African violets are popular perennial houseplants that produce attractive clusters of purple, pink, white or blue flowers. These pretty plants are native to regions of eastern Africa. They prefer medium to bright, indirect light and just enough water to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Read on for some helpful information about the correct watering practices for your African violets.
How often should you water African violets?
Rather than follow a set schedule, the best way to know when your African violets need watering is to test the soil with your finger. If the top layer of soil feels dry against your fingertips, it is an indication that you should water the plants.
African violets may require more or less water depending on the type of potting mix you use, as well as on your local weather conditions. Hot weather makes the soil absorb moisture more quickly, and this means you need to water more frequently. Inversely, during winter the soil will absorb less moisture and you will need to reduce your watering.
Flush the soil thoroughly with water at least every six weeks to reduce the buildup of harmful salts.
How to water your African violets?
The proper way to water your plants is from the bottom, to avoid wetting the leaves. This will prevent the development of spots on the leaves, which happens if they are exposed to sunlight when wet. Spots on the leaves may also indicate that your plants have a fungal infection, in which case you should improve their air circulation and ensure that they have sufficient soil drainage.
To water from the bottom, place the plants in a tray or in the kitchen sink and submerge them in room-temperature water for at least 30 minutes. When the top of the soil turns dark and moist, the plants have had enough water. This method also increases the humidity in the plants’ environment.
How much should you water your African violets?
Ideally, you should give your plants about an inch of water. Submerge the pots in a container or sink with said amount of water and remove them after 20 minutes, or when the potting mix is moist. Do not allow the pots to stand in water for too long, as this could invite root rot.
See to it that the soil is moist from top to bottom each time you water the plants. It is important that the soil is not overly soggy after watering, so that soil aeration can still take place and the roots can have access to oxygen. Waterlogged soil also encourages the growth of root rot.
What type of water should you use?
The best water to use for your African violets is rainwater or filtered water. Avoid using tap water because it contains chlorine that could damage the plants. If there is no other water available but tap water, let it stand overnight in a bowl so that the chlorine can dissipate.
Use room-temperature water because these plants are sensitive to temperature changes. Cold water will chill the roots and the leaves will curl down. Soft water should also be avoided, as it diminishes the plants’ ability to absorb water and nutrients.
To make sure that the plants receive the right amount of water, a self-watering device is ideal. Check the soil every other day to get the most out of your self-watering device. This can also increase the humidity around your African violets.
It is also important to monitor and flush the soil to avoid any build-up of fertilizer salt.
African violets are popular perennials, native to eastern Africa, that produce small, pretty flowers. When it comes to their watering requirements, they like just enough water to keep their soil moist but not soggy. How often you water your plants will depend on the soil type and your local climate. The best rule to follow is to check the soil with your fingers. If the soil feels dry against your fingertips, it is time to water your plants.
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