African violets have a great range of color and form. Easy to grow, they will flower continuously over a long period and new plants can be grown from leaves.

African violet, known botanically as Saintpaulia was first discovered in the hill of Tanzania in East Africa. The leaves are hairy and fleshy, with long, brittle stalks. They grow to form a rosette-like mound. The flowers grow in loose clusters from the rosette.

This beautiful flower can be 10 to 15 cm high and up to 38cm across. Miniature varieties are about 15cm in diameter. Although it can bloom at any time of the year there are generally fewer flowers between November and March.

Tips for Making New Plants

The easiest way to start new plants is to take leaf cuttings.

Propagate African violets by taking leaf cuttings and this way you know the kind of plant and the flower color that you will have in the end – it will be identical to the parent plant! – It will take about 8 to 10 months from taking cuttings to a fully blooming adult plant.

1.Take the leaf from the parent plant together with its stalk
2. Plant it so that half the stem is covered with a rooting mixture. Keeping the cutting at a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius for about one month, and roots will form.
3. After a further 8 to 14 days of this temperature new plantlets will appear. Once they have reached a diameter of about 5cm they can be split up and transferred to small pots of their own.
4. Water with a liquid plant food every fortnight once the plants are well-established. Maintain high humidity by growing plants on pebble trays.

Learn about the things that can go wrong with your African Violet

Brown spots and scorched leaves can appear if strong sun has been shining directly on the leaves, or if cold water has been spilled on them. To prevent this, keep the plant in the more shady corners of your garden between march and October. Water very carefully.

Crown rot fungus is a major problem with African violets. You can treat this by discarding the plant and clean the area where it was growing thoroughly.

Mildew can appear particularly in winter if the surrounding air is too moist and stagnant. Treat it by allowing humidity trays to dry out.

Sunken brown spots on undersides of leaves. This is due to thrips or cyclamen mites. Treat is by discarding plants under sever attack.

Colors and Varieties

Today there are many African violet hybrids. Flower color ranges from white, through all pink, red, blue, mauve and purple shades. The flowers may be single (5 petals), semi-double or fully double.

Much in demand are plants with two-colored petals. Frilly-edged flowers, plants with strongly variegated or crinkle-edged foliages are also very popular. Also, available are miniature, semi-miniature and trailing stemmed forms.

The African violet will enjoys the company of the other plants in your garden.

General Care

African violets are not demanding plants but will respond to regular and thoughtful attention, rewarding you with flowers all year round. Pick off faded flowers and leaves right to base to maintain only 3 or 4 layers of leaves on plants.

This plant grows well in open but rich compost. Commercial peat-based potting mixtures are best. Repot every spring or summer when the roots have filled the pot. Split plants with multiple crowns when repotting.

The African violet cannot tolerate cold water on its leaves or crown. It should be watered with tepid water from below in the saucer. Any water that remains in the saucer after half an hour after watering should be poured off.

Buying Tips

These plants are available to buy any time of the year.

Make sure that the leaves are healthy and plump and that there are plenty of flower buds showing.

With the right care the African violet will grow for many years, flowering most of the time.

Hope you found these tips helpful so you can enjoy your African violet for a long, long time!

Author's Bio: 

Sara Marlings enjoys reading and writing articles on best garden decor ideas to improve landscaping and general garden decoration.