Phalaenopsis violacea
Phalaenopsis violacea

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African Violet Watering

Watering an African Violet is different than watering your average houseplant, in that, it wants to be watered from the bottom. While this may sound odd to those unfamiliar with these types of plants, don’t worry. It’s actually quite easy to water a plant from the bottom.

How do you water an African Violet?

African Violet White Blooms

One way, and perhaps the most popular method, is to use a self watering pot. The reason is because it’s an easy and effective way to know you are not overwatering (or underwatering) your plant. They are also nice because they save time and energy, the pot slowly and methodically waters your plant on its own. Finally, it will protect you from getting water droplets on the leaves because you aren’t watering from above the plant. Water droplets on the leaves can lead to unsightly spots that you don’t want on your African Violet.

The “do it yourself” method is to get a saucer and put your African Violet pot in it. This method is also incredibly easy, you just need to remember to water your violets! Once your African Violet pot is sitting in a saucer, use a watering can with a relatively thin spout (to avoid water going everywhere) and pour water in the saucer until the pot your African Violet resides in is sitting a shallow pool of water. Walk away and let your African Violet sit for at least 45 minutes. After you’ve let it sit for a while, check the water level. If there is still water in your saucer, your African Violet is telling you it doesn’t need any more water. Pour the remaining water out of the saucer, putting it back under your African Violet when you’re done. If there is no more water in the saucer after you return from letting your African Violet sit, put your finger in the soil to ensure you feel moistness. If the mix is still dry, repeat the process again.

Finally, there is the wicking method. In this method, you take a wet wick and weave it through a drainage hole in your pot when you repot your African Violet. Do this before you put in your mix. The top of your wick should be held in place at the top of the pot with your wick being long enough to dangle down through the drainage hole. Then, you put your pot over a water reservoir filled with room temperature water (a covered cup with a hole cut in the lid for example), and let the wick dangle down into the water. It’s important that the pot itself is above the water, not in the water. If the bottom of the pot is sitting in the water, your African Violet will get way too much water. Much like the self watering pot, the wick will gradually provide your African Violet with the water it needs.

How do I know when to water my African violet?

Knowing when to water your African Violet is pretty straightforward. Take your finger and lightly push down into the soil. If the mix feels bone dry, it’s time to water. If the mix feels moist, let your African Violet sit and check back in a few days.

What kind of water should I use and at what temperature?

We want to avoid soft water. Luckily, most tap water is hard enough to be work fine. When it comes to temperature, we want room temperature. The reason we want room temperature water, rather than cold, is because cold water is harder on the roots. It makes them cold, and thus can have adverse effects on the leaves of the African violet.

How do I know if I am over watering my African violet?

African Violet Grow Dome

Just like when you are checking if your African Violet needs water, we can check if it's over watered feeling the soil. If the mix is really wet, rather than moist, you should cut back on your watering. Your mix should be closer to damp than soggy.

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