African Violets have been much loved as houseplants since Victorian plant hunters first encountered them growing in Tanzania. They are incredibly diverse, but excellent for indoor growing. They are generally undemanding and thrive best in dappled light.

Latin
Saintpaulia ionantha.
Gesneriaceae family.

Difficulty
Moderately easy

Season & Zone
Exposure: Shade
Zone: Not hardy - for indoor growing only

Starting

Start these perennial houseplants at any time of year, as long as the ambient room temperature is steadily in the range of 20-27°C, (68-80°F). Sow the tiny seeds over the surface of dampened seed starting mix. Be sure the mix contains some balanced organic fertilizer, or use fertilized solution when dampening the mix prior to sowing. Otherwise, the seeds will germinate but not grow at all. Germination starts at 14th day at room temperature.

Growing

Grow indoors only. Provide good window light, but not direct sunlight. Grow lights work well. Seedling growth speeds up after 2 1/2 months, so be ready to pot the plants on as needed. Flowering typically begins after 5-6 months. Use soil that is loose, freely draining, and rich in organic matter. Repot once a year with new soil. Keep the soil slightly moist at all times, and use room-temperature water. Avoid getting the foliage and flowers wet - some people prefer watering them from beneath, into a tray below the pot.