How Big Do African Violets Get When Grown Indoors?

Are you growing African Violets indoors this season, but want to know just how big they will get? While this may vary depending on a few different factors, they will generally only get to a certain size when indoors. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen walks through how big you can expect your African Violets to get when grown indoors.

african violet size indoors

African Violets are native to the rainforests of eastern Africa. They were first “discovered” and collected in 1892 and today are very popular houseplants. They have since been selectively bred for a wide variety of flower colors, flower types, leaf patterns, and sizes.

Today, African Violets are readily available commercially and make a beautiful and easy-to-grow houseplant. African Violets have fuzzy leaves and beautiful, richly-colored flowers.

With the proper care, they bloom readily when grown indoors, either in a bright window or under grow lights. Perhaps you just bought one and now you’re wondering, how big will this plant get? The answer depends on several factors. Read on to find out more.

The Short Answer

African Violets come in differently sized varieties. Miniature varieties, for example, may reach only 6 inches in diameter, while large varieties can grow up to 16 inches across. After a while, a single plant will also begin to grow suckers, and if allowed to grow, this will cause the plant to spread beyond it’s original size. Plants in optimal conditions will grow larger than plants that are stunted by non-ideal environmental factors, such as low light or poor soil quality.

The Long Answer

There are many factors that will influence the size of your African Violets. The most important thing to consider is what variety of plant you have. This popular flowering houseplant comes in different varieties that are genetically programmed to reach a certain size.

A miniature plant, for example will never grow into a giant, and a standard violet variety is unlikely to stay small. Mature plants range in size from about 2 inches to over 16 inches in diameter.

The next things to consider are environmental conditions. A healthy plant in optimal conditions will reach its full size potential. Optimal conditions are influenced by pot size, sunlight, nutrients, water, and overall health of the plant. We will examine each of these influences in more detail.

Miniature Varieties

Miniature Saintpaulia ionantha
Miniature varieties usually have a maximum diameter of up to 6 inches.

African Violets have been selectively bred to have different appearances, including size. Miniature varieties typically range from 3-6 inches in diameter. There are, however, a few “micro-miniature” varieties that reach full size at just 2 inches in diameter.

These tiny plants are full-grown whenever they reach their predetermined maximum size. If a plant is genetically a miniature variety, it will never become a large plant.

Standard Varieties

Standard-size Saintpaulia ionantha
Standard varieties usually grow from 6 to 16 inches.

Standard-size African Violets typically grow between 6 and 16 inches across. The most common and widespread commercially available varieties are standard varieties. These typically stay between 6 to 8 inches across at full size.

Large Varieties

Trailing Saintpaulia ionantha
There are trailing varieties of violets that grow from 16 inches in diameter and more.

There are some large varieties that can grow to 16 inches in diameter, or larger! Even the flowers on these plants are jumbo sized, reaching up to 3 inches across.

Trailing African Violetsare another variety that will grow larger due to their sprawling nature. This particular variety is known to freely branch and spread, rather than maintaining a neat round rosette.

In fact, trailing varieties will continue to branch and spread indefinitely, unless they are thinned or pruned. These plants look particularly elegant if allowed to extend and spread over the edges of their pots.

Sunlight

Pink flowers on a sunny windowsill
A few hours of bright, indirect light is usually all that’s need to satisfy growth needs.

Providing your African Violet with the ideal amount of light will help it stay robust and healthy, and reach its full growth potential. They prefer several hours of bright but indirect sunlight each day.

They can also easily be grown under grow lights. Too much direct sunlight light can damage the leaves and stunt plant growth. Too little light will cause the plant to become weak and leggy as they try to reach for more light.

Soil and Water

woman planting indoors with potting medium and plant
These flowering houseplants prefer rich, loose soil and regular watering.

A vibrant and healthy plant requires the right soil. They like a rich, loose soil, and there are soil mixes available especially for these plants. It’s very important that the soil is well-drained and the pot has a drainage hole, as African Violets are susceptible to root rot.

African Violets should be watered regularly so the soil is moist without being too wet. African Violets do not like to have soggy roots. Soil should be allowed to dry briefly between waterings. Also try to avoid pouring cold water on the leaves, as this can damage the leaves and cause leaf spots.

Pot Size

woman transplanting a plant into a new pot
After your they have taken root, you can transplant your plant into a larger pot.

Your plant’s growth will be somewhat limited by the size of its pot. Within reason, a plant will tend to grow into the size of its pot. If a pot is truly too small for an actively growing plant, the rootbound plant’s growth may be stunted and it may stop growing larger.

Rootbound plants can be carefully repotted into a slightly larger pot size. Plants that have larger pots will have more room to grow, generally speaking.

Fertilizing

fertilizing indoor flowering houseplants
To maximize growth and flowering, use fertilizer.

African violets are well known to be low-maintenance houseplants. But, in order to maximize growth and flower potential, they benefit from occasional fertilizer applications. Fertilizer may help your plant reach its full size, and can certainly help it maintain its long-term vigor.

Fertilizers specifically formulated for African Violets are readily available. Simply follow the instructions on whichever fertilizer you choose. Over-fertilizing is a common mistake new African Violet owners make, so make sure to watch the amount you use.

Suckers

Suckers forming on new plant
It is recommended to remove the suckers to maximize the viability of the mother plant.

An individual African Violet plant grows as a low leafy rosette. However, over time, a healthy plant will tend to develop suckers, or “pups” at the base.

It may seem exciting to have more plants growing together in the same pot, but for maximum health and vitality of the mother plant, it’s best to remove the suckers. They can be used to start new plants in their own individual pots, or they can be discarded, given away, or composted.

Final Thoughts

African Violets are cheery plants that don’t require too much fuss. They make excellent houseplants and with a little care and attention, they bloom readily. These attractive plants come in a variety of colors, forms, and sizes. Plant size and overall health will be influenced by:

  • Variety: miniature vs. standard vs. large.
  • Light: Ideally indirect sunlight or grow lights.
  • Soil: Prefers well-drained soil.
  • Water: Moist but not wet.
  • Pot Size: Repot when rootbound.
  • Nutrients: Occasional fertilizer.
  • Suckers: Remove suckers.

A good rule of thumb is that most varieties will range 6 inches in diameter, up to 16 inches, depending on the variety. Now that you know how big they can grow, it’s time to pick the perfect variety for your next indoor plant!

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