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African Violet Watering 101 Guide

African Violet Watering 101 Guide

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Whenever you’re taking care of any plant, it’s important to consider how much water it needs. Getting the watering requirements right will always be of the utmost importance.

African violets are generally easy to care for. They’re good flowering plants for beginners that you’ll truly love.

Watering these plants won’t be tough, but you still need to approach things the right way. If you’re new to caring for African violets, you might not know how much water to give them yet.

Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about watering African violets. This will help you to get the best results so you can keep your houseplants looking fantastic for as long as possible.

How to Water an African Violet

Watering African violets won’t be too hard to do once you understand how to approach the situation. You need to be careful when watering African violets or you can cause problems.

You want to avoid touching the foliage with the water. Generally, it’s easier to water the plants from the bottom than it is to do so from the top.

Later, you’ll learn more about watering the plants from the bottom. For now, you’ll learn how you can safely water the plants from the top.

To start, you’ll need to buy some sort of watering can that has a long and thin spout. This will allow you to place the spout by the base of the plant without touching the leaves.

Now you can water the plant at the base and then wait a few minutes. You should see water coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

This indicates that you did things right. If necessary, you can gently move the leaves to the side when watering your African violet.

Note that it’s best to use lukewarm water when watering these plants. Be careful not to splash the leaves with water.

After watering the plant, you should empty the saucer that the pot is sitting in. Then place the plant back where it usually sits.

Do African Violets Need to Be Watered From the Bottom?

It’s best to water African violets from the bottom since this is the easiest method overall. This is safe for the plant since it eliminates the risk of the foliage getting splashed with water.

Many enthusiasts prefer this method because of its simplicity. You can simply allow the plant to soak up the water that it needs.

However, it should be noted that you don’t need to do things this way. You can also water your plant from the top using the method discussed above.

So it comes down to which method you prefer. Some will prefer watering the plants from the bottom while others will find top-watering the plants to be ideal.

You might like top-watering if your African violets are one of many houseplants that you own. Perhaps you simply want to water the African violets similarly to how you water the other plants.

Just be careful and make sure to use a watering can with a long spout that’s thin enough. Otherwise, you can water these plants using a turkey baster if you’d rather go that route.

How to Water African Violets From the Bottom

Luckily, watering African violets from the bottom is incredibly simple. You can simply let them soak up water from the bottom of the pot.

Place the pot in a tray that has been filled with warm water. The water should be room temperature so it’ll be safe for the plant.

Allow the pot to sit in the tray and soak up the water. At least one inch of the bottom of the pot should be submerged in the water for this to go right.

Let the pot stay in the water for twenty minutes before removing it. After twenty minutes have passed, get rid of any water that’s left in the tray.

The plant should have soaked up a lot of water during this time. If the plant soaked up all of the water that means that it’s very thirsty.

In this situation, you want to add more water to the tray and let it soak up water for another ten minutes. When you’re done, discard the water and put your plant back where it usually sits.

For many, this will be the ideal method for watering African violets. It’s certainly a simple way to approach things that can work out nicely.

How Often to Water African Violets (Indoor vs. Outdoor)

It’s most common for people to take care of African violets indoors. However, some people live in places where these plants can grow outside.

So there are differences to note about how often to water the plant when caring for it indoors vs outdoors. An indoor African violet might need to be watered more or less often depending on various factors.

Indoor conditions can vary quite a bit. Some homes are drier than others and some might choose to keep their homes warmer as well.

Ideally, you want to check the soil to see when the plant needs to be watered. Those living in dry environments will likely need to water the plant more often.

That being said, it’s common for these plants to be watered once per week. Instead of relying on this figure, it’s best to check the plant periodically by touching the soil.

When your African violet plant has soil that is dry to the touch, it’s time to give it some water. Approach things this way all the time and caring for African violets indoors won’t be tough.

Outdoor African violets will need to be watered more or less often depending on the type of climate that you live in. If you live in a humid place, you won’t need to water as often.

You can get away with watering the plant every five to seven days when living in a humid environment. People living in hot places might need to water the plant as often as every two or three days.

Colder climates make it so the African violets only need to be watered once every seven to ten days. So it all depends on the weather conditions and how fast your soil is drying out.

How Often to Water African Violets in the Winter

Watering African violets will be a bit different in the winter since it’ll be far cooler. You’ll water the plant far less often than you would during the summer.

During winter, African violets need to be watered every seven to ten days. You can check the soil to see when the plant is ready to be watered.

It’ll take longer for the plant to dry out in the winter. In rather cold areas, you might only need to water the plant once every two weeks during the winter.

Truly, it’s best to check the soil to see how things are going. Only watering the plant based on an arbitrary schedule won’t be the best idea.

Checking the soil helps you to know when it’s time to water the plant. Simply know that the plants need to be watered less frequently during the winter months.

How Much Water Do African Violets Need?

African violets need around one or two inches of water per week when being cared for outdoors. When watering the plants indoors, you’ll be giving them as much water as they need.

You don’t necessarily have to measure out the water in the can meticulously. It’s fine to simply water the plant and let the water flow out of the drainage holes in the pot.

If you’re watering the plant from the bottom, just allow the pot to sit in one inch of water. This will be enough to give the African violets a good drink.

The plant needs to dry out between watering sessions. It should be around one week before you’ll need to water the plant again.

You might need to water the plant more or less often depending on how dry it is in your home. Also, the overall temperature will play a role in how fast the soil dries out.

Do African Violets Like to Be Misted?

Misting can be dangerous for African violets. You see, the foliage isn’t supposed to get wet.

When water gets on the foliage it can cause issues such as leaf spotting. This is permanent and can make the plant look bad.

Also, you should know that African violets are susceptible to problems with fungus and various types of rot. Crown rot can occur when these plants get too much water.

So you should avoid misting your plants directly. There are other ways that you can make the area humid enough for these plants.

The Best Humidity for African Violets

African violets do best when exposed to humidity levels of 80%. They can do just fine when the humidity is between 50% and 60%, though.

Most homes will have humidity levels that stay between 40% and 60%. You can raise the humidity in your home using a humidifier if necessary.

Signs of an Overwatered African Violet

Watering African violets too much will be a very bad thing. Earlier, you learned that these plants are susceptible to rot.

If you were to water the plant too much, you’d notice the leaves getting mushy. The crown of the plant and the root ball would start to rot away as well.

The first sign of overwatering will be that the plant will look a bit mushy. It’ll be softer than it should be and it might have a limp appearance.

You can avoid problems like this by always checking the soil before watering the plant. Make sure that the soil is dry to the touch before choosing to water the plant.

Are Self Watering Pots Good for African Violets?

Self-watering pots are thought to be a great choice for African violet plants. You can find pots being sold under the name “African violet pots” that are truly just self-watering pots.

These pots are going to work out nicely. They allow the plant to retain moisture and should make it so you won’t need to water them as often.

Of course, you don’t need to use these pots if you don’t want to. It’s also fine to use a standard pot if you’d prefer to go that route.

Simply make sure that you’re checking the plant often enough to see if it needs water. You don’t want to avoid giving the plant water when it needs it, but you also never want to water an African violet too much.

How to Water African Violets When on Vacation

There are a few ideas that can work to help you water your African violets while you’re away on a trip. One of the most popular methods is to place the plant in a sweater box.

This is a plastic container that will cover the plant and allow it to stay moist. It should be fine while you’re away since the container keeps water from evaporating.

So long as you’re not gone longer than a week it should be fine to utilize this method. Another idea is to wick-water the plant.

This is an irrigation method that involves using a wick and putting it through from the bottom of the pot to the top. The bottom of the wick is placed in a container that contains a reservoir of water.

It allows you to slowly water the plant and it can help you to get through your vacation. It’s still best to top-water the plant every so often when you use the wick-watering method, but it’s something that can help you while you’re on a trip.

Of course, you could ask a friend to stop by and water your plants. For many, this will be the most practical idea.

How Long Can an African Violet Go Without Water?

African violets won’t die right away if you forget to water them. Generally, the plant will last at least four weeks without water.

It’s possible for an African violet to survive six weeks or slightly longer without water. It just depends on the health of the plant and various other factors.

This doesn’t mean that you should let your plant go this long without water. You can stress the plant and cause many problems if you forget to water it too often.

Check the soil fairly often to see if the plant needs to be watered. You likely won’t need to water more often than once per week under normal conditions, but it’s still wise to be a proactive houseplant owner.

Can You Water African Violets with Coffee?

You certainly shouldn’t pour hot coffee on your African violets. They do like coffee grounds as fertilizer, though.

It’s easy to make up a coffee water mixture and use it to fertilize the plant. People often mix coffee grounds with water and then water the plant with that.

It’s also fine to simply sprinkle coffee grounds on top of the soil. Sometimes people mix coffee grounds and eggshells to make a fertilizer mixture.

You can do this every few months if you want to. It’s a good way to get rid of your coffee grounds if you’d like to utilize them rather than just throw them in the trash.

Can You Water African Violets with Ice Cubes?

Using ice cubes to water African violets isn’t a good idea. Earlier, you learned that these plants are meant to be watered with room-temperature water.

So the water should be warm. It shouldn’t be hot or cold.

Cold water is bad for your African violets. It can cause issues with discoloration and you want to keep your plant looking as nice as possible.

Avoid using ice cubes since this will only cause harm to your plants. You can use ice cubes to water many other types of plants, but it’s simply not a recommended method for watering African violets.

Final Thoughts

Use the information above to water African violets the right way. It should be easy to get great results now that you know what to do.

Be careful not to water these plants too much. Let them dry out between watering sessions and always check the soil with your fingers before proceeding.

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Friday 14th of July 2023

I feel doomed. I got the two violets with a yarn wick and was told to put them in water - where the wick touches - and they water themselves. They drank and drank, then the larger had buds but these all browned and 3 outer leaves rotted. I withdrew the water. Watered each 8 days and the leaves continued to mildew. When I cut them they are full of water. So now I am not giving them any water. I live in Florida. It is both hot and humid, but not that much. Inside they are and in A/C at about 80. They get decent but indirect light. Can you help?


Thursday 3rd of August 2023

@Lisa Bridenstine, Today, I did what you suggested and took the violet apart and found it all dry, dead dry. But if I give her water, her leaf turns brown.


Tuesday 1st of August 2023

@Lisa Bridenstine, Thank you. I don't think this describes what I have. My plant does not look like the plant in the video. With my plant, it was supposed to be wick watered. When I saw the wick was drawing up too much water, I waited 8 days (it sounds unclear in my original letter) before giving it water, then some and then 7 days without. But the thing is: I don't know how to water! When I was given the plants by the person who sold to me, she said there is nothing to do, just put the wick in the water and it waters itself. She sold me two. They each drank all their water pretty quickly and suffered pretty quickly. Since I took their water away, there has been improvement. But I absolutely do not know when to decide when to give them water anymore. I waited 10 days last time and then lost another beautiful leaf exactly 2 days after I finally gave it a little water. I live in south Florida so there is some humidity in the house, but I have A/C and the room is generally about 80.

Lisa Bridenstine

Friday 21st of July 2023

Hi Louise, I'm sorry, that sounds frustrating. It's best to let the soil around the roots dry out in between watering. It sounds like your African Violet may have root rot. I would suggest inspecting the roots and if you find any rot, remove the rotten areas, treat, and repot with fresh soil. I found this video that shows some closeups of what root rot looks like so you know what to look for.

Best of luck! Lisa