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Optimara: African Violet Reading List        

  Listed below are several publications which may provide you with additional, helpful information on African Violets.

  • African Violet Magazine (AVSA). This magazine is published six times a year. In addition to providing timely information on growing and caring for African Violets, the magazine also prints information on new varieties and upcoming shows. A subscription to African Violet Magazine is free to members of the African Violet Society of America. For more information, visit the AVSA online at, or call 409-839-4725.
  • African Violets: Gifts from Nature (Melvin J. Robey) 314 pages. While this book should be helpful to anyone who grows African Violets, it will be particularly valuable to those seeking a more scientific understanding of the subject.
  • African Violets: Back to Basics (Melvin J. Robey) A compilation of 250 of the most common questions asked over the past thirty years.
  • Growing African Violets in Southern Africa (Joan Halford) 120 pages. Notwithstanding the title, you do not have to live in southern Africa to benefit from the information which this book provides. The book offers reliable information on most every aspect of growing African Violets.
  • Growing To Show (Pauline Bartholomew) 112 pages. Pauline Bartholomew is one of the most respected writers on African Violets. While her book focuses on growing African Violets for shows, it also offers a wealth of information from which any grower can benefit. The book is available direct from the publisher. For current pricing, write to D.M. Prestia, 1404 N. Tustin J-4, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
  • Handbook for Growers Exhibitors and Judges (AVSA) 93 pages. This book is standard issue for any serious grower who is interested in showing African Violets at judged competitions. In addition to covering the rules for judging, it provides information which will help you prepare your African Violets for showing. The book is available from the African Violet Society of America. For more information, visit the AVSA online at, or call 409-839-4725.
  • How to Select and Grow African Violets (Theodore James) 144 pages. This book provides a great introduction to anyone who is just learning about African Violets.
  • Insect and Mite Pests of African Violets (Charles Cole) 30 pages. Dr. Cole is a well-respected researcher at Texas A&M University. In addition to providing descriptions and information on the most common pests that attack African Violets, his book offers helpful information on pesticide use and formulation. The book is available from the African Violet Society of America. For more information, visit the AVSA online at, or call 409-839-4725.
  • Master List of Species and Cultivars (AVSA). The Master List, also called the Master Variety List (MVL), provides descriptions of all the African Violet varieties registered with the African Violet Society of America. For more information, visit the AVSA online at, or call 409-839-4725.

Other Resources
  • Doctor Optimara. Doctor Optimara is an easy-to-use, symptom-based guide for diagnosing and treating African Violets. It's available online, and it's free. Click here.
  • African Violet Glossary. Optimara's African Violet Glossary is the most comprehensive resource of its kind. It gives you hundreds of definitions for terms specifically relating to African Violets as well as other botanical terms relating to plants in general. In addition, many of the entries include links for more detailed information. Click here.
  • Optimara Field Guide. The Optimara Field Guide is an online resource that provides an easy way to identify Optimara Violets. Use the Optimara Field Guide to search by color, pot size, series and other characteristics. You can also look up Optimara Violets by variety name and number. Click here.
  • African Violet Society of America (AVSA). The AVSA offers a wealth of information on African Violets. In addition to the Handbook for Growers Exhibitors and Judges and the Master List of Species and Cultivars, the AVSA also publishes African Violet Magazine, which is published six times yearly. Membership is currently $18 per year ($20.50 for international members) and includes a free subscription to the magazine. For more information, visit the AVSA online at You may also call them at 409-839-4725, or write to AVSA, 2375 North Street, Beaumont, TX 77702.
  • Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension. In many cases, the Department of Agriculture can provide valuable, firsthand information that will help you identify a particular pest or disease that may be affecting your African Violets. There is a Cooperative Extension in every county. To contact the one in your county, check the Blue Pages of your phone book.
  • EPA Office of Pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency offers free information on pesticide classification and use. Pesticide information is available online at To speak to someone directly, call the EPA Pesticide Hotline at 800-858-7378 or EPA Information Services at 703-557-4474. You may also write to the EPA at 401 M Street SW, Washington, DC 20460.
  • Laboratory Testing for Soil and Water. To locate a lab near you, ask for recommendations from your county Cooperative Extension office, a local botanical garden or a university agriculture department.

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