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By tanny



In the spring of this year, around about April I noticed the old Streptocarpus plant called Sandra was sending up a flower shoot, and then two days later Cynthia was also starting to sprout. As both of them seemed pot bound I started splitting them up and re-potting the separated plants, during the process I broke off some leaves and thought it might be an experiment to see if they would send out roots if I put them into a jar of water, within a week they had roots hanging down so I planted them in some old potting mix. Some weeks later when visiting the Gordales Nursery I bought Charlotte, the third member of my collection. When going back to the car I found outside the entrance, a small leaf on the ground and recognised it to be a leaf of a Streptocarpus. Before doing anything with the leaf, I went onto the internet and was amazed to find just how many different Streptocarpuses there were, I think it was then that I became infected with the, “Strep Bug”. I discovered how to propagate plants by leaf cuttings and how to cross pollinate. The little leaf sent out four tiny plants that seemed to grow almost a millimetre a day and was soon in flower and I found out its name is Nery’s.
After visiting the local nurseries I discovered that Dibleys were the growers of these wonderful plants and seeing as their nurseries is only about thirty miles from me I just had to go and see their collection. It was Saturday the 25th July when we went to see the collection of Streptocarpus at the Dibleys Nurseries. We were pleasantly surprised when arriving there to find that we were the only visitors and the young receptionist was extremely pleasant and helpful. My wife and I entered the huge greenhouse and stood there in utter amazement at the vast size and wonderful colour. I had my camera with me but was so enchanted by the sight that I forgot to use it until we were leaving. We purchased four small Streptocarpus plants and one African violet but sadly one of the plants called Laura rotted away, although I’m struggling to propagate the last leaf from it. Another plant called Ann has refused to flower, it was the last one on the stand and we bought it because my wife’s name is Ann. The other two, called Iona and my favourite called Blue Leyla are both in fabulous bloom. I say this one is my favourite but every one of them has an individual beauty of their own.

Since I last posted on this blog I have collected more plants for my collection plus some leaves from friends and strangers who I noticed had Streptocarpus plants in their houses. I have also cross pollinated some of my flowers and the seed pods have dried and shed seeds that I collect in small jars and hide in a cool dark place. Before hiding them away for next spring I sowed a few as an experiment and am amazed to find many of them have started to sprout. I start them off by sprinkling the seed over John Inns seeding mix that I put into plastic muffin tray’s that I get specially for the seeds, They are clear plastic and have a lid that seals down making it a perfect humid atmosphere for the seeds. Each day I open them up and give a fine spray of rain water to keep the soil moist. By the looks of all the little green seedlings I think I have almost a hundred percent success rate in these containers. The containers are kept on the south east facing windowsill in the living room. In these pictures you can see the small plants sprouting of the cross between Nerys and Iona, and Sandra and Iona, these two were the first ones of my experiment. At this stage in my new hobby I would like to express my greatest thanks to Rex Dibley and his family for making it possible for me to enjoy this wonderful plant. I have no intention of gaining any financial rewards if I ever produce a new species from my experiments, and if I ever do produce a new species then I will offer them to Dibley’s because I feel I owe them so much

Today I entered a new stage in my Streptocarpus Hobby, I transplanted my first seedlings and it took well over an hour. In an old propergating tray I prepared a layer of first about half an inch of mixed 1+1+1 Perlite,Vamiculite and peat, above that another thin layer of peat and then above that again a mixture of peat and John Innes seeding compost, all this is my own idea of giving the plants the best chance of survival. I very carefully teased out with a toothpick and pointed tweezers the minute seedlings that were just about a milimeter in growth. I remember reading somewhere on the net that with the earliest one transplants, the movement stimulates the plants to grow quicker. The largest amount transplanted belonged to the Sandra and Iona crossing, with eighty seedlings all told, the eight other plantlets was of the Cinthya and Neries cross. If all goes well then I hopefully can expect to have flowers from these plants around about July next year.

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I do really like to visit Dibleys' stands at the gardening shows I go to during the course of the season. I was first attracted to them by the fantastic displays of Streptocarpus blooms, and their variety names. Congratulations on your own propagation successes!

23 Oct, 2009


I have just managed to include two photographs of Dibleys Greenhouse to this blog. The vast amount of wonderful different plants in this greenhouse makes the place a must to visit. I will be going there when it opens again next year, and I recommend everyone to go at least once in their lifetime.

23 Oct, 2009


I have just one of them but I hope to get more one day. I think they are lovely plants. You're lucky to be living so near Dibleys.

23 Oct, 2009


Yes, I agree! Their Show stands are always fabulous.... :-)

23 Oct, 2009

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