Baby Violets Baby Violets

What are African Violets?

  • I’m often asked this question and the first thing that comes to mind is beautiful houseplants which can produce blooms for years. Those who are familiar with African violets often associate them as difficult houseplants to grow. Those who know African violets well often associate them as growing on their grandmother, aunt or uncles windowsill. I would say that majority of people have heard of African violet plants which is a major achievement for just a houseplant! African violet plants are not hard or difficult to grow. As any living thing, they too require routine care and can definitely return the favor with bright foliage and colorful flowers year round.

  • Most people come across African violets at a big box stores, local florists or garden shows. These African violets are commercially grown by Optimara (www.optimara.com, www.myviolet.com, www.selectivegardener.com) or by local florists in the area. Some of these African violets have unique names and occasionally they are mentioned on the pot label. Also, some of these named violets available in the stores may be registered with the African Violet Society of America (AVSA, www.avsa.org ).

  • For a plant to be registered with the AVSA, they have to be a unique violet, different from other African violet varieties already available in terms of flower and leaf color, shape and type. Majority of African violets available in the stores are un-registered.

  • Apart from African violet plants which are available from local stores, there are a vast majority of African violet hobbyists and collectors who only grow registered African violet plants. One of the reasons is that registered plants can be entered into African violet shows at your local African Violet Club or at the National AVSA convention.

  • Most of the registered African violet plants are produced or hybridized by famous hybridizers such as Pat Hancock, George McDonald, Rob Robinson, Ma Olive, Sorano, Pat Tracey, John Brownlie, Jim Eyerdom, Denis Croteau, Hortense Pittman (one of my favorites!), Don Ness, Jeff Jackson, Dave Rollins, R. Meek, A.E. Adams, Ethel Champion, Richard Follett, Carol Eros, R. Wilson, Kent Stork, Paul Sansoucy, David Senk, Shirley Sanders, Jeff Smith, A. Murphy, Yvonne Lambert and Francine Pilon….just to name a few!!!

  • These hybridizers painstakingly cross different African violet plants and wait three generations to find a stable variety with unique flowers and foliage resulting in a final registered African violet plant.

  • Whether you grow unnamed / unregistered or registered African violet plants they certainly do brighten up any room and definitely become a conversation piece.