For those who may yearn to grow house plants a bit different from those of their friends and neighbors, African violets provide a splendid opportunity as there are countless varieties from which to choose.
New and enticing ones appear in specialist catalogs each year so that the hobby of collecting need never becomes static.
The larger commercial African-violet growers maintain an inventory of hundreds of varieties. However, each grower’s stock is constantly changing as newer and better varieties take the place of older ones.
It would be impossible to determine just how many different African violets there are, but the number probably runs into the thousands.
Flower Color Shades
You may wish to select your varieties based on flower color. Violet and purple shades are perhaps the most popular, but they are greatly enhanced by lighter-colored blossoms nearby. There are blues, pinks, and whites in varying shades.
Some of the burgundy and other near-red shades are very attractive. Many bicolours have two easily distinguishable colors on the same flower.
This second color may appear on the petal edge, like a stripe or band, as dots, or as a more profound or lighter color towards the flower center or on some petals.
Features and Types of African-Violets
There are doubles in most colors, although there are not as many varieties as in the standard five-petal singles. The flower size is another exciting variation, ranging from 1/2″ inch to nearly 2″ inches.
Supreme & Girl Types
One of the most exciting variations and the one least recognized by a casual observer is the leaf structure.
Here the differences are quite marked, and when you become familiar with your varieties, you will often be able to name a variety from leaf characteristics alone.
Those with large, heavy textured leaves have become known as the “supreme” types.
Then there is the “girl” type leaf typified by the pale green or white marking at the base of the leaf. (The word “girl,” as used in this case, has nothing to do with the sex of the plant.)
Pretty Hairy Leaves
Some leaves are pretty hairy; others are pretty smooth; some are almost round, others considerably longer than wide. There are waxy leaves that reflect brilliantly, and some are rather dull.
Perfect “Spoon” Type
A few have curled-up edges that form a perfect “spoon,” while others have pretty flat leaves; some are smooth-edged, but others are heavily scalloped.
The coloration of the leaves varies considerably. Some have relatively light green leaves, and from there, hues vary to those so dark they are nearly black.
The backs of the leaves also differ. In some plants, the underside is very pale green, whereas others are almost red.
African violets offer much in the way uniqueness in house plants for everyone to grow something special.
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