The African Violet, Saintpaulia ionantha, has been around for a long time and is still one of the most popular houseplants today.
African violets are popular because they require minimal maintenance and bloom all year.
If you don’t want to deal with blooms, you may cultivate these plants only for their leaves. You may easily shift them to a more shaded location!
Although they are generally referred to as “violets,” these blooms come in a variety of colors.
The African violet appears in several variations, each distinguishable by minute changes in leaf form and hue.
Flowers are available in a range of forms and colors, including single pansy-like blossoms, double blooms, frilled edges, two or more tones, and a third hue.
These fun plants are available in a broad range of colors and may be readily taken indoors.
These are ideal if you want a low-maintenance plant that produces a lot of fruit.
About African Violets
African violets may be traced back to the tropical rain forests of Tanzania and Kenya, as the name suggests.
Walter von Saint Paul-Illaire, a German colonial commander, found these plants in 1892 and transported seeds back to Germany.
Despite being recently reclassified as Streptocarpus, the name Saintpaulia has survived.
Despite its popular name, this is not a violet species; its flowers are a bright violet color. You may discover more about these lovely blossoms here.
Bright, indirect light is good for African violets since it promotes optimum flowering and development.
They are typically low-maintenance, but they can go through fussy stages. Never, ever quit up!
How To Care For African Violet Plants
Bringing the Plan Home
While African violets require little care and seldom have bug issues, it is still vital to inspect them for indications of damage before bringing them indoors.
Look for pest and disease indicators in the soil and on the leaves.
Even once the plant has been given the all-clear, it should be kept separate from the rest of the garden for a few weeks. On a regular basis, keep an eye out for pests.
Mealybugs, which look like little cotton balls, are a kind of insect pest that can harm an African violet.
How Much Light does African Violet Need?
You may compel your African violets to bloom all year by supplying them with the proper illumination. You can utilize natural or artificial illumination.
If you don’t have access to natural light, these plants can survive under normal grow lights or fluorescent illumination.
The optimum location for your African violet is near a window, where it will receive lots of intense, primarily indirect light.
It will thrive even in the absence of appropriate sunshine. For whatever reason, it will not bloom. This is a wonderful choice if you want a plant with a lot of foliage.
Your African violets will let you know if they aren’t getting enough light. When a plant receives little light, it develops long, thin stems (a “leggy” appearance).
When the light is too bright, the leaves turn a paler, almost yellowish green.
Light is necessary for growth, but too much of it causes the plant to shrink and become less spread out.
This might lead to the extinction of an African violet. It is critical to maintain a constant balance.
Watering your African Violet
Another reason African Violets are so popular is because, like the ZZ plant, they can thrive without being watered every now and again.
Nonetheless, establishing a regular watering plan might help to maintain their health and enjoyment.
Allow the top half inch to an inch of soil to dry out somewhat between waterings.
Depending on the soil type, plant location, and climate in your home, this might necessitate watering as frequently as twice a week or as seldom as once every two weeks.
Regularly checking the plant’s state might assist you in determining the best watering regimen. The soil should not be allowed to dry completely.
Another thing you need to avoid is getting the leaves wet when watering.
Another no-no is allowing the plant to grow damp. There should never be any standing water after irrigation.
When you’re through watering, let any residual water escape via the bottom holes.
Watering from below ensures that the leaves are not soaked. Place the plant’s pot in a bigger container that has been filled with water.
The size of your pot will decide how long it must be submerged in water, but don’t keep it there for too long. You should remove your plant if the top feels damp.
Allow any excess water to drain by tilting the pot gently. Extra water in the saucepan can be drained by placing it on a towel.
African violets grow well in self-watering containers (wick technique).
A combination of chilly and room temperature water Although water from a filter or rain is preferred, normal tap water can work in a pinch.
Humidity and Temperature Requirements
Because of their jungle origins, these plants prefer a little more humidity but may tolerate dry circumstances.
African violets flourish in conditions of mild humidity. This houseplant thrives in low humidity conditions and will grow if left alone.
While this may make your African violets happier, there is no need to purchase a separate humidifier.
These plants need warm, humid habitats and may be harmed by the colder temperatures and occasional frost of winter.
If the area near the window is particularly chilly in the winter, keep them away from it. Keep it away from any drafts that may come in through a window, especially in the nighttime.
This plant can tolerate normal indoor temperatures.
Cleaning and Pruning African Violet Leaves
Even if the lowest leaves are healthy, pruning a few of them will promote new leaf growth from the plant’s central crown.
This also gives the interior leaves the chance to blossom. More leaves imply less resources available for future development and blooming.
You may safely clip away any dead or wilting leaves using clean tools.
Plants and their leaves may be maintained clean by sprinkling them on a regular basis.
Spray the leaves with water and rub them with a gentle cloth or paper towel to completely clean them. Be careful since the leaves are easily damaged.
Submerge the plant (upside down) in water and readjust it carefully (!!!). The leaves may then be washed thoroughly.
African violets are quite sensitive to moist circumstances, so make sure to properly dry the plant after watering.
Shade the leaves as much as possible while they are drying.
Use a complete houseplant fertilizer, a foliage plant fertilizer, or a flowering houseplant fertilizer. African violet-specific fertilizers are also available at some stores.
Stick to the instructions on the fertilizer’s container.
Use a fertilizer designed exclusively for African violets to stimulate blooming.
When to repot your African Violets?
When your African violets become root bound, it is time to repot them. To repot your plant, wait until the root system has outgrown its present container and the soil has become exceedingly compact.
When repotting, choose a slightly larger pot to allow your plant more room to grow. You may use almost any type of pot as long as it has appropriate drainage holes.
The type of pot you use may also influence the amount of time between waterings.
That instance, if you choose clay or terra cotta pots, you will need to water your plants more frequently since their porous architecture allow water to evaporate.
When repotting, make sure the entire plant is above ground, including the leaves and stems.
If the plant’s leaves and stems come into touch with or are buried in dirt, they can rot all the way through.
What kind of soil for African violets?
The drainage features of the African Violet potting mix you pick are critical. African violets require a mixture of soil, sphagnum moss, and perlite, which is available at most garden centers.
There are further soilless combinations that can be used. Such a mixture would consist of sphagnum moss and perlite, and it would require frequent fertilization.
To avoid introducing undesirable pests or illnesses to your plants, clean your potting materials before using them to produce your own potting mix.
How to Plant African Violets
A well-draining all-purpose potting soil or an African violet potting mix will suffice.
African violets thrive in small planters and should be repotted every few years to stimulate soil mixing.
If your African violets have been limited in their present container for a long, don’t rush to give them more space.
It is best to have loose, well-drained soil with a high organic matter concentration.
Learn more about organic soil additives.
When repotting an African violet, take care not to bury the plant’s crown; the soil should be somewhat deeper than the previous container. Too much water can cause African violet stems to rot.
African Violets may be replicated with the same ease that they can be cared for. If there are several crowns, you may either take leaf cuttings or divide the plant at its base.
Trimming the petioles of healthy leaves is also appropriate. These cuttings are perfect for plant propagation.
Place the leaf, including its two-inch petiole, in sterilized potting soil. The cutting should be kept at room temperature and watered on a regular basis. In optimal conditions, cuttings will root in 4 to 6 weeks.
Alternatively, you might divide some of the subcrown clusters during repotting (if the plant developed more crowns).
To avoid the spread of disease or pests, use sterile scissors to cut offshoots from the mother plant.
Wrapping your cuttings in damp plastic might help them acclimate to their new surroundings until the leaves are healthy and the roots have grown.
There are several possibilities, ranging from small miniature violets to tall trailing hybrids.
These plants’ flowers can range from white to purple, and some varieties have stunning color diversity in their leaves and stems.
The mature width of African violets is used to determine standard size:
- Miniature: less than 8 inches in diameter.
- Standard: 8-16 inch width is the standard size.
- Large: a diameter of 16 inches or more
African violets are among the least dangerous houseplants. They are safe to use around children and pets because they are non-toxic.
Although pollen is not a concern, the hairs on the leaves of these attractive plants can cause issues for persons with allergies because they gather dust and other allergens.
Are African Violets Safe for Cats, Dogs and Humans
African violets, in general, offer minimal danger to humans or animals.
However, they should not be consumed.
Pests and diseases
African violets are extremely susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases, as well as blossom failure.
Plant diseases include botrytis blight, crown rot, petiole rot, and powdery mildew, to name a few.
Humidity and a lack of ventilation are significant contributors. Mold-caused diseases lead the injured areas of the plant to waste away over time.
A quick blackening of the leaf midribs, which spreads to other sections of the leaf and eventually kills the plant, is an indicator of crown rot.
However, if the leaves and petioles come into contact with fertilizer, it may cause petiole rot. Remove the affected leaves and rinse the container to remove any excess fertilizer.
Cyclamen mites are a pest found on African violets that cause stunted development and brittle leaves by feeding on the plant’s moisture and nutrition.
Mealybugs are little, cottony insects that do comparable harm to plants while hiding in unnoticed areas such as under leaves, petioles, and stems.
A minor infestation can be treated with your choice pesticide’s Neem oil solution.
How to Get African Violets to Bloom
With proper care, these plants may be kept in bloom all year, and they love to show off their beautiful blossoms.
You will have a growing plant if you provide it the proper care, which includes preventing it from pests and diseases, as well as providing it with enough light, water, humidity, fertilizer, and soil.
African violets like a container that is snug but not so tight that the roots get cramped. During this season, they begin to blossom for prolonged periods of time and bloom.
Remove spent blossoms from a plant to encourage additional blooming; fresh flowers should appear in about six weeks.
Types of African Violets
Those initial plants, the S. The ionantha is a relatively new import, having originally emerged in Germany in 1893.
Not long after that, the S. A nursery worker noticed minor variances in the plants and introduced confusa.
Tens of thousands of versions have been generated throughout the years. African violets are now available in a broad range of flower varieties, sizes, and frills.
These plants’ blooms and leaves come in a variety of colors and textures. There are single-crown and multi-crown trailing types available. Here are a few examples to get you started.
- The ‘Persian Prince’ is a small shrub with semidouble dark purple blossoms and scalloped green leaves.
- ‘Lyon’s Lavender Magic’ is a medium-sized plant with medium-green foliage and white, light-purple star-shaped flowers that can be single, semi-double, or frilled.
- The ‘Hawaiian Pearl’ variety’s semi-double star-shaped bloom is ivory with a dark lavender/rose ring, while the plant itself is a standard size with dark green foliage.
- The lacy, lilac-purple flowers of ‘Summer Twilight’ have a white edge and variegated foliage.
- On its lonely, variegated leaves, the ‘Lonestar Snowstorm’ has delicate white flowers.
The ‘Little Maya’ flowers are a deep ruby red, and the foliage is a dark green.
Many people mistake gloxinia for African violets, but they are not. You might also enjoy Streptocarpus species or the Goldfish Plant, both of which are related to African violets.
Common Problems With African Violets
Plant doesn’t bloom
Check to determine if your African violet is getting adequate light, as well as the relative humidity and temperature.
Maintain a temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the space and supply the plant with strong, indirect light (or fluorescent lights).
Spots on leaves
Water on the leaves of an African violet can cause the plant to develop spots. You may either use a self-watering pot or a bowl to place the container in to water it from underneath.
How long can an African violet live?
An African violet may live for at least 20 years and up to 50 years if given the correct circumstances.
How do you clean off the leaves of an African violet?
Take pleasure in different flora, African violets can become dusty and muddy, but their fuzzy, water-repellent leaves do not. Simply brush them away with a soft bristled brush.
Is it okay to touch the leaves of an African violet?
If you must touch the leaves of an African violet, use a soft-bristled brush to gently dust them off.
Do African violets need direct sunlight?
African violets are harmed by direct sunshine. A sheer curtain or thin blind should be used to soften the light coming in through a window.
How often should African violets be watered?
Water your African violets just when the top inch of soil begins to dry up, rather than on a regular basis.
Under typical circumstances, this may happen once a week.
Depending on the pot size, plant health, soil quality, ambient temperature, and relative humidity, a varied regimen may be required.
African violets thrive in bright, warm, humid settings. If the leaves become wet, they will turn brown.
Dead flowers and leaves should be removed as soon as possible to promote plant health. Keep an eye on the soil’s moisture levels. As a result, degradation will be encouraged.
The key to effectively cultivating these houseplants is creating a balance between the numerous components needed in their care.
They must be kept in an atmosphere with exactly the proper amount of humidity to avoid drying out, lots of air to avoid stuffiness, and just enough sunlight to keep the tips of their leaves from drooping.
Don’t be alarmed if your African violets are injured; this is natural.