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African Violets

Course CodeVHT105
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

ONLINE STUDY AFRICAN VIOLETS

  • Indulge a passion for African Violets, Gloxinias and other Gesneriads
  • Learn how to Grow and Use African Violet Plants
  • Work in or start a nursery or expand your skills in the horticulture trade
  • For the enthusiast or commercial grower.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • What is an African Violet
    • Plant name pronunciation
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • Introduction to Gesneriads
    • Classification of Gesneriaceae
    • Introduction to most commonly grown African Violet Species
    • Information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs etc.)
  2. Culture
    • Understanding how plants grow
    • Soils ad nutrition
    • African Violet potting mixes
    • Other cultural practices -Planting, watering, feeding, etc.
    • Review of Gesneriad Genera -Columnea, Streptocarpus, Episcia, Aeschynanthus etc
  3. Propagation
    • Sexual and asexual explained
    • Propagation aids -greenhouses, hotbeds, cold frames, misting etc.
    • Cuttings
    • Seed
    • Division
  4. Pests & Disease
    • Plant maintenance and health
    • Identifying problems
    • Controlling problems
    • Reviewing pest, disease and environmental issues that can confront African Violets
  5. Light and its Affects
    • Understanding light affects on african violet flowering
    • Artificial lighting
  6. Greenhouse Culture
    • The greenhouse system
    • Components of a greenhouse (floor, structure, ventilation, heating, etc)
    • Types off Greenhouses
    • Shadehouses
    • Coldframes
    • Heated propagators
    • Environmental controls
    • Heaters, Ventilators, etc
  7. Ways to Use African Violets
    • Containers, in the ground, in greenhouses, growing for profit (to sell etc.)
    • Review of popular cultivars
  8. Special Assignment
    • PBL Project: Planning the establishment of a collection of Gesneriads, for a specific (real or hypothetical) location.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Describe how African Violets and related plants are classified and the plant naming system
  • Describe the cultural requirements of African violets
  • Select appropriate propagating materials and using them, propagate African violets.
  • Identify and control pest and diseases of African violets
  • Discuss the role that light plays in the growth of African violets
  • Describe greenhouses and other environmental control equipment used for growing African violets.
  • Describe the various ways in which African violets can be grown
  • Demonstrate the knowledge acquired for a specific group or individual plant in the Gesneriaceae family through research.

What are African Violets?

African violets belong to the genus Saintpaulia. They are native to Tanzania and adjacent south eastern Kenya in tropical Africa. The common name African violet is a description that came about due to their resemblance to a flowering violet.

There are approximately 21 species of Saintpaulia and they have the following characteristics: 
  • They are all terrestrial (ie. growing in soil), perennial, herbaceous plants.
  • Leaves are hairy and usually arranged either opposite or caulescent.
  • Leaf blades are petioled.
  • Leaf shape is orbicular to elliptic.
  • Leaves are commonly fleshy.
  • Flowers occur either individually or several.
  • The calyx is divided into two parts.
  • There are 2 stamens.
  • The anthers are yellow.
  • The ovary is superior.

African violets can be classified into broad groups according to different obvious characteristics such as:

Flower shape:

  • Single flowers have five petals
  • Semi double flowers have six to nine petals
  • Double flowers have two or more complete rows of petals (With five petals to a row this means more 10 or more petals).
  • Petals can also have shape variations (eg. frilled, fringed, picot, waved edge etc).

 

Leaves
Can vary in size, colour and shape, including dark to light green and even variegated.

Growth Habit

  • Standards are the common rosette forming plants
  • Miniatures are plants smaller than 15cm diameter
  • Semi Miniatures are plants 15-18cm in diameter
  • Trailers are plants which develop several crowns or growing points, as such they can become much larger plants than standards.


Meet some of our academics

Rosemary Davies Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Adriana Fraser Businesswoman, writer, teacher, consultant, horticulturist and sustainable living expert for more than 30 years. Adriana has worked with ACS for over 30 years. She has contributed to dozens of books(including Australia's national Grass Roots Magazine) since the early 1980's and continues to be actively involved as a contributor to Home Grown magazine and other publications. Adriana has a Cert.Child Care., Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert in Assessment and Training., Cert.Hort., Adv.Dip.Hort.
Yvonne SharpeRHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.