Not all violets are violet coloured at least not African Violets.
More plants die from over watering than lack of water and this is particularly true for African Violets. These blue, pink, white and violet or bi-coloured plants are native to mountainous tropics and need very little water. Here are some gardeners tips to avoid killing your favourite African Violets – Saintapulia.
- Only water African Violets when the soil is dry and I mean dry!
- Soak the plant with (soft) warm water when it is begging for a drink.
- Let all the surplus drain off. Do not leave any water in the saucer.
- Top or bottom watering are both acceptable but it may be easier for beginners to start with bottom watering to avoid drenching the fleshy leaf stalks.
- Use pure water without chemical additives – if snow melt or rain water is available so much the better.
- Let chlorinated tap water stand for 24 hours before using
- African violets do not like hard alkaline water. Use a very small amount of vinegar or a softening acidifier in hard water areas to neutralise the alkaline effect. This only needs to be used every 6-8 weeks or so.
- If grown in a terracotta pot the plant will dry out quicker than with plastic pots.
- Keep well ventilated to avoid crown rot or mildew.
More Wet Tips
It is a variety of factors that influence when a Saintpaulia needs watering. The variety of plant, time of year, soil and growing conditions, size and type of pot, growing temperature, sun and humidity all play a part. Err on the side of caution and only water when absolutely necessary.
If your African Violet gets dusty it can be washed in a slow stream of warm water. Leave them in a warm dry spot avoiding sunlight and draughts until the leaves dry out.
When going on holiday it is possible to stand your plants on water soaked newspapers, damp sand or soaked bricks if you feel they will need water whilst you are away.
Cold water spilt on to leaves can kill the chlorophyll and warm water in the sun will act as a magnifier and cause brown spots. If leaves are wet get them out of the sun and dry as soon as possible.
The African Violet Handbook (Paperback) by Tony Clements