Saintpaulia

Family: Gesneriaceae

Countries: Africa, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania

As we learn more about plants, we make discoveries that result in plants moving from one plant genus to another; meaning name changes are required.  African violets used to be known as Saintpaulia, but their botanical name has now been changed to Streptocarpus.  I’ve left this group of plants listed under their old name, so you can more easily find them.  But, I also wanted to differentiate between these African violets and the more typical Streptocarpus plants.  There are many different Streptocarpus cultivars.  African violets make fantastic houseplants; they flourish in the conditions found inside our homes.  These handsome plants also tend to be very floriferous plants.

There are a large number of different African violet cultivars available.  Plants range in size and stature, from mini miniature plants that grow to around 10cm (4 inches) wide, to larger specimens that stretch out to around 30cm (11 inches) in size, when they’re fully grown.

You’ll find many African violet cultivars for sale.  Plants can produce white, cream, blue, violet, purple, red, or pink coloured flowers.  Some cultivars display double and semi double flower forms.  While, African violet leaf colour varies a little between green, greyish, brownish, and purplish coloured leaves.  There are even a few variegated African violet cultivars that are available in some nurseries, garden centres, or online stores.

African violets are great plants to grow.  These attractive, handsome plants are very easy to cultivate.  I love African violets.  I’ve grown a vast range of different African violet forms, on window sills facing almost every direction.  Some Streptocarpus plants have more sensitive leaves than others.  If your window sill is exposed to particularly harsh, bright light, you might need to look for a more protected and slightly more shaded situation for some of your plants.  Most African violet plants will enjoy growing in an area with bright but indirect, soft light.

I grow all of my African violet plants in a peat free compost.  Many of my African violet plants are grown in pots, placed in saucers.  I water my African violet plants by topping up their saucers with water, as required.  These plants don’t want to be permanently sitting in water.  I water them a couple of times a week in hot weather and less often during the wintertime.

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