African Violet Care Overview

  • Sunlight

    Bright indirect

  • Soil

    Well-draining, rich

  • Watering

    Allowed to dry between watering.

  • Temperature


  • Humidity

    Dry tolerant. 80% preferred

  • Toxic

    Toxic to people and pets

A vibrant pink African violet plant in a nursery pot. The plant is surrounded by various gardening supplies, including a watering can, soil, trowel, and sprayer. Other African violet plants are also present, with their petals fading from pink to white. There is soil and petals scattered around the objects.

Colors and Cultivars

Since being discovered in 1982, African Violet enthusiasts have hybridized the original species producing more than 16,000 cultivars that appear in wide varieties of foliage with blue, purple, pink, or white clustered blooms (2).

These plants are so popular that societies such as the African Violet Society of America dedicate themselves to the preservation, education, and community surrounding them.

African Violet Care Requirements

African Violets are among the easiest and most rewarding of any houseplants to grow because once their basic requirements are met, they require little attention to keep looking fabulous. Follow the below recommendations to create a suitable environment for your African Violets.

A close-up of light-colored African violet petals with yellow anthers. The petals are being illuminated by sunshine, creating a bright and vibrant appearance.


Getting lighting correct is the most challenging part of growing African Violets because they require bright, indirect exposure for around 10 hours a day. African Violets will not bloom unless they are given proper light. Avoid direct sunlight because it will burn the leaves and wilt the flower (1).

Artificial lighting such as LEDs and fluorescent grow bulbs are popular with African Violets because they help maintain year-round blooming.

A pair of hands repotting a pink African violet plant outdoors on the pavement. The hands are wearing tennis shoes and holding a gardening tool, while the plant is in a nursery pot surrounded by soil. There is grass visible in the background, and the weather appears sunny.


African Violets grow best in organically rich soil that is porous, aerating, and slightly acidic. Commercially sold soil mixes may be used as they obtain proper nutrients, but custom substrates may better suit your African Violet and environment. For example, consider the following mixture from the Missouri Botanical Garden Organization:

African Violet Soil Mix:

1 part peat moss

1 part garden soil

1 part perlite/vermiculite

A blue African violet with blustering blooms, featuring water droplets sprinkled on the petals. The front light highlights the contrast between the flowers and the darker background.


African Violets like bottom watering because it avoids getting water on their sensitive crown and stems. Soil should be throughly watered, then allowed to dry in between waterings.

I water my African Violets with distilled water because more sensitive plants have had trouble with the minerals. However, many people use tap water without consequence.

Fine hairs on the leaves of the plant help redirect water away from the central crown of the plant as it may cause rot (1).

The image shows a tropical rainforest or jungle with a waterfall in the background. Clouds of mist are billowing up, framing the mountainous, tree-covered background.


African Violets prefer humidity levels at about 80% and temptures between 65°F and 80°F as these are standard in their native climate. Fortunately for us, they also tolerate less-than-perfect humidity conditions. Adding humidifiers helps increase atmospheric humidity but avoid misting the leaves as this may cause spotting (8).

The image features a small brown and black dog resembling a pug or chihuahua standing next to a non-toxic houseplant, the African violet, in a wicker basket. The scene takes place on a pine floor with a gray background.


According to the ASPCA, African Violets are non-toxic to dogs, cats, and humans. However, I would not suggest eating one because, unlike other violets, they are not considered edible.


Fertilizing your African Violet can help it continue to bloom and grow especially if it is missing nutrients in it's container.

Typically, fertilizers formulated for flowering plants are higher in phosphorus than nitrogen, with a common analysis ratio of 8-14-9. The African Violet Society of America advises against using fertilizers containing urea as the nitrogen source, as it can be harmful to African violets, causing root damage and burning (7).

The image shows a ring of African violets propagating in cups, arranged in a circle on a white background. Each cup contains a singular leaf and sometimes multiple buds sprout from the leaf.

African Violet Propagation

One of the reasons African Violets are beloved houseplants is their relative ease of propagation. Leaf cuttings, choose a healthy leaf and cut it with a sharp knife, leaving 1 to 1½ inches of the leaf stem attached. Insert the petiole into a moistened 50:50 mix of vermiculite and coarse sand at a 45-degree angle, and firm the medium around it. Cover the cuttings with a clear plastic bag and set them in a bright area. After 3 to 4 weeks, roots should form, and new leaves will appear in about 6 to 8 weeks. Separate the multiple plants that grow from each petiole by carefully cutting or pulling them apart, and pot them individually in well-draining soil (5).

Common Problems with African Violets

Luckily for us, African Violets visually communicate when they are in distress which helps us diagnose their ailments, and healthy, well-maintained plants are less likely to develop disease and fungus. Below is a graph of some of the common conditions of African Violets. Always be mindful of visual cues from plants, such as wilting or discoloration. And be sure to sterilize gardening shears with vinegar or rubbing alcohol to help prevent infections and disease.

  • The image features a drooping pink African violet with many clustered blooms.

    Drooping Leaves

    African Violets that are thirsty of suffering from low temperature will droop.

  • The image shows a yellow leaf of an African violet plant, with other nearby leaves also turning yellow due to overwatering

    Yellowing Leaves

    African Violets leaves naturally turn yellow as they age or because of overwatering.

  • The image depicts a plant covered in white, powdery mildew that has been caused by excessive humidity. The plant is being removed to prevent contamination.

    White Powdered Leaves

    African Violets are suseptible to powdery mildew from excessive humidity exposure.

  • The image shows a dead African violet plant in a nursery pot placed on a white background.

    Brown Crispy Leaves

    If an African violet is completely brown and crispy, it may be difficult to revive. However if green remains, gently trim back dead foliage.

Other African Violet Problems

  • Crown and stem rot-The plant will look sickly in the center, likely from overwatering.

    Burnt or dry leaf tips- Lack of moisture

    Brown spots on leaves- leaf scorch from sunburn

    Curling leaves- The light levels are too low

  • Dark leaves and leggy- Not enough sunlight

    light green/bleached- Too much sunlight

    Mushy stems/leaves- root rot from overwatering

The image features a purple African violet plant in a Happy Roots Plant Pot Liner, being lifted out of a handmade black glazed ceramic plant pot by a hand. In the background, there are metal sculptures placed on a pine table, and a white background serves as the backdrop.

I hope this article will help you bloom! African Violets are rewarding and relatively easy to maintain. At Happy Roots, we create double-lined and bottom watering compatible plant pots that are an excellent choice for African Violets. Happy Gardening!


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Works Cited

1. African Violet Resource Center - How to care for African Violets

2. African Violet Society of America - Learn Violets 101

3. Almanac - African Violets

4. ASPCA - African Violet

5. Iowa State University - How can I propagate an African violet?

6. Missouri Botanical Garden - Gardening Help FAQs

7. PennState Extension - Why Isn't My African Violet Flowering?

8. Smithsonian Gardens - Care of African Violets

9. The Gesneriad Reference Web - The African Violet by Dr. Jeff Smith

Images Cited

  • All images are owned or licensed content.

    1. African Violet (Saintpaulia) By Sergey Lavrentev

    2. Wild Saintpaulia By Patrik Stedrak

    3. Potted Saintpaulia violet flowers. Planting potted flowers and garden tools for pot plants on wooden board. By chamillew

    4. Beautiful violet plant with blue flowers, close up By Africa Studio

    5. The hands of the transplant woman plant a in a new pot. botany at home. African violet By filippo

    6. violets By sokol

    7. Beautiful hidden Ekom Waterfall deep in the tropical rain forest of Cameroon, Africa By Fabian

  • 8. Small Brussels Griffon, puppy poses with an african violet in the studio with a tan background By TBergphoto

    9. saintpaulia (african violets) cutting with sprouts around white background. presentation different variations at windowsill. By anakondasp

    10. Violets By SASHA

    11. Yellow and green leaves of violet. Houseplant with yellow leaves. A sick houseplant By Natalia

    12. Symptoms of powdery mildew pathogen infection on petunia x hybrida. By Anna

    13. Dead dry plant of African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) in pot on white background By Nadya So

    14. African Violet in Happy Roots Plant Pot by Happy Roots