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Meet the tiny African violets.

Meet the tiny African violets

Petite African violets? If you like the full-size kinds (Saintpaulia species), you might enjoy growing some of the miniature varieties. These diminutive plants have small leaves and produce tiny flowers in scale with the plants. They can stay in 2-inch pots all their lives.

The miniatures come in a full range of African violet colors: pink, rose, white, lavender, purple, and bicolors. More leaf shapes are available now: from smoothedged oval to wavy and scalloped. And, as well as classic rosette types, you'll find some plants with trailing habit.

Are they more difficult to grow than their full-size cousins? The minis require the same treatment and, if properly cared for, will give a long bloom period. As with other African violets, don't leave them where temperatures dip below 65| or top 85|. They do best with morning sun; hot afternoon sun may scorch foliage. They also thrive when set about 3 inches below fluorescent lights for 12 hours a day. Keep soil moist, not soggy. Water from the bottom. Give frequent light feedings.

You occasionally see miniatures at indoor plant stores, but choices are wider at a mail-order nursery that specializes in African violets. The following offer a selection of minis (catalog prices are listed):

Buell's Greenhouses, Box 218, Eastford, Conn. 06242 (65 cents).

Kartuz Greenhouses, 1408 Sunset Dr., Vista, Calif. 92083 ($2).

Napa Valley Violets, 636 Cunard Dr., Napa, Calif. 94558 (50 cents).

Photo: Miniature species in foreground compare with full-size African violet at rear. Two minis at lower left are "Always Pink'; one above hand is lavender-flowered "Tiny Tim'
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1986
Words:266
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