© RHS / Tim Sandall


African violets

Botanical name: Streptocarpus (formerly Saintpaulia)

With their charming flowers and velvety leaves, these compact houseplants will cheer up even the smallest room. Originally from tropical climes, they like warmth, humidity and indirect light. Keep them happy and they’ll bloom on and on.


Small plants with downy leaves and clusters of flowers in shades of purple, pink, red and white. These may be single colours or several hues, with a small dot of yellow stamens in the centre.


African violets thrive on lots of gentle indirect light, consistent warmth and a humid atmosphere. Water and feed regularly to encourage flowering.


Position them out of strong sunlight, as this can scorch leaves. They dislike dry air, and overly dry or soggy compost. Avoid cold temperatures, cold water and cold draughts.

Did you know?

African violets are easy to grow from leaf cuttings. Simply snip off a leaf at the base of the stem, insert the stem into free-draining compost, so the leaf sits at the surface, then cover the pot with a clear plastic bag. A baby plant will form at the base of the leaf in about a month.

Growing guide

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