Care Of Indoor Violets: How To Grow Violets Indoors

By: Liz Baessler

Violets are easy to love. They’re beautiful, they’re fragrant, and they’re virtually maintenance-free. But can you grow violets inside? It’s a tricky question, and not really one with a satisfying answer. Keep reading to learn more about the wisdom of growing violets indoors.

Growing Violets Indoors

Can you grow violets inside? The short answer is: no. Violets like full sun, cool weather, and consistently moist soil. It’s hard to give them any of these things indoors, let alone all three. If you try growing violets indoors, they will likely get very spindly and eventually die.

Violets are hardy annuals, meaning that they’ll survive a light frost in the fall, but won’t make it through a hard frost or a freeze. Since they’re annuals, though, their lifespan lasts only through a single growing season.

Bringing them inside in the fall may extend their lives a little bit, but they most likely won’t survive to be replanted in the spring. That being said, they do grow well in containers. Even if you don’t have a garden, a small clump of violets in a window box or hanging basket could be a good compromise.

Another compromise if you’re set on growing violets indoors is the African violet. Though not actually related to violets, they look similar and are famously good houseplants. African violets grow well in low light and will stay tame even in very small pots.

If caring for violets indoors is a dream you just can’t shake, then consider getting yourself an African violet. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. If, however, if this plant isn’t for you, you can simply enjoy a potted violet plant outdoors. They look nice on the patio or porch and thrive nicely given suitable growing conditions.

This article was last updated on

How to Care for Your African Violet

African violets have been among the world's most popular houseplants for more than a century. Here's how to take care of these exotic tropical beauties.

Related To:

African violets are one of the most popular houseplants of all time. They’ve been popular in the United States for nearly a century. Your grandmother probably grew African violets. Maybe even your great-grandmother.

African Violet

Violet Saintpaulia flowers, more commonly known as African violets.

Photo by: Shutterstock/Vadym Lavra

African violets are small plants with fuzzy leaves that produce clusters of white, blue or purple flowers. They’ve been grown as houseplants since the 19th century, when Baron Walter von Saint Paul, a colonial official stationed in Africa, sent specimens of the Tanzania natives to his father in Germany. The exotic little plants were a hit, and soon African violets were a must for plant lovers all over Europe. African violets exploded in popularity in the United States in the 1920s, when a California grower began marketing a slew of hybrids. Read on to learn how to grow African violets in your digs.

13 Types of African Violets 13 Photos

These popular houseplants come in an astonishing array of colors, sizes and bloom types. With hundreds of new varieties and hybrids available, these aren't your grandma's violets.

To ensure the easiest way to grow African violets, we have to grow them in a self-watering African violet pot. This will make sure that the plant will get enough amount of water.

These pots have special specifications. They are the top part that is used to grow the plant.

Another part is the bottom of the reservoir, which holds water. The pots are normally ceramic, which are usually glazed on the outside.

But the bottom size is unglazed. This is due to the soaking of water from the reservoir.

But the plastic pots for African violet have a fibrous wick connection to the reservoir. The water must have to change weekly.

We also can grow the plant without pot. It can be done by soil mixing water and making it as a dump as a wrong sponge.

We should maintain the room temperature as optimum for water. Water shouldn’t be on the leaves.

It can create a spot on the leaves.


Violets (Viola x writtrockiana), also referred to as pansies, are annual plants that display flowers in solid or bi-color combinations of yellow, white, red, blue and peach, with green foliage. Thriving in partial sun to partial shade, violets are ideal for the north side of a house. Grow violets in rich, moist soil tolerances include acid soil, loam, clay and sand. Violets reach a height of 6 to 12 inches and are appropriate for planting in any of the USDA Hardiness Zones, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension.

How to grow african violets in a pot

  1. Choose a spot indoors that is well lit, but away from direct sunlight, like a windowsill behind a sheer curtain or on a coffee table.
  2. Fill the pot with good quality potting mix, specifically formulated for African violets.
  3. Remove plant from container, gently tease roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  4. Position in pot and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Hold the pot over a sink and water in well, keeping the water away from the leaves. Allow water to completely drain before returning to the saucer.
  5. For subsequent watering, fill saucer with water and allow it to be soaked up by the soil. Allow soil to dry before watering again.
  6. Feed fortnightly with Yates Thrive Soluble Flower and Fruit Plant Food (check the label for African Violets) to promote strong root development, healthy foliage growth and lots of beautiful flowers.
  7. African violet leaves can collect dust. Regularly dust the leaves with a soft paintbrush.
  8. Keep the plant looking tidy and promote flowering by removing any yellow leaves and spent flowers.

Potting, Spacing and Troubleshooting

African violets must have potting mix that drains quickly and doesn't hold excessive water. Choose a loose, peat- and perlite-based mix for best results. Tip: Many commercial African violet soil mixes are too dense and heavy for proper root growth.

For best bloom, pots should be about one-third to half the diameter of the plant. For example, a 7-9" plant should be in a 3" pot. A 9-12" plant goes into a 4" pot. Choose shallow pots for best drainage and root aeration. Repot your plant in fresh soil and a clean pot once a year.

Spacing is important. Give your plant enough room so that it doesn't touch its neighbors. Spacing helps prevent pests and diseases from spreading easily, and allows for more uniform growth. To prevent crowding in the pot and keep plants symmetrical, pinch off any suckers or new plantlets that form along the stem.

African violets are beautiful houseplants which provide a pretty dose of color indoors. Find out how to take care of African violets through the winter and keep them blooming!

What Are African Violets?

If you are in need of some flowering companions to get you through the cold days of winter, look for a plant that hails from the southern hemisphere, the African violet.

African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) are native to Tanzania and get their Latin name from a 19th century colonial official and amateur botanist, Baron Walter von Saint Paul, who was stationed in the east African country known then as Tanganyika.

He sent specimens of these wild violets home to his father in Germany and in a very short time African violet seeds and plants were available all over Europe.

Though these dainty flowers may look fragile they are pretty tough plants and easy to grow on a warm sunny windowsill. The blossoms come in a wide range of colors including all shades of purple, blue, pink, red, bi-colors, and white with single and double-flowering forms. Their fuzzy foliage is attractive as well with some leaves having ruffled edges or variegated with white and green.

Caring for African Violets

These plants have few demands but will reward you with almost constant bloom if they are happy.

  • They appreciate a warm house: 65ºF to 75ºF during the day with a 5ºF to 10ºF drop at night.
  • Bright indirect light is ideal, though during the short days of winter they can tolerate full sun.
  • They bloom best when slightly pot-bound, so don’t be in a rush to move them into larger containers.
  • Repotting African violets: Wait until your plant has outgrown its pot, ceased to flower, or develops multiple crowns before repotting. They are shallow rooted plants so they grow best in a pot that isn’t too deep.
  • African violet soil: Use a fast draining African violet soil or make your own by combining equal parts potting soil, peat moss, and perlite or vermiculite.
  • Plants with multiple crowns can be divided, giving you more plants to enjoy or share with friends. African violets are easy to propagate by rooting a leaf cutting in water or vermiculite.

  • Watering African violets: Careful watering is the key to good African violet health. They like room temperature water. You can water them from the bottom by filling a saucer under the pot with water and letting it wick up through the soil. After 30 minutes drain off the excess they don’t like to have cold wet feet. It is perfectly acceptable to water from the top as long as you take care not to get the leaves or center of the plant wet. Overwatering will kill them, so allow the soil to dry out a bit before watering. Fertilize regularly with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer or one made especially for African violets.

The weather outside might be frightful but these plants are delightful, and before you know it they will be blooming up a storm for you!

See our complete African Violet plant care page for more information. Learn even more about growing African violets.

Watch the video: How Do You Care for African Violets Indoors?

Previous Article

What Leaves Are Narrow: Learn About Plants With Long, Thin Leaves

Next Article

Information About False Lily of the Valley