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Streptocarpus ionanthus is often confused with:
Episcia cupreata Episcia cupreata 'Silver Sheen'
Fittonia albivenis Leaves with pink veins
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Salvia rosmarinus Rosmarinus officinalis
Goeppertia makoyana Calathea makoyana
Acalypha wilkesiana Acalypha wilkesiana
Streptocarpus ionanthus has some common insect problems:
Mealybugs
Mealybugs Found on Flowers and Foliage

African Violet Streptocarpus ionanthus

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called African Violet:

Previously known as:

  • Saintpaulia ionantha
  • Saintpaulia tongwensis
Phonetic Spelling
strep-toh-KAR-pus eye-oh-NAN-thus
Description

The African Violet is an evergreen tropical perennial herb to 15 cm.  A very popular potted houseplant that is easily distinguished from other desktop plants by its rosette of fuzzy leaves with long petioles and by its flowers in anthocyanin pigments, which are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that, depending on their pH, may appear red, purple, blue, or black.

As it is rarely grown outdoors, it prefers interior sites with bright, filtered light and moist soil, however, allow the surface to dry before watering, occasionally immerse.  It thrives in high humidity, so mist with tepid water when not in flower.  It also requires high fertility medium for continued rebloom. It is intolerant of dry air or very cold water.   

Consistent temperatures will also contribute to the plants health.  If the nighttime temperature is allowed to dip below 60 degrees, the plant will become stunted as temperatures rise and can experience a long recovery period.  Maintaining a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees is optimum.  

It is vest grown in a mixture of 23 parts sphagnum peat moss, 2 parts vermiculite and 1 part perlite.  This mixture will allow the water to pass through quickly.  Add lime to balance the acidity of the peat moss.  Plant with the crown above the surface with the soil pressed around it.  Good drainage is essential.  Allowing water to sit on the surface can cause the plant to decay.  When watering, water from the bottom while keeping the leaves dry.  Watering the leaves can leave spots or rings.  

Plants mature in 2 to 5 years.

Leaves on the African Violet are referred to as lobes.  A low to medium maintenance plant, the removal of dead or yellowed leaves will maintain a beautiful specimen.  

Quick ID

  • Flowers are in anthocyanin pigments
  • Leaves are in basal rosettes & emerge from center
  • Inflorescence is a compound dichasium
  • Leaves are pubescent with red, pink, or purple undersides

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Generally disease free.  Insects that may damage this plant include vine weevil, thrips, mealybugs, mites and glasshouse leafhoppers. 

Overwatering, which leads to  is the number one issue with this plant.

 

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#evergreen#houseplant#perennials#white flowers#purple flowers#frost tender#blue flowers#showy leaves#interiorscape#herbaceous#herbaceous perennials#hairy leaves#subshrub#fantz#compact habit#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#compact#container plant#dry air tolerant#greenhouse plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#evergreen#houseplant#perennials#white flowers#purple flowers#frost tender#blue flowers#showy leaves#interiorscape#herbaceous#herbaceous perennials#hairy leaves#subshrub#fantz#compact habit#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#compact#container plant#dry air tolerant#greenhouse plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Streptocarpus
    Species:
    ionanthus
    Family:
    Gesneriaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Leaf Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern & South Western Tanzania
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Colorful
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    11b, 11a, 12a, 12b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Trumpet
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Inflorescence dichasium to small cyme on a scape that rises above the leaves, flowers 3-10. Flowers light blue to purple to white, to .9 inches diameter, single to double; calyx 5-parted; corolla tube short, cylindrical, opening to 2 lips, upper lip 2-lobed, lower lip 3-lobed; stamens 2 (-5), anthers yellow, style exerted. Buds, pedicels, and sepals are pubescent.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Velvety
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Orbicular
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The thick, wrinkled leaves form basal rosettes, are simple, ovate to orbicular, obtuse, crenate, highly pubescent. Medium to dark green above, red, pink, or purple beneath. Petioles are long in proportion to the leaf blade and may be green or red.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    green acaulescent
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Problems:
    Frequent Insect Problems