floristics and interior design. Such senpolias belong to the categories of semi-mini and standard. With a height of up to 20 cm the main surprise of non-flowering senpolias is that, unlike the classic senpolias, they actively produce axillary shoots. Grooving helps to keep the plants compact.
But the same quality ensures the ease of propagation of such Usambar violets. Another nice thing about non-flowering senpolis is that they very rarely "bare their bottoms" and lift themselves out of the ground, and do not need to be replanted or replanted so often.
The controversial status of non-flowering senpolis is explained simply: such varieties cannot help evoking strong emotions. Despite the status of the senpolias themselves, non-flowering ones are rather exotics. They are the kind of room plants which one either really likes, or not like at all.
Before deciding to buy non-flowering senpolias, it is worth looking at them closely and weighing your emotions: indoor plants not only have to be "to your heart", but also fit in with your interior. Unlike all other senpolias, similar to living bouquets when properly cared for, non-flowering ones look good only in a modern setting. Their appearance will suit interiors with a focus on minimalism or high-tech, with white or black dominating the palette.
Best varieties of non-flowering senpolias
The number of varieties of these strange senpolias can be counted on the fingers of one hand. But this does not detract from their status as very prestigious for any collection and quite expensive specimens. Such violets cannot be found not only in any catalog, but even in any violet exhibition.
In our country, varieties with reduced flowering are considered to be very rare and only comparatively recently, about ten years ago, they have attracted attention. But their originality has quickly changed their status from "obscure" varieties to favorites of modern interiors.
The most prestigious non-flowering variety, which at the time aroused great surprise and won many prestigious awards, is Neverfloris ("Neverflowering", selection of the legendary Holtkamp center), considered to be the pioneer of non-flowering violets.
His appearance at the European shows in 2009 was a sensation. This avant-garde variety got its name because of the non-blooming buds in its inflorescences: while retaining the ability to form flower stalks and produce buds, this non-flowering senpole variety never reveals any flowers. The inflorescences branch so densely that they form bunches, and together with small, bud-like green buds form a solid, original lace, reminding one or the other of corals, the original cauliflower or bunches of mini artichokes. Everyone who comes across the flowering of this original violet has his own associations. The most amazing thing about this senpolia is the ability to maintain the decorative nature of these pseudo-flowers and the shape of the green lace wreath lying on the ornamental rosette for months. The new buds appear and develop unceasingly for several months, in general the flowering period of the senpoleia cultivar Neverfloris is rarely shorter than 6 months.
The dark, emerald black in the right light, velvet leaves, which you just want to stroke because of the unique "furry" edge, seem even more luxurious thanks to the light salalade and emerald inflorescences. The symmetry of the rosette of the variety is considered exemplary.
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With normal care, this non-flowering violet has leaves that are almost identical in size and color, even, classically shaped. The rosette will grow up to 30cm in diameter and the variety can fairly be called a standard violet. The
Neverflowering violet Neverfloris White
Bred from Neverfloris, the variety Neverfloris White (in some catalogs it appears as Neverfloris Variegatum) is different from the standard violet. The large, swollen buds look like they are about to bloom in creamy white flowers, creating a much more massive cushion over the less austere rosettes.
The leaves in this variety lose their neatness and the rosettes lose their symmetry, but an irregular, thin white border can be seen up close along the very edge of the leaf plates. The plant looks untidy, reveals its full beauty only in its proud solitude and, unlike the original senpolia variety Neverfloris, it looks unflattering next to other plants, not to mention a group of bushes of Uzambarian violets. © fialki-odessa
Non-flowering Violet "Botanica"
An almost identical legend is the senpolia variety "Botanica" (Botanica) - not quite a non-flowering variety, but one with reduced petals and modified, but blossoming flowers. Botanica" has no developing upper petals and the lower ones are almost invisible, due to which the exotic effect of half-opened or underdeveloped flowers is preserved. But, unlike the previous variety, 'Botanica' allows you to enjoy bright colors.
The stamens seem very large and surprise with the saturation of color. And the miniature, almost reduced violet-purple lower petals are decorated along the edge with a thin irregular yellow border. The flowers are said to always bloom exactly to the size of 1 cm. This violet belongs to the category of semi-mini, in diameter even at a very considerable age the rosette will not exceed 15 cm.
Leaves are classical, not large, muted green, very densely pubescent. The rosette is often not quite symmetrical, but very lush. The brown flower stalks branch sparsely, surprise with straight lines and further emphasize the unique "faces" of the flowers.
Waiting for the first flowers from plants takes two years, but every year "Botanica" blooms more and more abundantly. Its blossoming is irregular and somewhat sporadic; the flowers fade quite quickly after opening but even after that they hold on to their attractiveness and the new ones open with their strange brown "dried flowers" with colorful anthers on the stamens.
Violet non-flowering Senk's Anemone65>
The variety Senk's Anemone11> is one of the rarest violet cultivars to hunt. It is a very original miniature non-flowering variety with not so many buds but only a few very peculiarly shaped flowers with hardly noticeable petals which beauty can be appreciated only up close admiring the unique light-mauve tint and motley ripples. But such flowers bloom very rarely, and each one is literally a piece of jewelry. This plant is bred only because of the leaves. The thick, long leaf petioles accentuate their original shape, for which the variety was even nicknamed "Shrek's Ears" (Shrek's Ears) in catalogs. The leaves are rounded, curled into a funnel, with an unusual "yawn". The length of the petioles wiggle freakishly, allowing the violet to look even more unconventional.
Non-flowering Violet SK-Lunatic
The shape of the leaves is very similar to this rare senpolia, a no less rare variety, SK-Lunatic, which occurs at most shows as a no-name. The brown-purple-green, unusual, rounded-curled leaves on strikingly long, sinuous and fleshy petioles create an ethereal-looking bush. And the flower stalks appear to be "broken" at all - the pedicels are spread out in different directions, some of the flowers are reduced, and some fancifully open with long, bright purple petals and bright anthers.
Sometimes violets that do not flower or flower incompletely are the result of cultivation mistakes. Plants that do not develop full-fledged flowers are also counted as rejects in self-pollination of varieties and experiments with seed propagation. But if varieties and bushes that do not meet expectations still form inflorescences and buds, it is worth waiting and evaluating whether such a plant can be counted among the original non-flowering violets.
Cultivation conditions for green senpoles
As non-flowering senpoles are still senpoles, they are considered to be plants similar in required light and temperature to all other Uzambarian violets. But they have prepared also many surprises: Non-flowering senpollias are original even in their endurance and when buying them you should remember that unlike all other violets they will not be content with shade, but they will not require moderately cool temperatures either. But their peculiar leaves with their "improved" lower limbs can't show their beauty even in slight shade. Many flowering violets have less demanding requirements for light, but non-flowering ones need rather bright light. In winter, they respond very well to moving to a brighter location. These plants are not afraid of artificial extra light and can grow even in fully artificial light, suitable for florariums, flower showcases, other original landscaping options for modern interiors.
Combination with decorative illumination allows to put these violets even where there are no windows, turning them into one of the main interior decorations. Such varieties are less light-dependent and do not warp in the absence of regular turning in relation to the light source.
The main advantage of non-flowering senpolias is that they tolerate high air temperatures much better than their counterparts. While the decorativeness of standard varieties usually suffers in high air temperatures, in non-flowering varieties hot temperatures have almost no effect even on the leaves. Tolerance to air temperatures above 25 degrees is maintained both in summer and winter.
Such violets are more sensitive to hypothermia, do not tolerate sudden jumps in temperature. Fans of unusual plants, who decided to have this green wonder, will be pleasantly surprised by the fact that they much easier tolerate draughts, feeling comfortable even in large office rooms with active air currents and working air conditioners. They can be grown only indoors and preferably long adaptation to changing conditions by arranging "buffer zones" when transferring. Slow adaptation to the new "habitation" is the main secret of their decorativeness even after purchase. The quarantine period for these violets should be not less than 3 weeks. © Mariya
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Home care of non-flowering senpillas
Pouring and humidity should be standard for this violet, but fans of simpler care and those who don't want to "play" with drip or wick watering systems, Neverfloris and Co. will pleasantly surprise with a simple overhead watering. The main thing is to avoid pouring water on the leaves or at the base of the rosette.
For this violet use soft distilled water, watering with such a frequency that the soil remains slightly moist. Over-drying, as well as over-watering, senpollis equally dislike.
Higher air humidity for these violets is usually not necessary, but if close to heating devices better to take care of compensation too dry air - setting temporary humidifiers or pots of water.
Fertilizers for non-flowering senpollis held throughout the year, except for a period of one month after each transplant, with a frequency of 1 time in 4 weeks. For non-flowering senpolias, special fertilizers are still used - for violets or flowering plants. The absence of full-fledged flowers and the unusual appearance does not mean that the senpolias have passed into the category of ornamental-leaved plants.
The pruning and shaping of green senfolias, unlike common flowering plants, is done according to slightly different principles:
- The leaves are removed after damage or the beginning of wilting (those that affect the ornamental value of bushes), breaking off carefully, without waiting for complete yellowing or desiccation of most of the leaf plate;
- when pruning inflorescences orient not on individual flowers (they retain beauty for a strikingly long time), and if there are no signs of yellowing or desiccation of individual buds and parts, inflorescences are removed as a whole after losing ornamentality;
- Those senfolias are less sensitive to pruning, so the question of how to remove damaged, dry or wilted parts can be decided to your taste - both breaking off and cutting are fine, but only if clean, disinfected and sharp tools are used.
In addition to the usual pruning, non-flowering senpolias will need a stepwise pruning. The axillary shoots, if you do not plan to propagate the plant and increase your collections, should be removed not only regularly, but as early as possible, without letting them grow.
If you want new bushes, it is better to leave no more than 2-3 stems on the plant, letting them develop before separation to speed up their rooting. The development of the axillary shoots usually has a negative effect on the shape of the rosette and the decorativeness of the mature plant in general.
The problems of growing senfolias with reduced flowers are exactly the same as for the beautiful flowering cultivars. Plants often suffer from rot, mildew, fungal diseases associated primarily with overcooling and improper watering.
But they are slightly more resistant to pests. The greatest danger for non-flowering senpolias is powdery mildew and spider mite, which is quite difficult to combat on a dense pad of these senpolias.
Transplanting, containers and substrate
For non-standard, or extravagant non-flowering senfolias, the choice of containers is critical. These plants have to be presented in the right way, with bright, eye-catching and fashionable containers. Because of far from eye-catching appearance of unblooming inflorescences such senpollias will seem unattractive in any boring and carelessly chosen pots. Despite of strict symmetry of rosettes, such senpollias not bad also look in containers of non-standard shape. The main thing is that they should be wide, but not deep, not too large and have several drainage holes.
The substrate for non-flowering senpolis is selected according to standard requirements - from among the special earth mixes for Uzambarian violets with a light, homogeneous texture. At the bottom of containers lay drainage, and otherwise transplanting is carried out as for any other senpolia - annually or as the development of the container, carefully, watching the level of deepening.
Reproduction of non-flowering senpolis
The optimal method of reproduction of any senpolis of the non-flowering category is rooting stems. They are allowed to release the fourth leaf, carefully separated and rooted in a mixture of sand and peat or in crushed sphagnum. The rooting of non-flowering seniflowers can only be done under a hood, in diffused light and at an air temperature of 21 to 25 degrees.
If the plant does not form stepchildren, or they are removed to preserve the symmetry of the mother bush, non-flowering violets can be multiplied by standard methods - by rooting leaf cuttings in water or light soil and by dividing large bushes consisting of several rosettes.
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