All about History Of African Violets and Facts, Origin, Names

The indoor violet has rightfully won many window sills, and greenhouses. This small flower conquers with its compactness, aesthetics, and excellent flowering.

But still, most people mistakenly call them violets, because almost nothing connects them with the plants that bear this name.

The official name is Saintpaulia, in some sources they are nevertheless called Uzambara violets.

So which family do violets belong to? What is the difference between Saintpaulias and how to distinguish them?

history of african violets

Natural growing area of African Violets

The progenitors of modern indoor pets grow up in Africa. The massifs of the Ulugur and Usambar (Uzambar) African mountains are the natural areoles of Saintpaulias, most varieties are located on the slopes of the latter and therefore received a second name, Usambar (African violet) violet.

In East Africa, violets grow in humid climates, often near waterfalls, on river terraces. In such conditions, there is a lot of water dust and fog, and the soil is light and allows moisture and air to pass through well.

Origin History of African Violets

The description of indoor plants should begin with the history of their finding in nature.

Walter von Saint-Paul, Commandant of the Usambar District of German East Africa – German Colony. In 1892, studying the flora and fauna of the territories subordinated to him, he discovered flowers in the mountains, collected seeds to understand what kind of plant it was.

Then they were sent to his father, who was the president of the German Dendrological Society, Ulrich von Saint-Paul, so they got to Hermann Wendland.

The scientist called the cultivated plant grown in 1893 Saintpaulia, and for the shape of the flower, the name was given to the addition of violet. This species was singled out as a separate genus, named after the father and son of those who discovered it.

Further, the flower was presented at an exhibition in Goethe, where the rights to cultivate on an industrial scale were bought by the Benari company.

Violets were brought to the United States in 1927 and recognized there as ideal indoor plants. From that moment on, the mass breeding of new varieties began and by 1949 there were already 100 of them, and today their number is more than 32 thousand.

Important! More than 2000 varieties were bred by domestic breeders.

Check out details on Blue African Violets With Photos And Names.

Biological classification of African Violets

So, what is a violet from a biological point of view – is it a herb or not? Saintpaulias are assigned to a separate genus – they are evergreen herbaceous plants of the Gesneriaceae family.

The structure of the room violet is as follows:

  • the stem is shortened, which leads to the formation of a rosette of leaves;
  • the leaves are respectively arranged in rows and are very close to each other;
  • leaves on the stem, round, fleshy and leathery, covered with villi;
  • the base of the leaves is usually slightly heart-shaped, and the top is rounded or slightly pointed;
  • the color of the leaves varies from dark to light green, there are also variegated-spotted, sometimes almost white.

Further, is the violet a monocotyledonous or dicotyledonous plant? The house plant, the violet, is dicotyledonous. Flowers collected in a cluster usually have five petals, several stamens, and one pistil. The calyx consists of five sepals located on a receptacle. The violet color scheme is shown in the picture below.

After pollination, a seedbox is formed. The seeds themselves are very small, have an average germination rate, which is lost over time.

Based on this information, you can add up the passport of a houseplant:

  • plant passport in biology:
    • Kingdom: plants;
    • Department: flowering;
    • Class: bipartite;
    • Order: clear-colored;
    • Family: Gesneriaceae;
    • Genus: Saintpaulia;
    • Application: indoor plants;
    • Natural areola: mountainous areas of eastern Africa.
  • plant passport violet for kindergarten simplified:
    • Kingdom: plants;
    • Department: flowering;
    • Genus: Saintpaulia;
    • Usage: indoor plants.

African Violets varieties

Indoor violet is a representative of the family of perennial herbaceous plants. Prefers small pots for “life”, as it has a small root system.

It is classified according to the following main features:

  1. The characteristic of a flower usually starts with the size of the rosette :
    1. Micromini . The circumference does not exceed 8 cm. It is grown in light soil with good air permeability. In order to avoid drying out of the soil and death of the flower, a wick irrigation system is organized – simple and effective;
    2. Mini – up to 14 cm. Differs in good germination, vitality. The rosettes have bright saturated colors. For high-quality soil moisture it is recommended to use a “wick”; want to know about Miniature Violets.
    3. Half – mini – up to 20 cm in diameter. The breeder I. Milekhin can be called the ancestor of this group. A peculiarity of the variety is the fear of direct sunlight;
    4. Standard – from 20 to 40 cm. The most unpretentious variety.Classification by outlet size.
  1. Inflorescence size:
    1. Small flowers – 1-3 cm;
    2. Medium flowers – up to 4 cm;
    3. Large flowers – up to 6 cm;
    4. The largest are over 6 cm.
  2. Flower shape:
    1. Pansies (Cinderella’s Dream, Kimi’s Melody). Inflorescences have 5 petals arranged in 2 rows: a pair of small ones in the upper row, three larger ones in the lower row;
    2. Star (“Goddess of Beauty”, “Magic of Love”). The petals do not differ in size, they are located in one row;
    3. Bell (“Admiral”, “Chanson”). Inflorescence in the form of a bud (accrete petals) in the form of a bell;
    4. Bowl (“Boo Myung”). Partially open cup-like bud;
    5. Wasp (“Zemfira”, “Sputnik”). Feature – 5 separated petals: a pair of short ones are rolled up in the form of a tube, 3 long ones hang freely to the bottom.
  3. Flower color scale:
    1. Solid colors: white, red, yellow, purple, pink, etc .;
    2. Two-tone – the color of the bud is uneven;
    3. Multicolor – the shade of the tips of the petals is contrasting with the rest of the flower;
    4. Ribbed;
    5. Fingers: the color resembles a fingerprint on a petal;
    6. Eye: monotonous or contrasting shade in the middle of the bud;
    7. Mesh;
    8. Fantasy;
    9. Chimera.
  4. By leaf color:
  1. Dark green;
  2. Light green;
  3. Variegated (spotted).

Advice! An amateur florist is advised to begin acquaintance with the varieties of mini-violets, as with the most unpretentious and easy to cultivate.

It is rather difficult to answer exactly how many varieties of violets exist since their number increases every year. More than 32,000 varieties are now known.

Often the varieties are very similar to each other, but a slight difference in the shade of the leaves or flowers, as well as their forms, gives rise to a new variety. In addition, a daughter individual, which is slightly different from the mother, but not so much as to be a separate variety, is often called a sport, for example, “Firebird sport”.

By the way, for violets, names are often given starting with capital letters, which indicate who bred a given variety, for example:

  • EK – Elena Korshunova ;
  • AN – Andreeva Natalia ;
  • RS – Svetlana Repkina ;
  • NK – Natalia Kozak ;
  • YAN – Natalia Puminova;
  • DEO – Olga Aksyonkina ;
  • LIK – Galina Lazarenko ;
  • SM – Konstantin Morev , etc.

Below you will see pictures of indoor plants, which show how much, and sometimes little, different varieties differ from each other:

  • LE-Champagne – terry variety, dark-leaved, fantasy color, standard size;
  • LE-Blondi – a double-toned, light-leaved variety of a standard size;
  • RS-Ariel – variegated finger variety, standard size;
  • Rob’s Vanilla Trail – ampelous, dark-leaved, one-color, terry;
  • Shirl’s Purple Passion – variegated, classic flower shape, solid color, mini;
  • N-Avatar – variegated, half-mini, bell flower, monochromatic.

History of African Violets Energy influences and superstitions

The characteristic of indoor violets will be incomplete without mentioning their energy component. Violets are very sensitive not only to drafts from the window but also to poor energy in the house.

In homes where there is a lot of fights, and family members suffer from mood swings and depression, violets usually bloom poorly and tend to disappear.

Attention! The sign of the zodiac to which the violet corresponds is Taurus. Like this sign, Saintpaulias symbolize harmony, stability, and tranquility.

Violet brings peace and harmony to the house, cleans the space of negativity. By bringing wealth to the home, it improves health and prolongs life.

The energy of plants depends in part on their color:

  • whites – purity, femininity, peace, tranquility, liberation from the oppressive. This color is suitable for calming, both for people in a state of aggression, and for those who are very emotionally sensitive.Dulling the feeling of anger, worries and fears, communication with a white violet brings calmness. It is recommended to put white violets in the rooms where children live, especially if quarrels often arise between them;
  • reds of all shades – cleanse the house of negative energy, treat depression, and help pessimists. A person who has a violet of such flowers in his house begins to have a more positive attitude towards his life;
  • blue and blue – personify the union of the earthly and air, awakens creativity. Often they are placed in the rooms of children who are trying to teach art – music, singing, drawing. And also the blue color reduces appetite, and it is useful to place them in the kitchen, wishing to lose weight;
  • purple – help mutual understanding, comprehension of the spiritual, wise, as well as for meditation and reading the future. They are set up by teachers, writers, psychologists, philosophers and thinkers.

Life Cycles of African Violets

When buying a little baby, it always becomes interesting how many such flowers grow. Violets grow quite quickly, from a small baby to an adult blooming violet in just six months to a year, depending on the variety.

life cycles of african violets

No more than a year passes from the cutting to the adult plant.

Violets are propagated by leaves, stepsons, and peduncles. Children from stepchildren bloom most quickly, later than all from peduncles.

Violet growth stages can be divided:

  1. Cutting from a leaf or peduncle (leaves are taken from the second – third row, rooted in a convenient way);
  2. A baby from a cuttings or a stepson (children are separated from the cuttings when they reach a height that allows them to exist independently, the stepsons are separated from the mother at about the same size, preferably with several roots);
  3. Starter or teenager (violet, which is ready to bloom, and often already blooms, but has not yet gained adult growth);
  4. An adult.

Shoots or stepchildren are formed in the leaf axils. They grow quite quickly and when they grow to the size of a big baby, they are removed.

Important! Knowing how violets grow in nature, growing them at home will not cause many difficulties.

Features of the plant and interesting facts about the violet

Violets are very delicate, fragile and at the same time they are resistant to various irritants and changes in conditions. Saintpaulias tolerate care shortcomings well if they are not critically triggered.

Interestingly, there are two legends at once about the origin of violets on the slopes of the African mountains:

  • the first legend says about the tears of Adam, which turned into flowers of Saintpaulias;
  • the second version is Greek – Zeus, the supreme god of Olympus, turned a nymph into this flower, fleeing from Apollo and asking for protection.

They also believe that violets should not be placed in the house of unmarried women, because they drive men away from the house. But such a sign accompanies many colors, most often unreasonably.


African violets are insanely beautiful representatives of the Gesneriaceae family. The correct name for the flower is Saintpaulia and it is important to understand the difference between the violet and this princess of the windowsill and to know their biological description. There are many interesting facts and superstitions around these plants; learning them can be useful and very informative.

This article tells everything about indoor violets for beginners so that caring for it brings joy and pleasure.

I am an avid plant enthusiast and horticulture aficionado with a deep passion for houseplants. With years of nurturing green companions, my expertise in caring for indoor foliage is well-rooted. Through my journey, I've cultivated insights into optimal plant care, propagation techniques, and creating vibrant indoor ecosystems. Join me as we explore the verdant world of houseplants together. Let's turn your living space into a thriving oasis of botanical beauty. Connect with me on and Facebook and explore more at Houseplantspro. 🌿🪴