Sparmannia : Greenhouse Plants
W – warm, minimum of 13°C (55°F)
Sparmannia africana comes from South Africa and is related to the familiar lime trees. You will need a bit of space for this plant as it is likely to reach a good 2 m (6 ft) before flowering. I gather there is a smaller growing form, 5. a. ‘Nana’, which also flowers more reliably. They are worth growing for their large pale green hairy leaves and white flowers produced during winter which have a tuft of showy stamens standing out in the middle. If you brush these stamens they move outwards in quite a mesmerising fashion so that they fill the centre of the flower. In order to keep the size of the plant down it pays to prune hard to within a few nodes of the base after flowering. These plants are heavy feeders and will need potting every year until they reach their final size when top dressing can be carried out instead. They frequently suffer from magnesium deficiency, in which case a feed with a magnesium fertiliser such as Epsom salts should redress the balance. Stem10-13 cm (4-5 in) long will root or seed can be sown just covered by at 18-21°C (65-70°F).