In this article, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when selecting African violet pots, including size, material, and self-watering options, as well as how to optimize growth and blooms using these pots.

African violets (Saintpaulia) are a popular choice among indoor gardeners due to their compact size, lush foliage, and stunning blooms. However, one of the secrets to ensuring vibrant and healthy flowers lies in choosing the right pot.

Choosing the right size for African Violet pots

Selecting the perfect pot for your African violets is essential to ensure their health and promote successful growth. One of the most critical factors to consider is the size of the pot. A pot that is too small can lead to overcrowded roots and restrict the plant’s growth, while a pot that is too large can result in excessive moisture retention, which can cause root rot. This guide will provide you with detailed information and guidelines to help you choose the right size pot for your violet plants.

  1. Determine the ideal pot size based on your African violet’s leaf span.

A good rule of thumb when selecting a pot for your African violet is to choose one that is approximately one-third the diameter of the plant’s leaf span. The leaf span is the measurement from the tip of one leaf, across the center of the plant, to the tip of the opposite leaf. This proportion helps to ensure that the plant’s roots have enough room to grow while preventing the potting medium from retaining too much moisture.

For example, if your African violet has a leaf span of 9 inches, you should choose a pot with a diameter of around 3 inches. This will provide the plant with adequate space for root growth without causing the potting medium to hold excessive moisture.

  1. Ensure the pot has proper drainage.

Drainage is crucial for African violets, as they are sensitive to over-watering and susceptible to root rot. When choosing a pot, make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape. Some violet pots are designed with a self-watering system that includes an outer pot to hold water and an inner pot with drainage holes, which holds the plant and the potting medium. This design helps maintain the appropriate moisture level while preventing the plant’s roots from sitting in standing water.

  1. Consider repotting when roots become crowded.

As your violet grows, its roots may eventually become crowded in the pot, which can lead to reduced growth and poor overall health. It’s essential to monitor your plant’s roots and repot it into a slightly larger pot when necessary. When repotting, choose a pot that is only slightly larger (about 1-2 inches in diameter) than the current one to maintain the appropriate balance between pot size and leaf span. Gently remove the plant from its old pot, trim away any dead or damaged roots, and replant it in the new pot with fresh potting medium.

By following these guidelines and selecting the appropriate pot size for your African violets, you can ensure that your plants remain healthy, vibrant, and well-cared for. Remember to monitor their growth and adjust their pot size as needed to accommodate their changing needs.

Material Matters: The Best Pot Materials for African Violets

The material of your African violet pots can significantly impact the health and growth of your plants. It’s essential to choose a pot material that provides adequate drainage, insulation, and moisture control to ensure your violets thrive. This guide will explore the most popular pot materials and their benefits, helping you make an informed decision for your African violets.

  1. Ceramic pots: Beauty and functionality combined

Ceramic pots are a popular choice for African violets due to their attractive appearance and functional benefits. These pots provide excellent drainage, helping to prevent root rot and over-watering. In addition, the thick walls of ceramic pots offer insulation, protecting the plant’s roots from sudden temperature fluctuations.

To minimize moisture loss through the porous walls of a ceramic pot, opt for a glazed one. The glaze acts as a barrier, reducing water evaporation and helping to maintain consistent moisture levels within the potting medium. Keep in mind that ceramic pots can be heavier and more fragile than other options, so handle them with care.

  1. Plastic pots: Lightweight, affordable, and practical

Plastic pots are a lightweight and affordable option for African violet enthusiasts. These pots are especially useful if you need to move or transport your plants frequently. When choosing a plastic pot, look for high-quality materials that allow for proper drainage and won’t become brittle or degrade over time. Ensure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging and promote healthy root growth.

While plastic pots may not offer the same aesthetic appeal as ceramic pots, they can still be an attractive and practical choice for your violets. You can find plastic pots in various colors and styles to suit your preferences.

  1. Self-watering pots: Consistent moisture for busy plant owners
A sample implementation of a self irrigation system.
However, there are many other variants of this system, more presentable, on the market.

Self-watering pots are an excellent option for African violet owners who have busy schedules or struggle with over- or under-watering their plants. These pots feature a built-in reservoir that stores water and slowly releases it into the potting medium, providing consistent moisture to your African violets. The reservoir is typically separated from the potting medium by a wicking system or a perforated platform, ensuring that the plant’s roots don’t sit in standing water.

Self-watering pots come in various materials, including plastic and ceramic, so you can choose one that best suits your needs and preferences. Keep in mind that while these pots can be helpful in maintaining consistent moisture levels, you should still monitor the potting medium and adjust your watering schedule as needed.

By understanding the benefits of different pot materials, you can make an informed decision that best suits your African violets’ needs. Choose a material that offers adequate drainage, insulation, and moisture control, and enjoy watching your African violets flourish.

Comparative table of African Violets pots type

Aesthetic AppealHighModerateVaries
Drainage & InsulationExcellentGoodGood
PriceModerate to HighLow to ModerateModerate to High
Suitability for African VioletsVery SuitableSuitableVery Suitable

In this table, you can compare the criteria for African violet pots made of ceramic, plastic, and self-watering materials. Consider your specific requirements and preferences when selecting the best pot material for your violets.

Self-Watering African Violet Pots: Are They Worth It?

A sample of a more progressive pot (2-pot system), where the lower one contains water

Self-watering African violet pots have become increasingly popular among indoor gardening enthusiasts due to their ability to maintain optimal moisture levels for plants. Designed with a wicking system that draws water from a reservoir at the base of the pot, these self-watering containers ensure that the soil stays evenly moist without becoming waterlogged.

Key Benefits of Self-Watering African Violet Pot:

  1. Consistent Moisture Levels: One of the primary advantages of self-watering pots is their capacity to maintain consistent moisture levels in the soil. This is particularly important for African violets, as they are sensitive to both over- and under-watering. By eliminating the risk of inconsistent watering, self-watering pots promote healthier plants with more vibrant blooms, ultimately leading to an improved overall appearance for your indoor garden.
  2. Time-Saving Convenience: For busy plant owners who may struggle to find time to water their plants consistently, self-watering pots offer a convenient solution. By reducing the frequency of manual watering, these pots allow for more efficient time management without compromising the well-being of your violets. This not only saves you time and effort, but also ensures that your plants receive the care they need, even during periods of neglect.
  3. Reduced Risk of Disease: Maintaining consistent moisture levels is crucial for preventing the development of common plant diseases, such as fungal infections and root rot. Self-watering pots minimize the risk of these issues by ensuring that the soil is never too dry or too damp, creating an environment that is less conducive to the growth of harmful pathogens. As a result, your African violets are more likely to remain healthy and disease-free.

In summary, self-watering African violet pots provide numerous benefits, such as consistent moisture levels, time-saving convenience, and a reduced risk of plant diseases. These advantages make them an attractive option for indoor gardeners looking to optimize the care and maintenance of their violets. While the initial investment may be higher compared to traditional pots, the long-term benefits and convenience of self-watering pots make them a worthwhile consideration for any flower enthusiast.

Tips for Optimizing African Violet Growth and Blooms with the Right Pot

violet flowers

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect African violet pot, here are some tips to help you optimize growth and blooms:

  1. Ensure proper drainage: Regardless of the pot material, make sure there are drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and root rot.
  2. Use a well-draining soil mix: A good African violet soil mix will contain peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite, allowing for proper drainage and aeration.
  3. Water wisely: Always water your African violets from the bottom
  4. Monitor light exposure: African violets require bright, indirect light to thrive. Place your plants near a north- or east-facing window, or use a fluorescent grow light to provide the necessary light levels. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves and harm your plant.
  5. Maintain optimal temperature and humidity: African violets prefer temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C) and a humidity level of around 50%. Use a humidifier or place a tray of water near your plants to maintain the ideal humidity levels. Avoid exposing your plants to sudden temperature fluctuations or drafts.
  6. Fertilize regularly: Feed your violets with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks to support healthy growth and blooms. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct dilution rate.
  7. Prune and groom: Regularly remove dead leaves and spent blooms to encourage new growth and keep your violets looking their best. This also helps prevent diseases and pests from taking hold.
  8. Repot as needed: African violets generally need repotting every 12-18 months. Choose a slightly larger pot if the roots have become crowded, and gently tease them apart before placing the plant in fresh, well-draining soil.


Selecting the ideal pot for your African violet is a crucial step towards maintaining its health and promoting vibrant blooms. When choosing a pot, consider the pros and cons of each material, including glass, plastic, ceramic, and self-watering options. Each material offers unique benefits and drawbacks in terms of aesthetics, durability, and functionality.

Glass pots provide striking colors and visual appeal, but they can be heavy and expensive. Plastic pots are lightweight, affordable, and easy to modify, but may lack durability and eco-friendliness. Ceramic pots offer a variety of colors and designs, and are durable and reusable, but proper drainage holes and run-off dishes may not always be included.

Self-watering pots are an excellent choice for those looking to automate the watering process and prevent issues related to over- or under-watering. These pots use a reservoir system and a cotton rope to provide consistent moisture to your African violet.

The best African violet pot will have proper drainage, be the right size, and be made of a material that suits your needs and preferences. By carefully considering your options, you can create a beautiful and thriving environment for your African violet to flourish.


You can learn more about African violets on these sites: “The African Violet Society of America”: and “Violet Barn”:

If you have any questions, ideas or additions, I would be happy to see them in comments.

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Author Anna Parker

I am a designer and florist. My love for plants and flowers has been with me since I was a child, thanks to my parents who encouraged me to take care of our home garden and taught me the basics of plant care.

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