If there was ever a popularity contest held for
flowering houseplants, the gesneriad family of plants would win hands
down. This family includes the all-time, most-popular house plant,
the African violet.
African violet is an indoor plant prized for its
clusters of colorful flowers held atop soft, felty leaves. It blooms
nearly all year long, providing colorful flowers even during the
bleak days of winter. Many also have attractive foliage that is as
showy as its flowers. I grow dozens of different African violets,
many quite unique, and am amazed at the wide range of colorful
flowers and foliage there are. Click on a plant
photo below to order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.
African violets, hybridizers have developed hundreds of different
types with a large range of flower color, shape, and size as well as
leaf color. Flower color is extensive and includes just about every
color of the rainbow, including green, with many variations and
shades of colors.
Along with a wide variety of flower colors and markings, there are
also many different types of foliage within African violets. Various
shades of green are common, but it is not the only color. Variegated
forms are abundant and within the variegation, there is a lot of variation.
Semi-miniature, miniature, and microminiature types are smaller
plants with tiny leaves. The smallest types often have leaves less
than a half inch long and grow well in pots the size of a thimble.
These diminutive plants are topped with clusters of brightly-colored,
miniature flowers. As with the standard types, semi-miniature,
miniature, and microminiature African violets have a wide range of
flower colors and shapes. There are single, semi-double, and double
flowers. Many also have attractive variegated leaves with a variety
African violet types have stems that cascade over the side of the
pot, making them good candidates for a hanging basket. Many are
semi-miniature types with small leaves and clusters of small flowers,
but what they lack in size they more than make up for in the
abundance of leaves and flowers. One of my favorite trailing types
bears pure-white, double flowers held above small, bright-green leaves.