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University of Minnesota Extension

African violets

Quick facts

African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) are low maintenance, easy to grow houseplants. They reliably bloom several times a year when cared for properly.

Native to Eastern Africa, these popular houseplants are in the same family (Gesneriaceae) as gloxinia and primrose.

Small round plant with dark green leaves and lavender flowers with ruffled purple edges
‘Lovestruck’ has single lavender flowers with a violet ruffled edge

Plant characteristics

  • Size
    • Miniature / semi-miniature - less than 8 inches wide
    • Standard - 8 to 16 inches wide
    • Large - more that 16 inches wide
  • Plant form - round, mound, rosette
  • Flower colors - white, pink, maroon, blue, lavender, violet, deep purple
  • Flower shapes - single, semi-double, double, ruffled, star, wasp
  • Leaf shape - Round, heart-shaped, oval; fuzzy, velvety texture
  • Leaf color - Silvery-green, bright green, deep green; creamy white leaf edges


Growing African violets


African violet problems


Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2018

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