Browallia is a member of a small genus that consists of only seven varieties of flowering plants. Browallia is an annual plant, belonging to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The genus of Browallia flowers is closely related to Streptosolen, a monotypic genus. The single species of genus Streptosolen was initially named Browallia jamesonii.
Browallia is found in Southern Arizona, Central America, South America, Mexico, and even in Bolivia. It grows in open areas, pastures, roadsides, and in vacant, moist lots. It prefers growing in regions that are seasonally dry and are present at elevations of 150 to 1200 meters.
Browallia flowers are a beautiful, airy-blue color and form stunning masses. They make attractive garden borders later in the season when most of the other flowers have faded and withered away.
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Browallia plants are annual perennials. They are flowering plants that bloom from early spring to fall frost. When Browallia plants are grown as annuals, they grow to a height of about 2 feet. Browallia has 5-lobed, tubular, purple-blue colored flowers, with a white-colored center. Each flower is approximately 2 inches wide. The flowers may bloom singly or they may be found in clusters, located in the upper axils of the leaves. The leaves of Browallia are oval-shaped, with pointed tips, having a slightly sticky texture. Each leaf is about 3 inches long. Matt-green leaves, with attractive blue-violet colored flowers, make Browallia plant one of the prettiest flowering plants.
Browallia plants produce numerous flowers during the first few years after which the flower production is reduced. If you wish to have Browallia flowers in your garden every year, we recommend you to plant a new one every spring and discard the one that has produced enough flowers in the first year.
Types of Browallia Flowers
As mentioned earlier, Browallia belongs to a genus that has only 7 varieties. All the types of Browallia flowers have been listed below:
- Browallia Abbreviata
- Browallia Acutiloba
- Browallia Americana
- Browallia Dilloniana
- Browallia Eludens
- Browallia Mirabilis
- Browallia Speciosa
Browallia Abbreviata is native to Peru.
Browallia Americana is more commonly known as Jamaican Forget Me Not. Native to Latin Tropical America, it is found in regions stretching from Mexico to the Caribbean, south to Brazil and Peru. It is a very tender plant.
It produces flowers that are quite distinct. They are 2 inches in size, and are rich-blue in color, with dark eyes smudged in white color. Browallia Americana flowers may also be found in white and purple colors.
They can perform well in both sunny areas and in partial shade. They require a well-drained, fertile soil for best growth.
Browallia Eludens is a small herb. It is found in Sonora, Arizona, and Chihuahua. The word eludens refers to the fact that it had eluded botanists for many years. The appearance of the Browallia Eludens plants is different from the rest of the plants in the Solanaceae family. It is a delicate, small herb with an erect habit. Browallia Eludens flowers are yellow in color. It occurs in forested areas.
Common names of Browallia Speciosa are Bush Violet or Amethyst flower. It is a shrubby variety of Browallia and is a woody perennial.
Browallia Speciosa is native to South America. When it is grown as an annual, it can to a height of 2 feet tall. The flowers of Browallia Speciosa are purple-blue in color with white centers. They are tubular with 5 lobes. They may grow in clusters or may be found singly. The flowers bloom from late spring till fall. The leaves of Browallia Speciosa plants are pale green in color, each being 3 inches long.
Bush Violet prefers growing in warm weathers. It grows well in moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil, in areas that receive either full sun or part sun.
Bush Violet can be grown in containers and hanging baskets. As they make large groups, they can be grown to make garden borders and woodland gardens.
Browallia plants should be planted after the chances of the last frost have passed. Browallia plants are very delicate. Since they are a tropical plant, native to Peru, they are sensitive to northern climates. They have little tolerance for cold and that is why, after you have made sure the last frost of the season is over, it is safe to plant Browallia.
Browallia plants should not be sown outdoors directly. The ideal way to grow these plants is to first grow them indoors and then transfer the seedlings outdoors. It may take anywhere between one to three weeks for the seedlings to grow. The seeds require a warm temperature of about 19 to 20 C to germinate.
When transferring seedlings outdoors, one should be mindful to plant each seedling at a distance of approximately 20cm from one another if the species are smaller. In case the Browallia species being planted are larger, the spacing between each seedling should be at least 40cm.
As mentioned earlier, these plants are warm-weather loving and thus, they should be planted in areas where there is proper sun exposure or has part shade. The soil type that these plants require is moist, well-drained, fertile soil for growth, with a pH in the range of 6.0 to 7.0.
Browallia plants should be moderately watered. The soil should be maintained moist. However, before the next episode of watering, make sure that the upper two-thirds of the plant has dried out.
The plants need to be treated with an appropriate liquid fertilizer (having a low content of nitrogen) after every 2 weeks. The practice should be continued throughout the growing season.
Taking Care of Browallia
If you are growing Browallia plants in the northern climate, you should have a proper greenhouse for their growth because they die in cold weather. When the summer season blooms, these plants can be moved out from the greenhouse. Browallia plants are not easy plants to grow from seeds. A beginner may not be able to plant Browallia successfully in their first attempt.
Browallia as Houseplants
As well as garden plants, Browallia plants make lovely indoor decorations, owing to their vivid, purple-blue flowers. when they are grown in pots for indoor placement, their stems may need support as they are very delicate and thin. When grown in baskets, they make breathtakingly attractive trailing plants. in order to encourage the growth of Browallia plants indoors, the growing tips should be nipped out regularly.
The propagation of Browallia plants is through seeds. As mentioned above, growing these plants from seeds is not easy. Meeting the growth requirements can be fairly difficult for beginners.
The seeds should be initially planted in pots indoors, at least six to seven weeks before transferring them outdoors. When the cold spells are over, and the temperature of the soil has warmed up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, Browallia seedlings can be transferred outdoors. Seedlings should be planted as per the planting instructions are given earlier.
Problems with Browallia Plants
Like all other plants, Browallia plants are also prone to some problems that may result in plant death if not treated timely.
- Insects like leafhoppers, aphids, and whiteflies may feed on the leaves and new shots of Browallia plants. The plants should be sprayed with insecticides repeatedly to make sure that these insects are killed before they turn into adults. Adult insects are nearly impossible to control.
- If the plant is watered too much, the plant may rot. If you observe that the plant is turning black at the base, it is best to discard the plant because, at this point, the plant cannot be saved.
- The leaves may turn yellow when the temperature gets too cold for Browallia plants. When the weather starts turning cold, the plants should be moved to a warmer place (a greenhouse preferably).
- A drooping plant is an indication that it needs more water. Ifthe plant is left dry for too long, it will wither and die.
- Browallia plants may get affected by fungal leaf spots or the tomato spotted wilt virus. In that case, systemic, or non-systemic fungicides should be used. It is necessary that if the plant is being grown indoors, there is proper air circulation. Proper hygiene can prevent any of these diseases from occurring.
Uses of Browallia Flowers
Browallia flowers are a stunning purple-blue in color. Because of their bushy growth, they make great garden borders. They look beautiful on the garden edges, walkways, and roadsides. They also make excellent container plants which means you can use them for indoor decorations.
The Bell Series of Browallia plants are suitable to be used as trailing plants or hanging varieties while the Starlight Series is a more compact type of Browallia variety that is suitable for container gardening.
Browallia flowers are not very common, mainly because they are not an easy plant to grow at home. They are high maintenance plants. It is a challenge to meet their growth requirements. With just a few types of Browallia plants available, they are not very popular or widespread. However, in the regions where they do grow, they make stunning gardens and decorations.