If you have ever tried to care for an African violet the same way as a conventional plant, you may notice that the plant’s leaves turn brown and mushy. This is because the leaves of African Violet plant leaves hate cold water.
Cold water on the leaves of African violet plants creates necrotic spots on the leaves. These spots may appear yellow. Additionally, if you water an African violet from above, the plant is more prone to crown rot, a fungal infection that affects the crown of the plant. Crown rot can cause the entire plant to turn brown or mushy. In general, do not get the leaves of your plant wet. The only exception is when you mist your plant to create humidity around the leaves. Misting the plant will not create large water droplets on the leaves.
Most people who care for African Violet plants water the plants from below. This can be accomplished by setting the pot into a dish of water for approximately 30 minutes. The water will gradually soak into the container through the sides of a clay terracotta container and through the drainage hole of the plant. You can also use a special African Violet container that has a chamber for the plant and soil and a separate container for the violet’s water. Or you can use a self-watering container. The soil should be damp to the touch, but not saturated with water.
When watering the plant, never use water from a water softener. Water softeners contain sodium to soften hard water. This sodium can remain in your plant’s soil and damage the plant. Ordinary tap water is sufficient to water African Violets. Leave tap water sitting for 1 hour to allow the water to return to room temperature and the chlorine to dissipate. Or you can collect rainwater.
You can mix specialized African violet fertilizer with the water before you place your plant container in the watering dish.
For more information on African Violets, see yesterday’s post: Lighting African Violets.