African violets aren’t actually violets at all! Each member of the African violet species list belongs to the Saintpaulia genus and has no relation to Violaceae—the plant family that contains hundreds of species of true violets. African violets get their common name from their superficial resemblance to true violets.
African violets are one of the world’s most popular houseplants, but under conditions, they can be grown also outside. These compact, low-growing plants, flower several times a year, and they are available in a multitude of leaf forms and colors. African violets are distinguished by a rosette of thick, fuzzy leaves and violet-like flowers that bloom just above the evergreen foliage.
Their native environment are the rainforests of Tanzania. Tanzania is an East African country known for its vast wilderness areas. It is always good to know where a plant comes from, as this information will be help you to understand the best conditions for its growth.
How to grow African violets indoors
African violets (Saintpaulias) are one of the world’s most popular houseplants.
Light / Location
The best location for your saintpaulia is in a spot where there isn’t any direct sun on the plant. Enjoys location with a fresh breeze.
Saintpaulia cannot stand the sun’s rays when they touch its leaves directly. Remember that comes from Tanazania’s rain forests and in its native environment grows beneath the jungle canopy.
So the plant rejoices in adequate light but not direct sun.
Absolutely avoid setting it near heat sources such as radiators, because moisture is what this tropical plant needs most.
African violet (Saintpaulia) requires temperatures that are between 18 to 24 degrees Celsius and which never drops below -13 degrees Celsius.
Soil in the pot
A well-drained potting mix is essential for African violets. Poor drainage can cause root rot, in which the plant becomes waterlogged and its leaves begin to fall, so make sure that the plant is never allowed to be exposed to standing water for an extended period of time.
Saintpaulia requires little water.
In spring and summer keep the soil mix a bit moist and check that water drains properly. Water from above, ideally with water that is already at room temperature. Never wet the leaves and flowers of your saintpaulia.
In fall and winter reduce watering and wait for the soil to be thoroughly dry in the surface before watering again.
How to grow African violets outdoors
I have to warn you that is hard to grow succesfully african violet (saintpaulias) outside. Especially on Southern Europe countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, etc.
In most cases, african violets cannot easily survive outdoors. Although they are fairly hardy plants, you need to get their conditions just right. And since african violets hail from the rainforests of Tanzania, your backyard probably isn’t the right place. Outdoor environments are simply too unpredictable to provide the conditions these plants need to grow.
African violets (Saintpaulias) do best in daytime temperatures between 21 to 32 degrees Celsius and nighttime temperatures between 18 to 21 degrees Celsius. They won’t tolerate extended periods outside of these ranges.
But countries around Mediterranean , especially in summer time, experience temperatures higher than the ideal range for african violets to thrive outdoors. It is common to have daytime temperatures above 32 degrees Celsius and nighttime temperatures above 21 degrees Celsius. You will get a better luck growing african violets (saintpaulias) outdoors in other countries.
But if you try to grow african violets (saintpaulias) outdoors, please keep in mind the following advices:
Your African violet needs protection from the sun’s rays. Its sensitive foliage will burn permanently in direct sunlight or if exposed to the sun while wet.
Requires high humidity levels.
Perhaps the best choice is to grow African violet plants in pots outside and move the pots inside when the outside temperatures rise above the ideal range.
Greek name: Σαιντπώλια.
Sources: https://www.nature-and-garden.com/gardening/saintpaulia.html, https://africanvioletresourcecenter.com/will-african-violets-grow-outside/, https://www.thespruce.com/grow-african-violets-indoors-1902733
Tags: ORNAMENTAL PLANTS