Streptocarpus Saxorum - False African Violet

Streptocarpus saxorum


  1. Top Tips
  2. Location, Water, Humidity & Fertilisation
  3. Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers
  4. Common Issues
  5. Origins, Temperature, Propagation, Repotting & Toxicity

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Top Tips & Info

  • Care Difficulty - Easy to Moderate
  • This species will require a bright location away from excessive sunlight or deep shade. A north, north-east or north-west facing windowsill or beneath a skylight window is perfect for lush, quality growth.
  • Allow the top third to dry out in between waters, avoiding persistent droughts whilst in bloom. 
  • Fertilise using either a 'Houseplant' or 'Streptocarpus' labelled feed every four waters in the spring and summer, reducing this to every six in the colder months.
  • In spring, repot every three or four years with 'Houseplant' compost; water the plant 24hrs beforehand to reduce the risk of damaging the root hairs, known as 'Transplant Shock'.

Location & Light - 🔸🔸

Bright, indirect light is best. The combination of good soil moisture and a well-lit location will provide the best results for your Streptocarpus. Sunny locations, that offer more than an hour of sunlight per day, should be avoided at all costs due to the risk of sudden flower loss. If it's too hot for a chocolate bar, it'll also be too hot for the plant. 

Alternatively, lower-lit areas should only be used, if wholly necessary. Although Streptocarpus saxorum can tolerate shady locations, the reduced rates of photosynthesis and too moist soil will lead to a weakened plant, along with the chance of developing root rot.

Water - 🔸🔸

Bright, indirect light is best. The combination of good soil moisture and a well-lit location will provide the best results for your Streptocarpus. Sunny locations that offer more than an hour of sunlight per day should be avoided at all costs due to the risk of sudden flower loss. If it's too hot for a chocolate bar, it'll also be too hot for the plant. 

Alternatively, lower-lit areas should only be used, if wholly necessary. Although Streptocarpus saxorum can tolerate shady locations, the reduced rates of photosynthesis and too moist soil will lead to a weakened plant, along with the chance of developing root rot.

Humidity - 🔸

Average room humidity is enough to satisfy this plant, as long as you don't live in an overly-dry climate. Never situate it within a few metres of an operating radiator due to the enriched chance of browning leaf-tips. If you are indeed worried about dry air, create a humidity tray to provide a moist and stable environment for your plant, which will also have the added benefit of slowing the rates of drying soil!

Fertilisation - 🔸

Fertilise every four waters during the growing period before reducing this to every six in the autumn & winter. Although an 'Houseplant' fertiliser will still do the job, we'd recommend using a specific 'Streptocarpus' labelled fertiliser as it'll support the vital thirteen nutrients that this species will need to grow.

Dormancy Care & Annual Blooms

Attempting a spring-bloom isn't the hardest of tasks, as long as a sufficient dormancy period is served in the cooler months of the year. The following steps should be done at the start of autumn until the early spring when the plant's growth begins to slow down. Always think of ukhouseplants' acronym of SHORT when it's time for flowers.

They're better off staying pot bound for several reasons, including the prevention of root rot or transplant shock, and to put momentarily stress on the plant. Although this may sound harsh, a restriction of roots is the best way to obtain flowers, as it'll send out a spike in response to becoming under threat. As long as the plant is subsequently repotted every three years in the spring, no harm is done.


Be sure to provide a bright location with little to no direct sunlight. The warmth from the sun will not only nourish the foliage, but it'll also downplay the risk of over-watering, which is a common issue over the depth of winter. For total empathise on the current season, avoid the use of artificial lighting or locations that boast temperatures higher than 18℃ (64℉).


Reduce waters so that about half of the soil becomes dry. It's essential to keep them on the drier side to life, as they'll think that hard times are ahead and therefore will need to pass its genes on to the next generation. Do not over-water or present waterlogged conditions during this time.

Occasional Feeds

Reduce fertilisations to monthly intervals to slow the rate of growth, using a 'Streptocarpus' or 'Houseplant' labelled feed. Once spring is around the corner, swap the product for a fertiliser high in potassium for the potential development of flower spikes - a good example of this would be 'Tomato' labelled feeds. This should be done every four waters until the final flower elapses in the summer, before reverting back to the original feed (still every forth water). 

Reduce Everything

This one is to remind you that everything except fertilisation needs to be reduced - especially the temperature.


This is the most significant step; reduce the temperature by around 5℃ compared to the summertime or place in a room that's around 15℃ (59℉). The lowered temperature should ideally begin to increase again at the start of spring, which in turn will stimulate new growth. You'll be at a significant disadvantage if the ambient temperature is kept constant throughout the year, as Streptocarpus will only respond with flowers in year-long fluctuating environments (15℃ (59℉) in winter & 20℃ (66℉)) in the spring and summer). Never exceed the minimum temperature as it could lead to plant death or yellowed foliage at a bare minimum.

Common Issues with Streptocarpus Saxorum

Root or basal rot is another common issue. Typical symptoms include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth and stem collapse. Those situated in darker locations and/or too-soggy soil are most likely to be hit with this issue. Take the plant out of the pot and inspect its root systems - if they sport a yellow appearance, you're okay, but if they're brown and mushy, action must be taken immediately. More information about addressing root rot can be found on this link.

Under-watering is another key issue with indoor gardeners. Typical signs of this include wilting, sunken and yellowed leaves and stunted growth. If the plant is in direct sunlight, relocate it to a slightly darker area. Increase the number of waters, too - this species tends to grow in moist soil that rarely promotes droughts. As long as you keep an eye out for drying soil, success is inevitable.
Those situated in direct sunlight or within three metres of a radiator are most likely to suffer from these issues.

Too much sunlight will lead to sun scorch, with typical signs including browning or crispy leaves, dry leaf-edges, sunken leaves or stunted growth. Although too little light will cause over-watering issues, too much sunlight will also be a detriment. If yours has fallen short of this, reduce the amount of sun considerably and always be mindful of environmental shock (when two locations offer too different growing conditions). Remove some of the affected leaves and increase waters slightly.

Pests could arise at any time, with infestations starting from the original nursery or via contamination in your home. Spider Mites and Mealybugs to tend to be the usual inhabitants, with the first being minute and almost transparent, roaming the leaves in search of chlorophyll and a site to hide its eggs. The latter, however, will stand out much more, with white cottony webs developing across the foliage and stems. Thoroughly check the plant's cubbyholes before giving it the all-clear, or click on the appropriate links to learn more about eradicating these issues!

Yellowing leaves or a naked base are products of excess moisture sitting on the foliage, commonly sped up by too little light or poor air circulation. Although watering from the top is best, it's recommended to use the bottom-up method if you're a messy waterer. For specimens that have a bare head, improve growing contains by using this method and increasing light levels slightly. Promote a bushier appearance by taking vine cuttings and placing them halfway down into the soil. Immediately remove yellowed or rotten debris as this will harbour both bacterial and fungal diseases that can both spread across to other sections of the plant. Scroll down to 'Propagation' for more information on this!

A lack of flowers is caused by an insufficient dormancy period, where the temperatures are kept more or less the same over the year. Reduce the temperature by a couple of degrees over the autumn and winter months, along with fewer irrigations to ensure a well-spent dormancy. As spring arrives, the natural temperature will begin to increase, with this is being the perfect time to increase waters and fertilisation. Remember, the warmer the summer days are, the more likely a specimen is to reflower.

Short-lived flowers could be the product of low humidity. Place the specimen on a pebble tray, keeping the reservoir topped up with water while the heaters are operating. Never mist the flowers due to the high risk of developing Botrytis Petal Blight.



There are over 150 accepted species of Streptocarpus that have natural distributions around the southern reaches of Africa (Afrotropical regions), including Madagascar, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

John Lindley first described the genus in 1828, using the Greek words 'streptos' and 'karpos' in reference to the twisted seedpods when fully matured. This species, S. saxorum, was first documented in 1894 by Adolf Engler, using the modern Latin word for 'rocks', which refers to its ecology. 

The Distribution of Streptocarpus saxorum. 


12° - 30°C  (54° - 86°F)
H1b (Hardiness Zone 12) - Can be grown outdoors during the summer in a sheltered location with temperatures above 12℃ (54℉), but is fine to remain indoors, too. If you decide to bring this plant outdoors, don't allow it to endure any direct sunlight as it may result in sun-scorch and dehydration. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back indoors.


Up to 0.5m in vine-length. The ultimate height will take between 3 - 6 years to achieve.

Pruning & Maintenance

Remove yellow or dying leaves, and plant debris to encourage better-growing conditions. While pruning, always use clean utensils or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases. Never cut through yellowed tissue as this may cause further damage in the likes of diseases or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions as too-damaged wounds may shock the plant, causing weakened growth and a decline in health. Although the aerial roots aren't exactly appealing, do not remove them as this can stress the plant.


Via Seed or Vine Cuttings.

Vine Cuttings (Easy) - Using a clean pair of scissors, cut a 10cm (4 - 5 inches) section off the stem's terminal. Be sure to use a fresh, damage or pest-free piece as unhealthy divisions are more likely to fail. Remove the older half of the leaves, so that the stem's lower portion is bare, to speed the process of root development. Purchase a 'Houseplant' Compost and vertically push the cutting's base into the soil, avoiding the risk of covering the actual foliage with soil. Situate the cutting in a bright, indirect setting with temperatures above 18°C (64°F). As the roots will develop first, treat it as an adult specimen once there are signs of new foliar development. Under-watering or dehydration are the most common issues with propagation, so always be cautious of dehydration. 


This species of Streptocarpus will develop trumpet-shaped flowers from late spring onwards, sporting many different colours depending on your chosen cultivar. The individual inflorescence will last around two weeks with the overall show lasting two or three months. Scroll up to 'Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers' for more information on achieving yearly blooms. 


Repot every three or four years in spring using a 'Houseplant' or 'Gesneriad' labelled compost and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Hydrate the plant 24hrs before tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those that are situated in a darker location, add a thin layer of small grit in the pot's base to improve drainage and downplay over-watering. Click here for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.

Book a 1-to-1 video call with Joe Bagley if you'd like a personal guide to repotting your houseplant. This will include recommending the right branded-compost and pot size, followed by a live video call whilst you transplant the specimen for step-by-step guidance and answer any further questions!

Pests & Diseases

Keep an eye out for mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, scale, thrips, whitefly, blackfly, vine weevils & root mealybugs that'll locate themselves in the cubbyholes and undersides of the leaves, with the exception of the latter two in the soil. Common diseases associated with Streptocarpus are root rot, leaf-spot disease, botrytis, rust, powdery mildew & southern blight - click here to learn more about these issues.


Not known to be poisonous when consumed by pets and humans. If large quantities are eaten, it may result in vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite.

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