Browallia speciosa is a small perennial shrub, native to South America; it has a roundish, very branched habit and reaches a height of 30-40 cm. The stems are thin, light brown or green; the leaves are oval, bright green, pointed, furrowed with deep veins. In late spring and winter, this plant, commonly called the Sapphire flower, produces numerous star-shaped flowers, blue-violet, with a central white or yellow eye; there is also a white flower cultivar. Very cultivated as houseplants, they can also be used as annuals for garden borders. Sometimes the flowers of Browallia speciosa are used for bouquets.
For a better development of the sapphire flower, keep in a bright place, but preferably not too exposed to direct sunlight, especially if it is a case of potted specimens; the browallies in full ground also bloom in half-shaded gardens, where they can be grown as annuals.
They fear the cold and therefore starting from October they should be kept at home or in places with temperatures above 10 ° C.
The ideal temperature is around 18 ° C, but can withstand even higher temperatures if the Browallia speciosa plants are not directly exposed to sunlight during the hottest hours, while the cold can quickly compromise the sapphire flower specimens.
As for the water supply, in the hottest period water regularly, leaving the soil to dry slightly between one watering and another; Browallia speciosa plants do not tolerate prolonged periods of drought but do not even like soaked soils, so check that the substrate allows good drainage. Provide fertilizer for flowering plants every 15-20 days.
Specimens of this type prefer soft and rich in organic matter, very well drained soils; balanced universal soil can be used, mixed with little sand and pumice stone with coarse grain size, to improve drainage.
For a correct development of the plant it is good to remember to repot it every 2-3 years.
The multiplication of these plants occurs by seed, at the end of winter; in autumn it is possible to practice cuttings, which must be rooted in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, to be kept moist and in a sheltered place until the new plants are completely rooted.
The most used technique is however that for seed.
Sapphire flower - Browallia speciosa: Pests and diseases
Pay attention to mites and aphids, which often attack the plant massively.
It is essential to act promptly to prevent parasites from causing serious damage to the affected animals. It is possible to use specific pesticide products, or it is possible to use natural products, such as a product based on water and Marseille soap to be sprayed on the plant or water in which garlic has been boiled, always to be used for vaporization on plants affected by pests. Even a nettle-based macerate can be a very effective remedy.