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African Violet

Discover the charm of the African violet for your office. Learn about their colours, care tips, and benefits for an inviting workspace.

African Violet Overview

Scientific name:




Water requirements:


Light requirements:

Indirect Sun


Air Purifying, Low Maintenance, Air Humidifying

Table of Contents

Introduction to African Violet

African violet, scientifically known as Saintpaulia, are beloved houseplants that have captured the hearts of plant enthusiasts worldwide. These charming plants are native to the tropical rainforest regions of East Africa, specifically near the border of Tanzania and Kenya. Despite their name, African violets are not closely related to true violets; instead, they belong to the Gesneriaceae family, which includes other popular houseplants like gloxinia and primrose.

One of the most appealing aspects of African violets is their incredible diversity in colours and variations. From the traditional shades of purple to vibrant hues of red, pink, white, indigo, and blue, these plants offer a wide palette to suit any aesthetic preference. The flowers of African violets are reminiscent of violets, with their bilateral symmetry and five delicate petals. The leaves are equally beautiful, featuring a velvety texture and a rich green colour that adds a touch of lushness to any indoor space.

African violets are not only visually stunning but also possess unique qualities that make them an excellent choice for office environments. These low-maintenance plants are easy to grow and care for, even for those without a green thumb. They have the ability to thrive in low light conditions, making them suitable for offices with limited natural light. Additionally, African violets are known for their ability to bloom throughout the year, providing a constant source of colour and beauty to brighten up any workspace.

Detailed Description of African Violets

African violets, with their vibrant colours and charming appearance, are a true delight for plant enthusiasts and novice gardeners alike. These beloved houseplants, scientifically known as Saintpaulia spp., have captured the hearts of many with their unique beauty and easy-to-care-for nature. 

African Violet Colour Palette

One of the most striking features of African violets is their diverse colour palette. While the traditional purple hues are certainly captivating, these plants offer a wide range of shades to suit every taste. From deep, rich purples to delicate lavenders, and even shades of red, pink, white, indigo, and blue, African violets provide a spectrum of colours that can brighten up any space. 

Leaf and Blossom Forms

In addition to their colourful blooms, African violets boast a variety of leaf and blossom forms that contribute to their overall charm. The leaves are typically heart-shaped or rounded, with most being wider than long or about as wide as long. Some varieties feature leaves with scalloped or toothed edges, adding an extra layer of visual interest. The leaves themselves can range from bright green to deep, lush hues, with some even showcasing silvery-green tones or creamy white edges. 

When it comes to the blossoms, African violets offer an array of shapes and forms. Single, semi-double, and double flowers are all common, each with their own distinct appeal. Some varieties even sport ruffled or star-shaped petals, adding a touch of whimsy to the plant’s appearance. The flowers themselves are usually about as high as or only slightly taller than the leaves, creating a well-balanced and visually pleasing display. 

One interesting aspect of African violets is the varying degrees of hairiness on their stems and leaves. Some forms are very hairy, giving them a soft, velvety texture, while others are nearly hairless. This diversity in texture adds to the overall allure of these plants, inviting people to explore and appreciate the subtle differences between varieties.

Growth Habits

African violets are not only prized for their aesthetic qualities but also for their growth habits. These plants are relatively compact, making them perfect for small spaces or office environments. They come in different sizes, ranging from miniature and semi-miniature varieties that are less than 8 inches wide, to standard sizes between 8 and 16 inches wide, and even larger specimens that can exceed 16 inches in width. This variety in size allows plant lovers to choose the perfect African violet to fit their available space and personal preferences.

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 colours: 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 colour: Silvery-green, bright green, deep green; creamy white leaf edges

With their wide array of colours, leaf and blossom forms, and growth habits, African violets offer something for everyone. Whether you’re drawn to the classic purple hues or the more unusual shades of red and blue, these enchanting plants are sure to bring a touch of beauty and joy to your home or office.

Optimal Care Guide for African Violets

African violets are beloved for their vibrant blooms and lush foliage, but to keep them thriving, it’s essential to provide the right care. In this section, we’ll dive into the optimal care guide for African violets, focusing on their light requirements, watering schedule, temperature and humidity preferences, and soil and potting tips.

Light Requirements

One of the most crucial aspects of African violet care is providing the right amount of light. These charming plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight for healthy growth. Aim for a spot that receives ample light but avoids direct sun exposure, which can scorch the delicate leaves. 

African violets require 8 to 12 hours (up to 16 hours) of light per day to bloom. To achieve this, you can place your African violets near an east- or west-facing window, where they’ll receive bright, filtered light. If you notice your plant stretching towards the light or producing fewer blooms, it may be a sign that it needs more light. Conversely, if the leaves appear pale or scorched, it’s a sign of too much direct sunlight.

Watering Schedule

African violets have specific watering needs, and getting it right is key to maintaining healthy plants. These plants prefer consistently moist soil but can be prone to root rot if overwatered. To strike the right balance, water your African violets when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. 

When watering, avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can cause spotting or damage. Instead, water directly into the soil, using room-temperature water. African violets benefit from bottom watering, where you place the pot in a saucer of water and allow the soil to absorb moisture from the bottom up. This method helps prevent overwatering and ensures even moisture distribution.

Temperature and Humidity

African violets thrive in warm, humid environments that mimic their native tropical habitat. The ideal temperature range for these plants is between 18°C to 27°C. Avoid exposing your African violets to cold drafts or extreme temperature fluctuations, as this can stress the plants and hinder growth. Humidity is another crucial factor in African violet care. 

These plants prefer humidity levels around 50-60%. If your home’s air is dry, you can increase humidity around your plants by placing a tray of water nearby, grouping plants together, or using a room humidifier. Alternatively, you can mist the air around your African violets, taking care not to wet the leaves directly.

Soil and Potting Tips

Choosing the right soil mix is essential for the health and vitality of your African violets. These plants require a well-draining, porous soil that allows for proper air circulation and moisture retention. Look for a potting mix specifically formulated for African violets, or create your own by combining equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. 

When it comes to potting, African violets prefer shallow, wide pots that accommodate their shallow root systems. Choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating and causing root rot. Repot your African violets every 6-12 months, or when they outgrow their current container. Be gentle when repotting, as the leaves and stems are delicate and can easily break.

Benefits of African Violets in the Office

African violets are more than just a pretty face in the office. These charming plants offer a host of benefits that can enhance the well-being of employees and create a more pleasant working environment. Let’s explore how these colourful blooms can make a difference in your workspace.

Air Purification

One of the most significant advantages of having African violets in the office is their ability to purify the air. These plants are silent guardians of your respiratory health, working tirelessly to reduce indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene. By filtering out these harmful substances, African violets contribute to a cleaner and healthier atmosphere in the office.

Humidity Regulation

In addition to purifying the air, African violets can also help regulate humidity levels in the office. Low humidity can lead to dry skin, irritated eyes, and even respiratory issues. However, the presence of African violets can boost humidity levels, creating a more comfortable environment for employees. This is particularly beneficial in air-conditioned offices where the air tends to be dry.

Stress Reduction and Mood Enhancement

The vibrant colours and delicate beauty of African violets can have a positive impact on the mental well-being of office workers. Studies have shown that the presence of plants in the workplace can reduce stress levels and improve overall mood. The soothing hues of African violets, ranging from soft pinks to deep purples, can create a calming and uplifting atmosphere, promoting a more positive and productive work environment.

Low Maintenance and Space-Efficient

One of the most appealing aspects of African violets is their low maintenance requirements. These plants are well-suited for busy office spaces where time and resources may be limited. African violets thrive in indirect sunlight and require minimal watering, making them easy to care for even in a fast-paced work environment. Additionally, their compact size allows them to fit seamlessly on desks or shelves without taking up valuable space.

Aesthetic Appeal and Creativity Boost

Beyond their practical benefits, African violets add a touch of beauty and elegance to any office setting. Their vibrant blooms and lush foliage can instantly brighten up a dull or monotonous workspace. The presence of these plants can inspire creativity and foster a more visually appealing environment. Studies have shown that exposure to nature and greenery can enhance cognitive function and boost productivity, making African violets a valuable addition to any office.

Common Issues and Care Tips for African Violets

African violets are beloved houseplants known for their vibrant blooms and lush foliage, but even the most experienced plant enthusiasts may encounter issues from time to time. In this section, we’ll address common problems that may arise when caring for African violets and provide practical solutions to help you maintain the health and vitality of your plants.

Overwatering: A Common Culprit

One of the most frequent issues faced by African violet owners is overwatering. When the soil remains saturated for too long, it can lead to root rot and fungal growth, causing the leaves to appear limp, yellow, or droopy. To prevent overwatering, ensure that your African violet is planted in a well-draining potting mix and that the container has adequate drainage holes. Water your plant only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, and avoid letting the plant sit in standing water.

Pests and Diseases

African violets are also susceptible to various pests and diseases, such as mealybugs, thrips, and powdery mildew. Mealybugs appear as small, white, cottony masses on the leaves and stems, while thrips cause silvery streaks or speckles on the foliage. Powdery mildew manifests as a white, powdery coating on the leaves and flowers. To combat these issues, regularly inspect your plants for signs of infestation and take prompt action. Isolate affected plants to prevent the spread of pests or diseases, and treat them with appropriate insecticidal soaps, neem oil, or fungicides as needed.

Preventative Care Measures

To maintain the health and vitality of your African violets, implement a consistent care routine. Provide your plants with bright, indirect light for optimal growth and flowering. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves. Maintain a consistent temperature between 18°C to 24°C and ensure adequate humidity levels by placing a tray of water near the plants or using a humidifier. Regularly remove dead or damaged leaves and spent blooms to promote healthy growth and prevent fungal issues.

Furthermore, feed your African violets with a balanced, water-soluble fertiliser specifically formulated for these plants. Follow the recommended application frequency and dilution rates to avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to salt buildup and root damage. Periodically flush the soil with clean water to remove any accumulated salts.

Fun Facts and Trivia about African Violets

African violets, with their vibrant colours and charming appearance, have captured the hearts of plant enthusiasts for over a century. These beloved houseplants have a fascinating history and unique properties that make them stand out from other flora.

In the language of flowers, African violets whisper of devotion and faithfulness, making them a perfect gift for those wanting to convey a message of loyalty. Each colour variation adds a layer of meaning—purple for spirituality, blue for peace, pink for innocence, and white for purity. These delicate blooms not only beautify our living spaces but also carry symbolic significance.

The mystery surrounding African violets extends beyond their discovery. In 2012, National Geographic published an article titled “Mystery of the African Violet,” in which the author, Andrew Evans, recounted his encounter with a rare species of African violet, Saintpaulia pusilla, in Tanzania’s Udzungwa Mountains. This species was previously thought to be extinct in the wild, adding to the allure and intrigue of these enchanting plants.

African violets are not true violets at all but belong to the Gesneriad family, which includes other stunning plants like gloxinias and lipstick plants. This diverse family is known for its colourful and unique flowers, with African violets being one of the most popular and widely cultivated members.

The Udzungwa Mountains, where African violets originate, are a biodiversity hotspot renowned for their high number of endemic species. These mountains provide the perfect conditions for African violets to thrive, with their cool, humid climate and filtered sunlight. The specific environmental requirements of African violets contribute to their rarity and the need for conservation efforts to protect their natural habitats.

Discover the charm of the African violet for your office. Learn about their colours, care tips, and benefits for an inviting workspace.


We’ve explored the captivating world of African violets, scientifically known as Saintpaulia spp. These beloved houseplants offer a stunning array of colours and variations, making them a perfect choice for enhancing the aesthetics of any office environment.

From their diverse colour palette, ranging from traditional purples to vibrant reds, pinks, whites, indigos, and blues, to their unique leaf and blossom forms, African violets possess an undeniable charm and beauty. We’ve delved into the optimal care requirements for these plants, including their light preferences, watering schedules, temperature and humidity needs, and soil and potting tips. By providing your African violets with the right conditions, you can ensure their healthy growth and continuous blooming.

So, why not bring the joy and benefits of African violets into your office space? Consider reaching out to Aztec Plants, a trusted provider of plant hire services, to explore the possibilities of incorporating these stunning plants into your work environment. Their expertise and dedication to delivering high-quality plants will ensure that your office is transformed into a lush and inviting oasis.

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