Sparmannia africana

African Hemp . This South African shrub forms very decorative, hairy, faintly lobed leaves, coloured a striking pale green and up to 19 cm (7 in) long. The white flowers, arranged in thick clusters, have masses of yellow stamens. It is a pity that, nowadays, Sparmannia is a relatively rare house plant because it does poorly in households with central heating, where the conditions are too warm in winter.

Water abundantly during the summer but restrict water in the winter. Sparmannia thrives in plenty of light, but will tolerate slight shade. Feed with compound fertilizer twice weekly during the growing season and once a week during the rest of the year. Keep in a cool place in the winter at a temperature of 7°-10° C (45°-50°F). Repot between spring and autumn after two years. Propagate by stem tip cuttings taken from plants just after their flowers have faded, for then the new young plants will again bear flowers soon. It has a tendency to become leggy and may need propagation.

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