An African Violet plant, Saintpaulia ionantha, did originate in Tanzania and eastern Africa and its flowers do resemble violets, but they are are member of the Gesneriaceae family and are not in the same family as a regular violet plant. This extremely popular houseplant flowers many times during the year and is often given as a gift for birthdays or Mother’s Day.
An African Violet plant is a small, compact, short plant with soft, furry, thick, round or oval shaped leaves. The leaves grow close together, in a tight group, on long stems, at the base of the plant. An African Violet plant produces beautiful, delicate flowers with five, velvety petals. The flowers can be white, yellow, blue, violet, pink, or fuchsia. Some of the newer varieties have large double, and bi-colored flowers.
African Violet Plant Varieties
There are many different African Violet plant varieties, and they come in all sizes and colors. Miniature African Violets can be as small as 3 inches. A semi-miniature African Violet is about 6-8 inches. The standard and large varieties start at about 8 inches and sometimes grow to be over 16 inches. Although African Violet plant leaves are usually dark green, many new hybrids have green and white patterned leaves. An African Violet plant produces beautiful, delicate flowers with five, velvety petals. The flowers can be white, yellow, blue, violet, pink, or fuchsia. Some of the newer varieties have large double, and bi-colored flowers. The trailing African Violet looks beautiful in a hanging basket. People always want to know how often do African Violets bloom? If you provide the proper amount of light, know how often to water, and use the right fertilizer, these plants often flower throughout the year.
African Violet Plant Care Problems
The plant doesn’t flower: Plant needs more light or humidity, exposure to cold air from doors and windows, pot is too large
Brown spots on leaves: Water, especially cold water, has gotten on the leaves
Yellow or pale brown spots on leaves: Sunburn due to being in the direct sun
Leaves Curling: Cold air and sometimes direct sun
Leaf edges turn brown and crispy: To much fertilizer
Brown Spots on Leaves Yellow leaves Curling leaves
These plants are safe to have around children and are not poisonous to dogs and cats. With proper care, an African Violet plant can often live up to 50 years. Follow the plant care tips below on light, water, fertilizer, humidity, pests, diseases, pruning, and propagation and you’ll have a wonderful, long lasting, flowering plant. If you want to give an African Violet plant as a gift, be sure to include instructions so your present can be well taken care of.
The leaves of an African Violet plant crack and become brittle when the plant is getting too much plant food. When fertilizing an African Violet plant always dilute the plant food to 1/2 the recommended strength and only feed the plant is actively growing. Keep the leaves of African Violet plant dry and out of direct sun; and use plain non-chlorinated water for better leaf growth.
An African Violet plant will bloom more often and produce more flowers when kept in a small pot and fed with the proper type of plant food. Other ways to help an African Violet plant produce more flowers is to move the plant to a brighter location and use distilled water that is free of chemicals such as chlorine.
The best way to propagate an African Violet plant is to take leaf cuttings from the plant during the spring. Remove a leaf, with its stem attached, dip the cut end of the stem in Rooting Hormone, and gently plant the African Violet plant cutting in a peat-based, quick-draining soil.
Keep an African Violet plant a little root-bound in a small pot; this encourages the plant to produce more flowers. When the roots have filled the existing container, move the plant to the next size pot and nothing larger. Be sure there are drip holes in the bottom of the pot so excess water can escape.