African Violets: The Complete Plant Care Guide

If you’re looking for a beautiful and easy-to-care-for houseplant, the african violet is perfect for you! These lovely plants come in a variety of colors, and are very popular among gardeners. They are number one on our list of plants that don’t need sunlight.

In this guide, we will discuss how to care for african violets, including tips on watering and fertilizing. We’ll also answer some common questions about these plants, such as “are african violets poisonous to cats?” Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, read on for everything you need to know about growing african violets!

The flowering Saintpaulia Ionantha, often known as African violet, is a low, compact plant with lovely dark green thickly haired leaves. The most common variety of African Violet is a blue-violet shade, but there are also pink, fuchsia, and white cultivars. Newer violets include not only cultivars with single flowers, but also those with semi-double or double rows of petals.


  • Name:  Saintpaulia ionantha
  • Common Name: African Violet, Cape Marigold
  • Type: Houseplant
  • Region Of Origin: Eastern & South Western Tanzania

How to care for African Violets

How much light do African Violets need?

African violets are #1 on our list of plants that don’t need sunlight. They are one of the best plants to survive and even thrive in artificial light, making them a great choice for your office.

If they are near a source of natural light, make sure they are not getting more than 2 hours of direct sunlight a day. More than that and your African Violet may get too much light, according to NC State’s Plant toolbox.

How often do you water African Violets?

African Violets prefer moist soil at all times, but the foliage and leaves should be kept dry. Water on the leaves may even cause discoloring on your African Violet, so it’s best to use watering globes or a mister directly on the soil to keep them healthy. Our favorite watering technique is to use self-watering African Violet planters, this keeps them perfectly moist.

Water must be able to drain freely. Allowing water to sit on the surface may cause the plant to decay.

African Violets are intolerant to very cold water - so make sure your water is luke warm before watering.

What is the best soil for African Violets?

African violets must have porous soil to allow water to drain easily. Soilless mixtures are the best option. Aim for a mix of 3 parts peat moss, 2 parts vermiculite, and 1 part perlite. This soilless mix is perfect, as it also contains a hint of lime. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, a hint of lime will help balance the acidity of your African Violet plant.

African Violets thrive when fertilized. We love to use liquid fertilizers designed specifically for African Violets.

Are African Violets toxic houseplants?

Are African Violets poisonous to children?

No. African Violets are on University of California’s safe list of houseplants for Children.

Are African Violets poisonous to dogs?

No. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), African violets are non-toxic for dogs.

Are African Violets poisonous to cats?

No. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), African violets are non-toxic for cats.

Are African Violets poisonous to rabbits?

No. While they are not recommended as a frequent snack for your Rabbit, they are not listed as a poisonous houseplant on The Sacramento House Rabbit Society’s master list.

Are African Violets poisonous to guinea pigs?

While African Violets are safe for dogs and cats, Guinea Pigs have highly-sensitive digestive systems. Because of this, African Violets are not safe for Guinea Pigs to consume.

How do you prune African Violets?

When your African Violet has yellowing leaves, it’s time to prune. Leaves on the African Violet are known as lobes. Cutting off these yellow leaves will keep your African Violet thriving.


See our in-depth guide to propagating African Violets.

Saintpaulia ionantha

How to pot and repot African Violets

Potting your African Violet

Pot African Violets in pots with drainage holes. If you’re potting an African Violet for the first time, be sure to use a soilless mix to allow proper air and drainage. Make sure to set the plant with the crown just above the surface and the soil firmly pressed around it.

The best pots for African Violets

African Violets are 6 to 9 inches wide on average and need moist soil that can properly drain. We had our team research to find the perfect formula and found the best pots for your African Violet.

the best pots for african violets
one / two / three / four / five / six

How to transplant your African Violet

If your African Violet is root-bound (the roots are coming out of the bottom of the pot), then it’s time to re-pot into a larger container. We love this guide on how to transplant African Violets.

Common Issues

The number one issue for African Violets is overwatering. Excessive watering will lead to root or crown rot.

African Violets are generally disease-free and don’t often attract insects. That said, insects that may damage this plant include vine weevil, thrips, mealybugs, mites, and glasshouse leafhoppers. 


Why does my African Violet have yellowing leaves?

This means it’s time to prune your plant. Cut the leaves off as close to the root as possible to allow your plant to thrive.

How often do you water African Violets?

When the soil starts to look dry, it’s time to water your African Violet.

How do you know where to buy African Violets?

This is the easiest place to buy an African Violet, however, they can be found in your local Plant Nursery and are often available in local grocery stores.

How to get African Violets to bloom

We love watching this great tip on how to get your African Violets to bloom.

How to use self-watering pots for African Violets?

Self-watering planters are a great way to keep the soil of your African Violet moist while keeping the foliage dry.

To summarize, the key to success with African Violet plant care is:

- water when the soil is dry

- prune when the leaves are yellowing

- use a self-watering pot to keep the soil moist

- use a soilless mixture

- place in a bright, indirect location

We hope you enjoyed this complete guide to African Violet plant care! Be sure to bookmark this page for future reference. Happy Planting!

Be sure to check out our other guides on how to care for your houseplants and our favorite flowers that don’t need sunlight.