February 26, 2011

Saintpaulia ionantha ssp. grotei 'Silvert'

Part of a series highlighting some plants shown at The Gesneriad Society's 2009 Convention in Washington, D.C.

by Bev. N. 

Entry No. 257, Saintpaulia ionantha ssp. grotei 'Silvert', exhibited by Karyn Cichocki.
Commentary by Bev N. 

I was enamored seeing this plant at the show. I thought: What was that curious looking natural thing the plant was growing from?

Saintpaulia ionantha ssp. grotei 'Silvert'

I had been thinking about growing AV species for some time, something pure. So when I saw a small AV species for sale at our local show, grown by one of our members, I snatched it up, that was in June 2010. I repotted it from a 2 to 4 inch pot in August 2010, and now it needs to be potted up to a 5 inch. It is S. rupicola, and it is doing great. Maybe I can post a photo of it here.

In any event, does anyone know what material that plant was growing in? I would like to try that.

Yours in growing, Bev N.

Ed:  We asked Karyn Cichocki about the container and potting mix, and she was kind enough to respond:

Several years ago I purchased a Jankaea from a rock garden plant supplier and it came growing in a piece of Tufa rock.  The plant died but I kept the rock.  This is a very light weight rock that has lots of rough areas in it and it is quite easy to either drill or hammer out a hole in it.  After seeing a presentation on Saintpaulia species and that they grow on rocks, I decided to try growing one in the Tufa rock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tufa) and chose the grotei ‘Silvert’ because it has a natural trailing habit and is fairly small growing.  I enlarged the hole that was already in the rock from the Alpine plant, then planted the violet in it.  I keep the rock sitting in perlite that I have in a Oyama pot so that it stays moist and the rock absorbs the moisture from the perlite.  I can’t believe that the roots manage to grow all the way through the rock and come out the bottom.  The plant really likes it.  As for the soil, I used my usual mix which is 1 part peat moss, 1 part each of course perlite & vermiculite.  Because the hole isn’t all that big, 3” deep and about 1.5” wide, there isn’t much soil in it.

When I show the plant, I take the rock out of the Oyama pot, clean the perlite off it and then set it in a green saucer.  I’ve attached a picture of it in the Oyama pot.