How to get beautiful African violets - Lighting
A beautiful Saintpaulia is a plant with a round crown of leaves and well stocked flowers . To achieve this, we need to recreate the original conditions of his ancestors who lived in the African forest. In technical terms, to flower, the Saintpaulia needs from 5000 to 13,000 Lux for about 12 hours. One Lux is an abbreviation for Lumens per square meter. An old plant needs between 10 000 and 15 000 Lux to be comfortable. A young plant needs less light from 5 000 to 8000 Lux. If a plant has less than 5000 Lux, it will stay in the vegetative stage.
There are not many people who have a device to measure the light intensity in Lux. Just put the Saintpaulia near a sunny window, but not expose to direct sunlight. The direct sunlight will destroy the chlorophyll and then cause damage to the leaves. Chlorophyll is a green pigment that absorbs sunlight in the range of blue and red. Chlorophyll is very important in the photosynthesis reaction that allows the plant to convert light energy into chemical energy useful for its development. Phototropism is a biophysical mechanism that ensures that a plant is attracted to light. In the forest, with mature trees on top of them, the Saintpaulia plants orient their leaves to capture as much sunlight as possible. In fact, all plants compete to capture as much light as possible. On a window, the light source is always at the same place. The plant will lead its leaves toward the only source of light. To prevent deformation of the Saintpaulia's crown, you will turn the plant ¼ turn twice a week.
This problem is not present in the culture of Saintpaulia by fluorescent tubes. The Saintpaulia grows very well under artificial light. Generally, the gardeners who take part in flower shows prefer artificial lighting. It is much easier to control lighting conditions. The lighting system consists of horticultural fluorescent tubes. The tubes are installed at 25 cm above the plants. A timer automates and regulates the control of lighting duration. Under artificial lighting, an African Violet will need about 12 hours of light exposure.