Streptocarpella saxorum (False African Violet)

IMAG1430 Streptocarpella saxorum has wonderful cultivars and is one of my favorite plants. It has cute, velvety, deep-green leaves, and dainty flowers that hang from long stems and almost look like a cloud of butterflies flocking around the plant. There are may cultivars, one of the most common of which is Concord Blue. The different varieties available vary in the size of the flowers and the shade of blue from violet to deeper blue, light and darker blue. There are also white cultivars. Some are purely white, others are very pale blue or are white with fringes of blue. There are also variegated forms, though I don’t know how well those bloom. The wild form is somewhat smaller leaved, more of a lavender flower color, and I am still waiting to see how well it blooms (it’s almost blooming size). So far it seems to me to be a shy bloomer. The commonly sold cultivars are heavy bloomers and put on a wonderful display.

Streptocarpella saxorum originates from Tanzania and Kenya. It a tropical plant though it seem to enjoy cooler environment around the low 70ies Fahrenheit.IMAG2708 This plant is very frost sensitive. It belongs to the Gesneariad family and is an African violet relative, even called false African violet. The growing conditions are almost the same as for African violets. This plant grows to about 12 inches in height and makes a wonderful hanging basket plant. Once it reaches a decent size this plant is ever blooming.

Requirements:

Watering needs:

This plant likes to dry out a bit between watering and likes to be occasionally soaked. Be careful of over-watering. The plant has juicy stems that tend to easily rot if the soil is soggy. If your plant is young and tiny you can be more generous with the watering, but a well established plant benefits from having its soil dry up between watering, especially in the winter months.

Light:

Bright indirect light is perfect for this plant. It likes part shade to shade. A large unobstructed north facing window , or an east/west window will be ideal for this plant. Direct midday light will burn the leaves.

Humidity:

IMAG1111This plant enjoys higher humidity levels, but do not spray the leaves as it will result in wilt spots. On another note this plant also seems to enjoy cooler environment, so lower temperatures and plenty of moisture in the air will help making your plant thrive.

 

 

 

 

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

I use a mix of general potting soil and African violet soil with plenty of per-lite to make the soil well drained and light. This plant like basic to slightly acidic soil, well drained and light. I use African violet fertilizer during the warmer months, at a lower concentration than the recommended. Overall this isn’t a very fussy plant.

Propagation:

Streptocarpellas ca be propagated by cuttings, from offshoots or seeds. You can even propagate them from a leaf. Cuttings root well in both water and moist soil. Generally speaking this is a very easy to propagate plant. When propagating from cuttings it helps to keep the humidity high, but keep the leafy part of your cutting from any water droplets as it will rot.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

IMAG2707Streptocarpellas seems to do better kept in a cooler place. From my personal observations it seems to flower better when the temperatures are a bit on the low side. Pruning disrupts the flowering, but sometimes its needed. Cleaning the old leaves / spent flowers and occasionally pinching off a leggy stem will keep your plant looking good. It can suffer from mealy bugs, and aphids (those seem to only go for the flowers). Spraying with insecticide will make the leaves get spotted and eventually dry off, so my advice would be to remove as much of the infected plant, simply cut off as much as you can back, remove overly infested leaves and then spray out plant.

8 thoughts on “Streptocarpella saxorum (False African Violet)

  1. I have had this plant for years but did not know the name. I didn’t see any mention of growing this plant outside except that you said it is frost sensitive. I would like to share a picture of how I grow it in the summer time outside. Not sure how to leave my photo on your website.
    I live in Birmingham AL

    1. Hi Helen,

      I’d love to see how you grow your plant! I’m not sure if you can post a photo on this site. I will definitely look into it; maybe I could add a plugin that will let you do that. My mom grows her outside in the summer too, and on her garden window in the winter. Her sreptocarpellas always look better than mine. I live in an apartment and my balcony is too windy for it.

      Thanks!
      Vesi

  2. We are able to get Streptocarpella at a Chicago-area greenhouse and it does fine as a hanging pot through the Chicago summer in an area with dappled light on the east side of the house. We also include it in some pots with other plants in a bright shady area where it also does well. We just water about once a week. Obviously the summer in Alabama will be a bit more harsh than Chicago, so you might have to find a cooler spot in your garden.

  3. Thank you! I have one of these plants but could never find out what it was! Thank you for the information – I think I can make it much happier now that I know what it likes.

  4. I live in Canada in a smallish city east of Toronto. I fell in love with this plant several years ago at my friend’s mom’s place. Have not seen it until this week in hanging baskets at a grocery store. Needless to say I got two and can’t wait to try to propagate! I’ve read all about ways to do so and will try all of them to see what works. It’s hot and humid here generally, in the summer, so I’ve put them in the shade and will keep my fingers crossed. Will need to bring them for the cold winter. So happy to have found them again! Hope they make it 😳 Thanks for the great tips!

    1. It’s one of my favorite plants too! Good luck with propagating it. It propagates very easily, but sometimes nurseries put growth inhibitors in the soil to prevent cuttings from rooting. For example fuschias root extremely easy and fast, regardless of the variety, however if you buy a fuschia hanging basket and try to root a cutting, nothing will happen. You’ll have to wait and repot couple of times, until the plant recovers its abilities to vegetatively reproduce.

  5. I got mine as an outdoor hanging plant and did not realize I could also keep it in the house during the colder months. I just need to figure out how to hang it in the house as I don’t have hooks on my walls.

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