Garden and Landscapes / Green Thumb Project

From the Mountains of Africa, to your Home

Because my tulips had bloomed so rapidly, the quickly wilted. So I cut the stems, dug out the blubs, and placed them in the freezer.

I vowed to keep green alive within my room throughout the year and so I headed to the Home Depot to make my next selection. At first, I gravitated towards the tulips and hydrangeas. An older man rushed over to me to see if I needed any assistance with my selection and when I indicated I was looking for an indoor plant he redirected me towards a warmer greenhouse with the house plants.

There were beautiful orchids, but I did not feel like I was ready for that particular plant care. I also tried to pick something that would coordinate with my room. My walls are purple and so my eyes fixated on this flower… The African Violet. 

African Violet

I loved the color and the texture of it’s leaves. The plant is actually does originate in Africa – to see that it is mass produced as a houseplant is very intriguing.

It was discovered in 1892 by Baron Walter von Saint Paul, the German governor of a part of Tanzania. Von Saint Paul found the plant growing among shaded rocky ledges in the Usambara Mountains. He immediately sent seeds of his “Usambara violet” to his father in Germany. In Germany the plant acquired a botanical name which it still bears today: Saintpaulia

The African Violet was brought to this continent by the California firm of Armacost and Royston in 1926 when they imported seeds from the German and British greenhouses that had specialized in the plant.

Though hybridization, the flower has many different sizes, growth habits, and blossom colors. Hence why my particular African Violet is a shade of purple rather than the traditional blue that was first discovered in the mountainous region of Africa.

The African Violet is used primarily as a houseplant, but they can also grow good outside, out of direct sunlight. The result is a beautiful and unique plant – and now you can bore someone else with this new knowledge of the new flower pot in your living room!

African Violet by Donna Surprenant

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