How to Water African Violets: Signs of Overwatering & Underwatering

African violets are beautiful houseplants with fuzzy leaves and pretty white, purple, and blue flowers. They thrive in a bright window (but not direct sunlight). They remain small and neat and do not require much attention.

African violets are known as the “friendship plant,” They are frequently used as a symbol of loyalty, dedication, and faithfulness. Watering these plants has become a beautiful adventure for me. This guide will help you learn how I keep these plants alive. I’ll explain all you should know on how to water African Violets.

How Do I Water African Violets?

African Violets

Bottom watering is recommended for this plant because the foliage dislikes being wet. When the leaves become moist, it can cause blight, spots on the leaves, powdery mildew, and various other problems. Bottom-feeding an African Violet keeps the soil wet while keeping the leaves dry. You can use a saucer depending on the size of your plant, but for larger plants, an option is to use a tray that can hold at least an inch of water.

It is better to water with room temperature water rather than distilled water from the refrigerator or ice cubes for a longer-release watering system. The plant can be shocked by either too cold or too hot water. To water your plant, place the planter in a saucer or tray with at least 1 inch of water. Naturally, drainage holes will be necessary in the pot. After roughly 20 minutes, or until the potting mix is moist, remove it from the water.

Never leave the pot in water, as this is a guaranteed method to attract rot. You can also water the plant from above, but be careful not to dampen the foliage. It’s a good idea to water deeply from the top now and again to leach away salts that can accumulate in potting soil. Fill the saucepan halfway with water and set it aside to drain. If you use tap water, ensure you dechlorinate it before watering your plant.

How Much Water Does An African Violet Require?

Overwatering is highly harmful to African Violets. Allow your soil to dry completely between waterings. Too much water can result in damp soil and a wilted or withering plant. A plant in wet soil will develop root rot, which can swiftly progress to crown rot.

You should water the soil until it is moist but not soggy or squishy. You can use your finger to test for moisture. Soil should be damp but not dripping wet. You can also do a weight test by taking up the pot. A dry pot will feel light, whereas a moist pot will feel substantial.

How Often To Water African Violets 

It would help if you let your soil dry out between waterings which is a good rule of thumb, but keep it dry for a short time. Because the pot dries up faster in the warmer months, you may need to water it more frequently than in the cooler months.

However, regardless of the season, water when the soil has dried. You can test for dryness by pressing your finger against the pot or lifting it to see how heavy it is. It may take some practice, but you’ll quickly be able to observe when your plant needs to be hydrated. Just be careful not to overwater.

It is best to water African violets only when they are dehydrated, which you can only determine by checking the soil. If the top dirt is dry, press your finger into it. Water your plants when the top soil is dry and not wet, and leave the soil so it dries completely in between waterings.

Factors To Consider When Watering African Violets 

Pink and purple African Violets

Before watering, remember to consider these factors:

  1. Soil

If you have an African Violet, it is probably in a soil-filled pot. The soil is most likely a mild mixture designed specifically for this plant. Well-drained, lightweight soil with a high organic matter content is ideal. It is intended to retain moisture without becoming soggy while also allowing for some air flow around the roots. You can likely see and feel the dirt in the pot unless you have a massive plant in a tiny pot. It should be dry, soft, and spongy to the touch.

African violets prefer a light, porous potting mix. A commercial African violet mix works well, but adding a handful of perlite or vermiculite to aid drainage would make it much better. Make sure the bottom of the bag has a suitable drainage hole.

  1. Water

Not all water is equal when caring for African Violets. They are sensitive to both water temperature and chemicals. Make use of room temperature or slightly tepid water. Do not use cold or hot water because it will shock the plant. You can leave your water in a jar overnight before using it. It allows room temperature and some chlorine to dissipate if you use chemically treated municipal tap water.

Signs Of Overwatering 

Droopy, squishy, and mushy leaves are unmistakable signs of overwatering. These additional indicators can help confirm if overwatering is the cause of your plant’s problems.

  1. Stunted Growth 

If your plant is overwatered, it may drop its leaves, grow more slowly, or stop growing entirely.

  1. Wet Soil 

Damp soil means more water in the soil than your plant can absorb, or the soil needs to be dense for its roots to absorb water efficiently.

  1. Root Rot 

Above ground, root rot produces yellowing and dropping of foliage. You’ll notice that segments of the root have gone black and moist beneath the dirt.

How To Fix An Overwatered African Violet 

To solve the problems caused by overwatering, you should do the following:

  • Trim away any dead, slack, or mushy leaves first. These leaves will not regenerate; removing them allows your plant to heal by freeing up energy.
  • After that, take your African violet out of its pot and tenderly brush the soil away from the roots. If the damage is severe, remove any dark or mushy root segments and treat them with root rot therapy.
  • Re-pot in a smaller container if you removed a significant section of the root system, as African violets would want to be somewhat root-bound.

Signs Of Underwatering 

If your African violets exhibit the following signs, they are most likely underwatering:

  1. Droopy Leaves 

Underwatering can cause African violet leaves to droop. A prolonged dry spell might rob your plant of the water required to keep its foliage firm and healthy. Instead, thirsty leaves become drab and wilted.

  1. Dry Soil 

Dry, crumbly soil suggests that your plant has depleted all available moisture from its surroundings.

  1. Light Pot

If your pot is abnormally light, this suggests that there is no water in the soil.

  1. Gap In Soil

Soil expands and takes up more space as a result of water. Arid soil will fade and peel away from the pot’s sides.

How To Fix An Underwatered African Violet 

Underwatering is a simple cure if you discover it early enough. Give your plant a good stiff drink! However, don’t overcompensate by frequently soaking your plant. Overwatering, rather than soothing its hunger, will quickly turn your fragile African violet from dry to drowning. 

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