Saintpaulia ionantha (African Violet)

Scientific Name

Saintpaulia ionantha H. Wendl.

Common Names

African Violet, Usambara Violet


Petrocosmea ionantha, Saintpaulia kewensis, Saintpaulia tongwensis, Streptocarpus ionanthus

Scientific Classification

Family: Gesneriaceae
Genus: Saintpaulia


Color: Violet, purple, bright violet-blue
Bloom Time: Flowers freely


Saintpaulia ionantha is a tender flowering indoor perennial that grows up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall and up to 12 inches (30 cm) wide. It is a low, compact plant with attractive dark green hairy, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long leaves. The bright violet-blue flowers are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter and borne in small panicles just above the foliage.

Saintpaulia ionantha (African Violet)
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USDA hardiness zone 11a to 12b: from 40 °F (+4.4 °C) to 60 °F (15.6 °C).

How to Grow and Care

African Violets will thrive in bright, warm, and humid conditions. Keep water from touching their leaves, or it will leave brown spots. Remove dead flowers and leaves as soon as you have seen them to encourage a healthier plant. Regularly check the soil and plant to make sure there is no accumulation of dead leaves. This will encourage rot.

Growing these houseplants is really a matter of balance. You have to make sure that the different factors that go into their cultivation are weighted against each other. They should be kept in moist enough conditions that they don't dry out yet are still exposed to a fresh breeze to avoid letting them get too stuffy and exposed to sunlight without damaging their leaf tips. Don't be discouraged if your African Violets suffer some damage. It is all part of the process.

African Violets do better when they are slightly underpotted. Repot only when necessary into a pot that is one size up. To repot these plants, simply grab the plant as a whole, lift it, and replace it into a larger container, making sure not to damage their root systems in the process. See more at How to Grow and Care for African Violets.


It is native to Kenya and Tanzania.



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