African Violet Watering Guide: How To Water An African Violet Plant

African Violet Watering Guide: How To Water An African Violet Plant

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Image by PhotoGoricki

Watering African violets (Saintpaulia) isn’t as complicated as you may think. Actually, these charming, old-fashioned plants are surprisingly adaptable and easy to get along with. Wondering how to water an African violet? Read on to learn more about African violet water needs.

How to Water an African Violet

When watering African violets, the main thing to remember is that overwatering is the number one reason a plant fails to thrive, or just up and dies. Overwatering, without a doubt, is the worst thing you can do for your African violet.

How do you know when to water an African violet? Always test the potting mix with your finger first. If the potting mix feels moist, try again in a few days. It’s healthiest for the plant if you allow the potting mix to dry slightly between watering, but it should never be bone dry.

One easy way to water an African violet is to place the pot in a container with no more than an inch (2.5 cm.) of water. Remove it from the water after about 20 minutes, or until the potting mix is moist. Never let the pot stand in water, which is a surefire way to invite rot.

You can also water at the top of the plant, but be careful not to wet the leaves. Actually, it’s a good thing to water thoroughly from the top once in a while to leach out salts that can build up in potting soil. Water well and let the pot drain.

Tips on Watering African Violets

African violets tend to be sensitive to cold water, which may create white rings (ring spot) on the leaves. To get around this, let tap water sit overnight before watering. This will also allow chlorine to evaporate. 

A light, porous potting mix is best for African violets. A commercial mix for African violets works well, but it will be even better if you add a handful of perlite or vermiculite to improve drainage. You can also use a regular commercial potting mix mixed with half perlite or vermiculite.

Be sure the container has a good drainage hole in the bottom.

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