How and what to feed violets with?
Favorite senpolis have not only a special appearance, but also a very specific character. Growing this plant resembles little the classic care of indoor crops. And even relatives of Uzambara violets from among the Gesnerievs require a slightly different approach. Watering is often called the “strangest” point of care for violets, who prefer custom watering to the classical method. But you will have to change the approach in feeding. The rapid growth of rosettes and abundant flowering lead to the fact that all violets are extremely dependent on the frequency of water procedures and the composition of fertilizers. And mistakes with them are absolutely unforgivable.
Features of the care of the senpolis
Uzambara violets, or Saintpaulias - plants are compact, strikingly decorative, with equally beautiful rosettes of velvety, pleasant to the touch leaves and unique flowering. Collected in shields, radiantly pearly, simple, semi-double or double flowers create a unique “second tier” above the rosettes.
Senpolias are miniature, medium, and relatively large, neat and almost loose, strict and extravagant. Neither the color, nor the shape of the leaves, nor the structural features of the flower in the varieties of this plant, in the hundreds, have any restrictions. But, in spite of all its diversity, senpolis are always senpolis.
The requirements for soil, transplanting, lighting, temperatures, care, they are always the same. And plants cannot be called over-demanding or completely non-capricious: Uzambara violets should not be perceived as complex, but as special plants that require a non-standard approach.
It is no coincidence that nursing is considered more important for all senpolis than growing conditions: if they can adapt to the difference in light and even temperature, then improper care for these plants is almost always extremely traumatic. In the best case, the senpolies lose their decorativeness, in the worst they die. Moreover, it is worth fearing of any extremes - and insufficient, and too diligent and careless care. Demanding violets are equally to the two main "points" in the regular care program - watering and top dressing.
Saintpolis is ranked as a houseplant, highly dependent on the composition of top dressings and the schedule for their application. Two factors influence the increased dependence on the fertilizer application schedule for your favorite violets - an extended vegetation period and rapid depletion of the substrate.
An extended period of vegetation, often a complete absence of a dormant period and flowering for almost the entire year. Senpolia - plants are not only plentifully flowering, but also almost not passing the dormant period. Many bright and beloved varieties, with proper care, bloom for almost 10-11 months, and the need for top dressing in them, unlike many crops for which fertilizers are applied only in spring and summer, also remains almost all year round.
Rapid depletion of the substrate. Senpolia is usually grown in small containers and even for their rather compact root system the soil volume is not enough to provide all the nutrients needed for the plant. Plants will not bloom until thin roots fill the entire earthen lump. Therefore, it does not make sense to increase the volume of capacities for them. As well as drastically increase the frequency of transplants: unlike many indoor crops, Saintpaulia and so, most often, are transplanted annually. In an extreme case - once every 6 months, if the roots have absolutely no space for development.
But even with this growing strategy, the need for fertilizing will be high. The supply of food in the substrate of a standard senpolia pot is usually enough for only 2 months.
When to feed violets?
If ordinary indoor crops are fed mainly in spring and summer, taking a break in feeding for almost six months, then violets are fed as much as they need - starting from the transplant procedure with a short “adaptation” period and until flowering is completed.
Feeding for senpolia affects not only the phase of their development. The frequency with which fertilizers are applied to these indoor babies should depend on several more factors:
- air temperature (top dressing for senpolia should be stopped when the air temperature drops to 16-17 degrees or lower, because plant development 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 irrigation.
For almost all violets, except those whose growth clearly stops, top dressing should be carried out all year round, changing the concentration during periods of seasonal reduction in lighting and temperature drop.
"Schemes" of top dressing for senpolia
The classic feeding scheme for senpolia with continuous or almost continuous flowering:
- in March, after transplantation, fertilizers for senpolia are applied once every 2 weeks;
- in April, top dressing is carried out with a frequency of 1 time in 10 days;
- in May, the frequency of top dressing is maintained once every 9-10 days;
- during the summer, top dressing for senpolia is carried out weekly;
- in September, the frequency of top dressing is reduced to 1 time in 10 days;
- in October, top dressing is carried out 2-3 times a month or maintain a frequency of 1 time in 10 days;
- in November, top dressing is carried out 1 time in 2 weeks;
- from December to the transplant at the end of February or March for the senpolia, 1 feeding a month is carried out.
There are simpler strategies for feeding violets:
- Classic dressing. Fertilizers can be applied starting from the third week after transplanting and until flowering is completed with the same frequency 2 times a month, with a break for a period after flowering is completed and until transplantation.
- Permanent Feeding. Low concentrated fertilizer solutions are constantly applied, feeding with watering (in fact, instead of it). In this case, the dosage is reduced by 6-8 times compared with the usual. Usually this strategy is used for the wick method of irrigation and top dressing.
If the senpolia fades earlier, does not bloom at all, the conditions of their maintenance differ from the optimal and recommended, the frequency of top dressing should be changed downward. If the plants are at high light, they are left with the frequency of top dressing of the summer period or the beginning of autumn, prolonging the period of more active care.
Features of top dressing after transplantation
Immediately after transplanting, top dressing for violets should not be started. Of course, we must remember that 2 months after the transplant, the supply of nutrients necessary for the senpolia for normal development is almost completely depleted.
But the lack of macro- and micronutrients, plants begin to experience much earlier, therefore, dressing in the program for the care of violets is introduced a few weeks after transplantation. But not before the plant adapted and started to grow. Usually violets begin to feed 2-4 weeks after changing the soil and capacity, but this rule has its exceptions.
As in any other care center for uzambar violets, you always need to focus on the state of the plant itself and how it adapts to the new container and soil. If the violets are weakened, do not show signs of rooting, the transplant was urgent, associated with the neglected state of the plant or the consequences of improper watering, and in all cases where there is a suspicion of being infected by pests or diseases, feeding should not be done before making sure that it is fully restored plants.
If problems with the senpolia arise in the active phase of growth, fertilizing must be stopped until the threat to the plant itself disappears and it does not begin to grow again actively.
Types of complex mineral fertilizers for senpolia
Uzambar violets are one of the most common indoor plants. And to find special fertilizers for them, intended for the senpole or at least the Gesnerievs, will not be difficult. After all, they are in the line of funds of each manufacturer.
For the senpolis, it is always worth choosing fertilizers of "narrow specialization." Even for preparations for flowering indoor crops, the ratio of macro- and micronutrients is different from ideal for this unusual plant.
Fertilizers for variegated or unusually colored violets should be selected more strictly: even among special fertilizers for senpolia, it is worth choosing preparations with a low nitrogen content for the manifestation of vivid patterns and colorful contrasts on the leaves.
It is not so easy to determine the type and form of fertilizer for senpolis. Fertilizers for uzambar violets are of 3 types:
- long-acting fertilizers in the form of granules or sticks.
If possible, liquid fertilizers should always be chosen for the senpolia. The point is not only convenience, ease of dosage, but also much greater safety: fertilizers are distributed evenly when watering, there is less risk of burns resulting from the fact that fertilizers accumulate in certain parts of the substrate in greater quantities.
Dry fertilizers also dissolve in water, but more time will have to be spent on creating “working” solutions. Not all fertilizers dissolve equally, therefore it is difficult to talk about the same homogeneous composition of the fertilizer and their distribution in water. But if you prepare working formulations in advance, mix them thoroughly before watering, adhere to the general rules, you can achieve the same efficiency as when using liquid fertilizers.
Preparations with a fine, powdery, uniform texture will suit the Senpolia much better, because they dissolve more evenly.
The use of any long-acting fertilizer for violets is undesirable. Both granules mixed with the substrate and sticks, which are buried in the soil during transplanting, simplify maintenance, but for such sensitive and delicate plants they can be fatal. Even when choosing the safest drugs and their proper use, nutrients will penetrate the soil unevenly, individual areas with a high concentration of macro- and micronutrients will lead to partial or complete root damage.
Organic nutrition for saintpoly
Despite the fact that the uzambar violets react positively to organic fertilizers, only they cannot grow senpolia. For senpolia, it is permissible to alternate mineral and organic fertilizing, but the best care strategy is to replace 2–4 times per season with regular organic feeding. And the fertilizers themselves must be carefully selected.
Senpolia from organic fertilizers can be fed:
- dry mullein (manure, bird droppings);
- dry vermicompost;
- microbiological (EM) drugs;
- purchased organic fertilizers (humisol, etc.) for the senpolia.
Non-concentrated feeding is always better
The right choice of fertilizer concentration is a key factor in caring for any senpolia. The slightest excess of the permissible dosages and contact of the roots with concentrated preparations cause burns and serious root damage. Senpolia is better to feed with non-concentrated fertilizers than to risk with an increase in dosage.
The standard for any senpolia is the dosage of complex mineral fertilizers specially designed for the plant, containing both macro- and microelements:
- 1 g of top dressing, diluted in 1 liter of quality water for irrigation with a frequency of 15 to 20 days (or the full dose indicated by the manufacturer);
- 1 g per 2 l of water for top dressing with a frequency of 7-10 days (or halved recommended serving);
- 1 g per 3 l of water for top dressing with a frequency of 5-6 days (or a triple reduced recommended rate);
- 1 g per 6-8 liters with constant fertilizer application along with watering (the dosage is reduced by 5-8 times).
For organic fertilizers, the dosage should be determined by the type of fertilizer and its features. Purchased drugs, especially special fertilizers for senpolia, are used in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.
Microbiological preparations are diluted in a concentration of 50 ml per 10 l of water. Dry humus is used in the form of mulch on the soil, evenly scattering on the surface of about 2 tablespoons per 1 plant, followed by abundant watering.
Mullein, manure, bird droppings are first bred to a concentrate (200 g of dry manure or 50 g of bird droppings per 10 liters of water with the addition of 1 g of copper sulphate), the fertilizers are kept for 1 month and then 100 g per 3 liters of water are used.
Fertilizer application rules for violets
Regularity and consistency
It is important to feed the Saintpaulia evenly - systemically, regularly, with equal or evenly varying intervals between the procedures. Even if the plant is in an oppressed state or there are certain difficulties with its flowering, it is better to feed them regularly, but to regulate their composition, concentration, time, rather than refuse to feed.
Only if we are talking about diseased and unrooted plants or violets that have suffered from an excess of nutrients, it is worth stopping feeding completely.
Compliance with watering
The method of fertilizer application should coincide with the usual method of irrigation - wick, submersible or classic neat top watering.
Top dressing only on wet ground
Despite the fact that fertilizers for violets are usually applied together with water for irrigation, top dressing on a dry substrate is a big mistake. Like many plants that are sensitive to abrupt changes in conditions and prone to root burns, the Uzambara violets require the most careful approach to the feeding and fertilizing in pre-moistened or constantly moist soil.
To avoid the risk of burns or any root damage due to carelessness, the violets are first watered with a small amount of water, restoring the plant's usual stable moisture, and then they are fed. To avoid overfilling and excessive soil moisture, it is convenient to fertilize 1 day after watering.
The best dressing - evening
Any violets, even grown in soft and diffused lighting, better respond to top dressing if they are carried out in the evening.
Optimum solution temperature
The temperature of fertilizer solutions for senpolia is better to strictly control. For Uzbek violets, pouring cold water is contraindicated, and if fertilizers are added to the water, you should make sure that its temperature is equal to or 1-2 degrees higher than the temperature of the substrate and air in the room. You should not feed violets with too warm solutions: an elevated temperature is usually associated with an increased risk of root burns.
Foliar top dressing for violets
Only with sufficient experience and the presence of “foggy” sprayers can foliar top dressing of violets be carried out. They are especially good for decorative leaf varieties. But with such top dressing, you need to be very careful, avoiding waterlogging of the leaves and applying them only to healthy, well-groomed, clean plants.
The concentration of fertilizers is reduced by 2 times compared with root dressing and carry out these procedures only in the evening. Foliar subcortex replace the usual no more than 3-4 times during spring and summer.