African Violet Flower Types

African Violets were first discovered in Tanzania (East Africa) during the late 1800s. At that time, only one flower type and colour existed – a single blue pansy with 5 petals.

These days, after more than a hundred years of hybridising, African violet flowers come in a dazzling array of colours and shapes.

Knowing the terms that growers use, and learning the characteristics of different flower types will help you better appreciate your plants. It will also help you make more informed choices when purchasing new plants.

African Violet flowers are described by:

  • the number of petals,
  • the shape of the petals and
  • shape of the flower. 

S. Rupicola African Violet Species Plant
S. Rupicola - African Violet Species Plant
Species plants are closet match to original African Violets discovered.

1. Number of petals

African Violets typically have between 5 and 10 petals which work together in sets of 5 to create an overall effect. A flower can be described as stick-tite if the petals mature and wither on the plant, whereas some single (5-petalled) blossoms can fall from the pedicel even while fresh.

Single Flowers

Single flowers have 5 petals with the two top petals being smaller. 

Double Flowers

Double flowers have 10 plus petals (two or more full sets of 5) which interlace and cover over the centre anthers.

Semi-Double Flowers

Semi-double flowers are something between a single and double. They have from 6 to 9 petals. With an extra few petals in the centre that do not open to full size petals. The number of petals can change with growing conditions and season. Even flowers on the same plant can have different numbers of petals. 

2. Petal Shape

African Violet petals can vary according to how large, smooth and ruffled they are. The original species plants and many of the older hybrids have smooth flat petals. Whereas, modern hybrids can exhibit a lot of variation both in how long, wide, and ruffled the petals are. 

3. Flower Shape

African Violet flowers can demonstrate different shapes depending on whether the petals are of even size and shape, elongated, twisted, or whether they open fully.


Pansy type flowers have five petals, two that are smaller at the top and three lower petals that are larger. They come in single and double forms.


Star-shaped flowers feature five petals of equal size and evenly spaced.


wasp-type flowers feature petals that are narrow or twisted


Bell-type flowers have petals that are fused together and do not open fully creating a bell-like appearance

Ceramic African Violet Pot

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