Amazing African Violets

African violets come in a stunning variety of colors, flower forms and sizes.
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Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

African Violet 'Pixie Blue' (Rodney Barnett)

African violets come in a spectacular variety of leaf types, flower shapes, colors and sizes. You'll find lots of information about caring for them at the African Violet Society of America. This variety, ‘Pixie Blue’ (L. Lyon, hybridizer), is a miniature trailer with single flowers.

African Violet 'Persian Prince' (Heather Demers)

African violets are considered miniatures if they are 6" or less in diameter and semi-minis grow up to 8" in diameter. While standards range from 8" to 16", they are considered large if they're over 16" in diameter. Trailing types have long runners that branch and spread; they can grow in hanging baskets or shallow pots. 'Persian Prince’ (S. Sorano, hybridizer), shown here, is a miniature with so-called girl, or scalloped, leaves. Girl leaves are usually fleshier than boy leaves, which are solid green. 

African Violet Optimara 'Rose Quartz' (Kathy Lahti)

The botanical name for African violets is Saintpaulia; the plants are native to eastern Africa. This miniature, Optimara ‘Rose Quartz’ (Holtkamp, hybridizer), has glossy, hairy, medium green leaves and pink blooms. African violets are often called America's favorite houseplants.

African Violet 'Lonestar Snowstorm'

'Lonestar Snowstorm' is a standard African violet (R. Nicholas, hybridizer). Its white blooms are called "sticktite," which means that they don't drop from the bloom stem when they fade. African violets need good air circulation to help prevent disease, but don't put them in a drafty spot.

African Violet 'Rob's Boolaroo' (Ben Haning)

This semi-miniature trailer, ‘Rob’s Boolaroo’ (R. Robinson, hybridizer), has light pink blossoms with what is known as “blue fantasy.” Fantasy flowers are multi-colored, with one color appearing dotted, streaked or swirled over another color.
 

Optimara African Violet 'Little Maya' (Debbie McInnis)

Semi-miniature Optimara ‘Little Maya’ (Holtkamp, hybridizer) has heart-shaped, quilted leaves with red backs. These plants need adequate light to bloom, but also require 8 hours of darkness each day. If you’re using grow lights, try a timer to regulate their schedule.  

African violet 'N-Diuimovochka' or 'Thumbelina' (Ben Haning)

This Russian variety's name translates to 'Thumbelina' (Nadezhda Berdnikova, hybridizer). It's a miniature with dark green leaves with red backs. If your African violet leaves and stems become long and leggy, that's a signal to give the plant more light. Other signs include yellow leaves and few, if any, flowers.

African Violet 'Lyon's Lavender Magic'

Lyon’s Lavender Magic’ (Lyndon Lyon Greenhouses/Sorano, hybridizer) is a large standard African violet with quilted, medium green foliage. Some gardeners put their African violets under grow lights, but they also thrive in natural light. Winston J. Goretsky, president of the African Violet Society of America, says, “African violets like to have bright, indirect light. Even a south-facing window with sheers is good, as long as it doesn't become too hot or the plant is allowed to dry out to the point of wilting.”

African Violet 'Mac's Strawberry Sundae'

This semi-miniature African violet, ‘Mac’s Strawberry Sundae’ (G. McDonald, hybridizer), has coral-red blooms. African violets have many different flower shapes, including singles, stars (5 petals in a star shape), doubles, semidoubles, ruffled doubles, ruffled stars, and wasps (5 petals, with the upper two slightly curled back). Goretsky says the plants will bloom when they get sufficient light. “No amount of care or feeding will encourage them to bloom if they are not receiving enough light. Available light diminishes drastically, the further distance away from a window the plant is grown. A plant grown on a coffee table in the middle of a room will grow, but may not bloom.”

African Violet 'Linda Darnell'

Semi-miniature trailing African violets, like ‘Linda Darnel’ (P. Tracey, hybridizer), grow about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Use room temperature water when you’re watering your plants, and avoid using soft water. African violets actually need some chlorination, but if you can smell the chemical in your chlorinated water, it’s too much.

African Violet 'Candy Fountain'

Try ‘Candy Fountain’ (I. Fredette, hybridizer) in a shallow container or hanging basket. This trailing African violet produces double, rose-pink flowers on long runners and has more than one crown. Be careful not to overwater these plants. An African violet’s soil should be moist, but never soggy.

African Violet 'Milky Way Trail'

‘Milky Way Trail’ (J. Stahl, hybridizer) is a semi-miniature trailer with quilted, heart-shaped leaves. African violets need regular grooming; brush away any dust or dirt with a soft brush, and remove faded flowers and damaged leaves.

African Violet 'Cajun's Simply Elegant' (Kurt Jablonski)

'Cajun’s Simply Elegant' (B. Thibodeaux, hybridizer) has bright pink flowers and variegated leaves. This is a standard, or an African violet that grows 8 to 16 inches in diameter. African violets make wonderful houseplants; they usually thrive in average home temperatures and humidity.