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What is the best method for watering my African violet?

There are a lot of different methods of watering. None of them are the best method. Regardless of how you water, make sure you don’t over-water the plant.

New growers often ask whether ‘top watering’ or ‘bottom watering’ is best. In reality it makes no difference which direction the water comes from . It is far more important that the moisture level be within a proper range .

‘Bottom watering’ is when water is placed in a saucer and the soil soaks it up. This can be very handy when there is no easy way to get at the surface of the soil without damaging the leaves of your plants. If you always water from the bottom, an occasional flushing with water from above will remove any of the white salts that gather. Let the plant soak up only what it needs for proper moisture. Never let the plant stay sitting in water longer than about 30 minutes.

‘Top watering’ requires a suitable watering can to pour water on to the potting mix. If water is spilt on the plant, take the time to remove it with a tissue or similar soft cloth. Water early in the day so spilt water can evaporate - it is sunlight magnified through the water droplets which burn the plant. Extra water which spills from the bottom of the pot (into the saucer or base of the pot) shouldn’t be left for more than 30 minutes. Water again when the potting mix at the top of the pot is dry, but not before the entire potting mix is dry. Keen growers commonly use wick-watering where a nylon twine or wool dangles from the bottom of the pot. Water is kept in a container the pot sits on (a special base or plastic tub from margerine or takeaway food), and the wick draws water up to the potting mix and the African violet, as required.