African violets reach only about 6 to 10 inches tall.

How to Cut Back an African Violet

by Melissa Lewis

Most familiar as a houseplant, African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) may grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11. It's usually grown as a houseplant because of its cold tenderness, ease of care and ability to grow and flower year-round indoors. To help maintain an attractive and blooming African violet, adopt a regular pruning routine.

1 Pinch off spent flowers when they fade to keep an African violet attractive and to encourage more flowers. Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the stems underneath the flowers or bend them back and forth until they snap.

2 Pinch off a flower stem at its base when the last flower fades. You can also use a pair of scissors for this. Sterilize the scissors by wiping the blades with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.

3 Bend and snap off the lower leaves as they fade and shrivel, snapping them flush at the base of the plant. Typically, you'll need to remove three or more leaves per leaf stem each month.

Items you will need

  • Scissors
  • Cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol


  • Unless you want to propagate an African violet, remove suckers as they develop. Suckers grow on the outside of the main plant and develop at least four leaves.

About the Author

I love writing and write children's stories on the side, but have yet to be published. Before staying at home with my children, I was a media specialist for five years in which one of my duties was to assist students and teachers in researching information and then evaluating the reliability of the source. I am also a radio script writer for the non-profit organization, Christian Walk Alive, and write four episodes a year. In addition, I edit the episodes of the other writers. I am a homeschool mom to four wonderful children.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images