Thursday, January 14, 2010

African Violet Pots

I was told that African Violets need special potting containers. Is that really true? What is an African Violet pot? Where do I get them?

African violets do not require special pots. Any pot with good drainage will work as long as the pot is not too much bigger than the plant. A pot that is too large can have the potting soil hold more moisture than the plant can use. This can cause the plant to rot.

However, there are self-watering pots that make great African Violet pots. I love these pots! They have a pot within the pot. The walls and bottoms of the inside pot are unglazed. This allows water to pass through from the water in the outer pot to the plant inside the inner pot when the plant needs water.
The outer pot set next to its inner pot.

This eliminates much of the guesswork of when is the right time to water your African Violet because the pressure from the plant roots will only pull water into the inner pot when the plant actually needs the water. You can also put your African Violet fertilizer in the water. I recommend mixing the African Violet fertilizer in room temperature water before you fill the outer reservoir pot. How the inner pot fits into the outer one.

Putting water into the outer pot.
Using this method you only have to water about once a month. Lift out the inner pot and add water when the water level drops too low in the outer pot. Room temperature water is the best.

Putting the planted inner pot into outer one.

African Violet potted in a self-watering pot. All finished.

This also eliminates the problem of watering African Violets from the top. They tend to have rot problems if you get water on the leaves or in the crown (the center part where all the leaves are coming off the stem).

The pots have glazed bottoms so they can be put on any surface without water leakage out the bottom. The water reservoirs make the pots heavier too so Joe the Cat’s gardening paw cannot easily knock them over when he get miffed over lack of attention. Another advantage to these pots is that they come in all kinds of beautiful colors. I love the blues and purples because these colors make a very attractive background for the leaves and flowers. The blues also give a dry visual ‘water element’ to my inside designs. OK, I have no inner design sense. I put the pots where they will fit and get the best light, but they are pretty and do remind me of water.

In season, spring through fall, you can purchase these pots at most garden centers. In the winter they are hard to obtain locally because most garden centers sell out so they have space for winter holiday items. I bought my latest batch of pots from the Maryland China Company through the Marketplace. If you do it this way pay careful attention to shipping costs which can be as expensive as the pots themselves.

On a sad note, one of our regular garden center customers, Jackie Herr, has passed away. She was a classy lady with a ready smile and sense of humor who shared our passion for plants. We were always glad to see her smiling face. She will be sorely missed.

Until next time, Happy Gardening