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Bernieh's Garden

African Violet

Genus: Saintpaulia.

Species: Saintpaulia ionatha.

Common name: African violet
Botanic name: Saintpaulia ionantha
Family: Gesneriaceae

Named after Baron Walter von Saint Paul, who first discovered this plant. This plant is native to tropical East Africa. As this plant requires mild to warm temperatures and filtered light it is usually seen as an indoor plant.

Common problems and solutions

Lighting: The lack of good light is one of the main reasons that African violets do not produce flowers indoors. Light helps feed the plants and they'll starve if left in a dark spot. African violet leaves become ratty and horrible as they feebly reach out towards the light, desperate for sustenance.

The best position for your African violet is within 30cm (12") of a window. If the window is facing north, and therefore gets the very hot sun, you may need to screen the window with a sheer curtain or blind as the strong northern light will burn the plants.

Water worries: Overwatering is the most common killer of African violets. To overcome this use one of the wick watering systems available. The wick passes through the bottom of the pot and into a reservoir of water at its base. Here the wick soaks up water as the plant needs it.

Ordinary potting mixes are not well enough aerated for African violets so you may want to use one of the special mixes available. Debco African Violet and Gloxinia Mixture is a reliable mixture although you may wish to add more perlite or vermiculite to lighten the mix.

Fertilising: You can fertilise your plants two or three times a year. There are special African violet fertilisers (such as the Kenrose African Violet Fertiliser) on the market available at garden centres. Alternatively use Aquasol or Nitrosol.

Photos of this plant

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Reminders for this plant

Due over 11 years ago:

Fertilise