Common Name: African Violet
Scientific Name: Saintpaulia ionantha
Lighting: Moderate to Bright
The African Violet is an extremely common houseplant. The African Violet is characterized by low-growing, heart shaped hairy leafed foliage remaining fairly oval in overall shape. African Violets are available in many varieties with flowers ranging from pink to blue to the traditional violet. Foliage can range from dark green to variegated.
African Violets prefer moderate to bright indirect sunlight. Keep them near an east or west window for best results. Aim to provide your African Violet with at least 8 hours of sunlight a day. If your African Violets foliage begins to yellow and the plant seems to be reaching, it is probably not getting enough light. On the reverse side, if the foliage begins to have brown spots or the foliage curls, the plant may be receiving too much light.
African Violets prefer their soil semi-moist. Allow the soil to slightly dry out in-between watering for best results. One trick with watering African Violets is you want to avoid getting water on the foliage. Water either from the bottom, such as a water tray in which the water can be seeped up or directly on the dirt. Either way the goal is to avoid getting the foliage wet. If water does get on the leaves it will usually leave white spots. Be sure to try and use room temperature or warm water instead of cold.
African Violets prefer higher humidity levels and usually do well in temperatures between 62° and 75°. Try not to let the temperature drop below 60°. Also, as with most houseplants, keep them away from vents and entry ways.
This houseplant also prefers its own special soil mix. Most garden centers have African Violet soil mixtures already pre-packaged for you. This houseplant also prefers some root for its roots, so make sure it has enough space to prevent becoming root bound.
As like their soil, there are also special fertilizer and plant food mixtures for this plant. I have always just used my normal Miracle Gro houseplant food but that's just me.
To encourage new blooms, pinch off dead blossoms and their stems.
This houseplant is known to have some pest problems. Mealybugs and red spiders are the most common pests. If you begin to see a problem on your plant, I would suggest using specific insecticides labeled for African Violets. I personally haven’t had a pest problem with this plant so I cannot say if my homemade soapy dishwater mixture works or not. If you have solutions, please post comments below and share with other readers.
A collection of comments and tips have been combined over on the African Violets FAQ page.