How to grow and care for African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) Indoors

Some links in this post may be affiliate links

African Violet Care, Saintpaulia ionantha Care

Botanical name: Saintpaulia ionantha
Synonmy: Streptocarpus ionanthus
Family: Gesneriaceae
Common name: African Violet

African Violet Description

African Violets are a popular houseplants due to their ability to flower almost any time of the year. Their compact size allows them to fit in the small spaces which makes them ideal for the limited spaces.

The major requirements for African Violet are steady warmth, careful watering, good light, high humidity and regular feeding.

To keep African Violet thriving; keep the leaves off the windowpane, remove dead flowers and damaged leaves immediately, don't leave a stalk.

Remove side shoots on older African Violets as soon as they develop to promote flowering.

Keep the African Violet moderately pot-bound to promote flowering. Use a plastic pot to reduce water loss as they like the soil to be consistently moist.

African Violet Origin

African Violet (Streptocarpus ionanthus) is native to eastern and southwestern Tanzania in Africa.

African Violets for Sale

Buy beautiful and healthy African Violets from Etsy.

African Violet Care, Saintpaulia ionantha Care

Photo Credit: Crocus

African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) Care Indoors

African Violet Light Requirements

African Violet grows best in bright filtered light away from direct sunlight.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that your African Violet gets adequate light on all sides for uniform growth and prevent lopsided growth.

African Violets will also thrive under flourescent light. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water African Violet

Water African Violet thoroughly and keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to slightly dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering for your African Violet during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Water your African Violet with tepid water to avoid shocking this tropical plant as it can lead to reduced growth.

African Violets are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water therefore use chlorine-free water only. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Avoid wetting the foliage of your African Violet and water from the bottom or use the immersion method. Wetting the foliage can lead to crown and stem rot.


Temperature for African Violet

African Violet prefers average warmth with a minimum of 150C. A temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for your African Violet.

Protect your African Violet from cold and hot draughts to avoid sudden changes in temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for African Violet

African Violet has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is adequate for this plant.

However, for lush growth and to reduce pest infestation, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Regularly clean the leaves of your African Violet by gently brushing off the dust with a soft brush.

Do not wash or mist the leaves of your African Violet as it can lead to crown and stem rot. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for African Violet

Feed African Violets monthly with a phosphorous-rich fertilizer during the growing season to promote flowering.

Withhold feeding for your African Violet during the cold season growth is minimal at this time and it can lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot African Violet

Keep African Violet pot-bound to promote flowering. Repot during the growing period only when the soil becomes compacted.

Use a pot which is half as wide as your African Violet and free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

Ensure the pot for your African Violet has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from becoming soggy as it can lead to rotting of your plant.

How to Prune African Violet

Pruning African Violet is easy. Remove spent blooms and any side shoots to encourage development of more flowers. Get rid of dead leaves to keep your African Violet neat and tidy.

Remove the bottom 2-4 leaves of your African Violet monthly to balance out the appearance and to encourage growth of new leaves. The leaves can be used to propagate new African Violet plants.

The African Violet can be cut back at any time of the year to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) Propagation

African Violets can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from leaf cuttings, seeds, offshoots or by plant division.

How to propagate African Violet from leaf cuttings

Take an African Violet leaf cutting with the petiole still attached.

Insert the African Violet leaf petiole in moist free-draining soil and cover with a plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect.

Place the set up in a warm brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out.

New African Violet plants should develop at the base of the petiole in about 5-8 weeks.

Carefully seperate the new African Violet plants and plant them in individual pots.

Place the set up in cool brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out.

Allow the new African Violet plants to be well established before transplanting.

How to propagate African Violets from seeds

Spread the African Violet seeds evenly on moist free-draining soil and do not cover with any soil as the seeds are very tiny.

Cover the set up with a plastic sheet to create a greenhouse effect and place the set up in a warm brightly-lit place.

Maintain the soil moist through out by gently misting the soil surface.

Transplant the new African Violet plants when the largest leaf is about 0.5 in. wide.

Thinning of crowded seedlings can be done when the leaves are about 1/4 in. wide.

How to propagate African Violet from offshoots

Carefully seperate the offshoot from the mother African Violet plant while ensuring it has enough roots.

Pot the African Violet offshoot in moist free-draining soil and cover the set up with clear plastic to create a greenhouse effect.

Place the set up in a warm brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new African Violet plant is well established.

Occasionally open the plastic cover to allow air circulation and to prevent water condensation.

Gradually remove the cover after 4 weeks to acclimatize the new African Violet plant to ordinary growing conditions.

How to propagate African Violet by plant division

Carefully divide a large African Violet plant into sections while ensuring each section has enough roots.

Pot these African Violet sections into individual pots in moist free-draining soil.

Place the set up in a warm brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new African Violet plant is well established.

African Violet Care, Saintpaulia ionantha Care

Photo Credit: Crocus

African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) Problems Indoors

African Violet not blooming

There are six possible reasons why African Violet is not blooming.

One possible reason why your African Violet is not blooming is insufficient light. Bright filtered light for about 12 hrs a day is necessary to coax your African Violet to bloom.

The second possible reason why your African Violet is not blooming is improper feeding. Your African Violet needs to be fed with a phosphorous-rich fertilizer every month to promote flowering.

The third possible reason why your African Violet is not blooming is very dry air. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your African Violet. Check out these techniques on how to raise himidity for houseplants.

The fourth possible reason why your African Violet is not blooming is too frequent repotting. African Violet blooms best when they are pot-bound; repot your plant only when its is extremely pot-bound.

The fifth possible reason why your African Violet is not blooming is failure to remove the side shoots. The side shoots cause your African Violet to divert energy to developing the shoots rather than the flowers.

The sixth possible reason why your African Violet is not blooming is very cold air. Protect your African Violet from cold draughts as an average warmth is necessary for optimum growth and flowering.

African Violet brown leaf spots

Brown leaf spots in African Violet are caused by water droplets falling on the leaves during watering.

Avoid wetting the leaves of your African Violet or water it from the bottom only.

African Violet yellow leaves

There are four possible reasons for yellow leaves in your African Violet.

One possible reason for yellow leaves in your African Violet is dry air. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your African Violet. Check out these techniques on how to raise himidity for houseplants.

The second possible reason for yellow leaves in your African Violet is too much sunlight. Do not expose your African Violet to direct sunlight but provide it with bright filtered light.

The third possible reason for yellow leaves in your African Violet is incorrect watering. Maintain the soil for your African Violet consitently moist and do not allow the soil ball to dry out.

The fourth possible reason for yellow leaves in your African Violet is overfeeding. Feed your African Violet monthly with a phosphorous-rich fertilizer.

African Violet straw-colored patches on leaves

Straw-colored patches on the leaves of African Violet are caused by too much direct sunlight. The leaf edges may also turn yellow and holes may develop on the leaves.

Do not expose your African Violet to direct sunlight. The best light for your African Violet is bright filtered light away from direct sunlight.

African Violet pale-green leaves with long stalks and curled leaf edges

Pale green leaves with long stalks and curled leaf edges in African Violet are caused by too cold temperature.

Maintain an average warmth for your African Violet and protect it from cold draughts to avoid sudden changes in temperature.

African Violet limp leaves and rotten crown center

Limp leaves and a rotten crown center in African Violet is an indication of Crown Rot Disease due to overwatering and wide fluctuations in temperature.

The disease is infectious and difficult to control. Remove and destroy the affected African Violet as soon as possible to prevent spread to other houseplants.

African Violet moldy leaves and flowers

Moldy leaves and flowers in African Violet are an indication of Botrytis or Powdery Mildew.

Do not mist your African Violet as moisture on the foliage creates suitable conditions for these diseases. Cut off diseased parts and keep the affected African Violet warm while ensuring good air circulation

African Violet pests

The common pests in African Violet are Mealy Bugs, Fungus Gnats and Cyclamen Mites.

Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Is African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) toxic?

African Violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

You liked it? Share on social media.

On the Blog

You liked it? Share on social media.