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Care of the plant Sparrmannia africana or African hemp.

Care of the plant Sparrmannia africana or African hemp

The genus Sparrmannia, family Malvaceae, comprises 3 species of trees and shrubs native to tropical Africa, South Africa and Madagascar. The species are: Sparrmannia africana, Sparrmannia ricinocarpa, Sparrmannia palmata.

Common names: African hemp, African linden. This species is native to South Africa.

They are rounded bushes that reach 6 meters in height (2 meters indoors). The stems are green in their youth and with age they turn brown. The large heart-shaped leaves are covered with hair (sometimes stinging) and are reminiscent of those of the Tilia platyphyllos (Linden) tree. It produces showy white flowers with a yellow center that can be single or double, depending on the varieties. They bloom in the first half of spring.

They are used as indoor plants but in Mediterranean climate regions they are used to form groups and as isolated specimens.

Despite being a tropical plant, it prefers cool temperatures (between 15-18 ºC); the exposure should be in semi-shade avoiding direct sun in the hottest hours of the day. Outdoors they do not resist temperatures below 5 ºC. If they are grown indoors with temperatures above 20 ºC, it will be convenient to place a plate with stones or gravel that we will moisten.

The ideal soil would be a mixture, in equal parts, of peat, sand and leaf mulch. It's a fast-growing plant that usually needs an annual transplant in early spring to a container (better clay) one "size" higher.

Water regularly, waiting for the topsoil to dry. In winter you have to reduce watering without letting the soil dry out completely. Periodically spray the leaves with lime-free water during the summer if they are grown indoors.

Fertilize every 15 days with mineral fertilizer during spring, summer and early fall.

Prune lightly after flowering or in late winter to maintain a compact appearance and remove damaged branches. It's convenient to cut back the withered flower stems.

If they suffer drought, they can be attacked by mealybugs and can lose leaves if the light is not enough (especially indoors).

They are propagated from cuttings taking advantage of the branches obtained from pruning.

Images of the plant Sparrmannia africana or African hemp

Sparrmannia africana
Sparrmannia africana
Sparrmannia africana
Sparrmannia africana
Sparrmannia africana
Sparrmannia africana
 

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