Streptocarpella saxorum (False African Violet)


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 many 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 to 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 is a tropical plant, though it seems to enjoy cooler environment around the low 70ies Fahrenheit. This plant is pretty frost sensitive.


It belongs to the Gesneariad family, and as an African violet relative, is often referred to as 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 everblooming.


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.


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, unless you slowly acclimate your plant to higher light.



This 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 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.


streptocarpella cuttings

Streptocarpellas can 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 away from any water droplets as it will rot.

I like to propagate mine by dipping cuttings into rooting powder, and “planting” them in a ziplock bag with moist soil. I just leave the ziplock bag on my windowsill and essentially forget about it. The cuttings grow and sometimes even start flowering inside the ziplock bag. Be sure to carefully acclimate them to a lower humidity after removing them from the ziplock bag.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 


Pruning disrupts the flowering, but is sometimes needed. Cleaning the old leaves / spent flowers and occasionally pinching off a leggy stem will keep your plant looking good and it will keep it flowering. It can suffer from mealy bugs, and aphids (those seem to only go for the flowers and the flower stems). Spraying with insecticide will make the leaves get spotted and eventually dry off. Since the plant is free branching, and grows into a nice dense specimen, it’s hard to fully treat it. 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 it with the insecticide.

19 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.


  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.

    1. you can stand it on a stool or other small table or column and let it drape down. Or prune and let it grow out again.

      1. After years of growing african violets I now have one small false african
        or streptocarpella, a cutting given by a special lady from Saxmundham UK.
        She owned a caring agency, I was a carer. The cutting in 2012 then small in
        size, flowered in 2013. Then I kept cutting it back making 3 to 4 new plants.
        The cuttings did well sitting in a mini plastic container in rain water.

        Soil was a problem, & not easy to grow from a cutting.
        Last late summer autumn I trimmed it back, minimal watering, in semi
        light window behind net curtains, no growth until summer 2020.
        I have streptocarpella food tablets, ( one monthly ).

        Now doing very well tho not flowered since 2013. I vow not to trim back
        let it grow in hope it flowers. Trim will disrupt flowering as above replies say.

        The sun shines most winter at front kitchen window most of day perfect for the strepto here in Suffolk.

    1. Could be lack of light, nutrients or too low humidity. I’ve had barely rooted cutting get covered in flower, but once I took them out of the warm and moist propagation ziplock bag, they just refused to flower for a long time.

  6. What do you advise for growing under grow lights? I don’t have much sun in my apartment 🙁 But I like to have something flowering throughout the year. Thanks in advance.

    1. I use regular LED shop lights (4ft, 5000Lumen, 5000K – daylight). They are not marketed as grow lights, but 5000K spectrum works great for all of my plants. I’ve been growing gesneriads, carnivorous plants, and even fruiting trees under them for couple of years now. Also you can get them from anywhere and they are around 20$ each. I have two and I can fit all of my kohlerias and some carnivorous plants. You can go for the red and blue grow LED, for maximum efficiency, but since almost all the light gets absorbed by the plants, you don’t get to enjoy the greenery and flowers as much. The white light LED might not be the most efficient, but the plants look great and you get to enjoy them the most. One of those 4ft lights can have a lot of plants under it, and energy-wise it’s like one regular light bulb. I’ve been meaning to write more about light and grow lights forever.

  7. I’m excited to see if I can propagate it. I just noticed this beautiful plant at my friends house and she gave me a little cutting, I have it in a glass of Britta filtered 💧 water, hopefully it likes that! Fingers crossed. My stems are shorter than 2” however so maybe it’s a non starter. Thank you for your information on here.

    1. I’ve rooted this plant in both a tiny cup of water, and in a ziplock bag with moist soil and a bit of rooting hormone. Both worked pretty well. Sometimes some of cuttings will rot, since the plant has pretty meaty stems. It’s an awesome plant to have! I’m so excited for you!

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