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Plum Petals

Plum Petals
January 2015
Cultivate beauty indoors this winter with these tropical stunners  

There isn’t much going on in the garden this time of year, so treat yourself to some indoor blooms by way of the African violet. Been unsuccessful with this finicky plant before? This time, try mimicking its natural habitat. These perennial flowers are found in tropical rainforests, so they need high humidity and indirect bright light. In 1892, German Baron Walter von Saint Paul-Illaire, once the governor of German East Africa, sent this purple beauty’s seeds from present-day Tanzania to his homeland. Ever since, the plant has been a popular pick and now has more than 16,000 registered varieties, with new assortments released frequently. Here are three great options for achieving vibrant, year-round blooms.

'Edge of Darkness' (Saintpaulia ionantha)
This stunning new release—that can reach up to 12 inches tall—reveals a dark purple, almost bluish bloom surrounded by a bright white contrasting edge. The glossy texture combined with the deep tones of the petals give the effect of a serene night sky.

‘Harmony’s Frilly Dealy’ (Saintpaulia ionantha)
This variety is sure to perk up containers with its semi-double, soft white and pink flowers edged in chartreuse. Its fluffy appearance provides a unique contrast against other household plants.

‘Optimara Chico’ (Saintpaulia ionantha)
The crisp white petals and scalloped purple edge of this single bloom complement its symmetrical, deep green foliage. Expect it to grow between six and 12 inches.