African violets(saintpaulia) are known for their pretty little flowers with yellow centers. Despite their name, the African violet doesn’t belong to the violet family, the Violaceae. It actually belongs to the Gesneriaceae family, which includes other flowering houseplants like cape primrose. The plant is native to tropical rainforests in Tanzania, Africa.
African violets can grow to 2 to 6 inches in height and about 6-12 inches wide. The plant produces clusters of violet, purple, pale blue, white or bi-coloured flowers with hairy leaves.
- They can survive low light situations, but do best in bright, but indirect sunlight. Place near a sunny, east window.
- Keep soil moist, but not soggy. Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid getting the leaves wet, as it can cause permanent spotting.
- Like other houseplants, keep plant away from drafts.
- African violets are native to tropical rain forests in Africa, they do best in humid environments. Place a humidifier or bowl of water near by to increase humidity.
Reasons to grow African violets:
- One of the easiest houseplant to grow! Perfect for beginners!
- Unlike many houseplants, African violets are non-toxic for cats and dogs. A great houseplant for pet owners.
- It can tolerate low-light environments and can survive under artificial lights.
- Long lasting flowers and blooms frequently for year round colour and beauty.
- Easy to propagate to share with others; they can be propagated through a single rooted leaf!
Fun Flower Facts about the African Violet:
- The scientific name Saintpaulia was named after Baron Walter von Saint Paul, the man who discovered the plant in 1892.
- One of the most popular houseplants in the world.
- In many cultures, the African violet is a traditional gift given to mothers for Mother’s Day.
- As abundant as they are as cultivated plants, several of the native species are considered endangered or threatened, due to deforestation.
- The hairs on the leaves helps the African violet absorb water from the air.
- The 5 Easiest Houseplants to Grow (funflowerfacts.com)