What You Need to Know About the African Violet Plant – Gesneriaceae Saintpaulia Ionanthe

Hybrids of the African violet from Tanzania make ever-popular indoor plants, due both to their compact size and long flowering period. The vel­vety leaves are up to 1 ½ in. (4 cm) across, slightly scalloped around the edges, with erect hairs on the upper surface, and colored red-maroon beneath. Clusters of flowers are pro­duced on upright stalks, to 2 in. (5 cm) long, in shades of purple, vio­let, blue, mauve, and white.

Size: Up to 1 ft. (30 cm) across.

Light: Indirect sunlight.

Temperature: Normal room; protect from drafts and temperature changes or growth will be checked.

Moisture: Keep moist, but not wet.

Feeding: Use standard liquid ferti­lizer every two weeks from sprint; through to fall.

Propagation: Take whole leafstalk cuttings.

Special needs: The leaves and flowers are easily damaged by water falling on them, so always water from below and never mist. Increase humidity by placing the pot on a tray of moist pebbles instead. Saintpaulias grow best slightly pot-bound in plastic pots.