Garden Design → Container Gardens → Indoor Plants → All About African Violets → Starting the African Violet → African Violet Care → Propagating and Repotting African Violets → Comparing African Violet Pots
Although African violets grow in just about any kind of container that has adequate drainage, the type of care you intend to provide makes a difference in the style of flowerpot you choose, especially at watering time.
Many African violet pots are as pretty as the flowers that grow inside them. The three most common types of flowerpots for African violets are the unglazed terra cotta (clay) pots, cheap plastic pots with attached saucers, and self-watering pots.
Although not high fashion, the red terra cotta pot adds a classic look to both indoor and outdoor gardening.
Because unglazed terra cotta flower pots are very porous they're great for giving plants a good soak, letting water through the pot into the soil or potting mixture. After watering, terra cotta easily sheds excess water to provide quick evaporation.
The disadvantages in using terra cotta pots for your African violets are that 1) you may need to water more frequently because of too quick evaporation, 2) pots need to be set on some type of saucer to catch excess water, and 3) pores in terra cotta pots are good hiding places for mites, bacteria and other pathogens.
Pots with attached saucers are also good choices for African violets.
Drainage holes at the bottom give you the choice of watering either from the top or letting the plant drink from the filled saucer. Although these types of pots are usually made out of some kind of plastic, you may find them in other materials as well.
The disadvantages to using plastic pots with attached saucers are 1) you need to be more attentive at watering time, keeping an eye on the saucer and refilling it until your Saintpaulis gets a good drink and 2) you must be very careful after watering to drain any excess water from the saucer, doing a final check 30 minutes to an hour after watering.
It just makes sense that America's most loved indoor plant also has a special pot.
The traditional two-piece ceramic pot, the oyama pot and the dandy pot are three common types of African violet self-watering pots. In addition, you can use a wick system to turn just about any type of container with a drainage hole into a self-watering pot.
The disadvantages of self-watering pots are 1) in a two piece ceramic pot, it may take some trial and error to fill the outer pot to the correct level and 2) you need to check both your violet and the pot more frequently to be sure there is water in the reservoir and the potting mixture is moist but not saturated.
The traditional African violet self-watering pot is a two-piece ceramic pot. The bottom reservoir is glazed ceramic. Fill it about 1/3 full with water (some have fill lines) and insert the top part, which is usually made of porous unglazed ceramic and is the part that holds your plant.
Ceramic self-waterers come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, and are plain or delightfully decorated to show your violets off at their best!
The Dandy pot is a type of self-waterer that looks like an inverted top hat with a ruffled brim. The "hat" sits atop the reservoir.
Dandy pots are available in many colors and sizes. Most come with a see-through reservoir that makes refilling a cinch.
The oyama pot is a self-watering pot that is used with a soil-less African violet potting mixture. Typically made of white plastic, the top part of the pot is slitted and sits atop the reservoir. Peat moss in the bottom of the plant container draws water from the reservoir into the potting mixture.
Oyama pots are typically quite inexpensive and are the choice of many African violet hybridizers.
A wick system is easy and inexpensive to make. You need a container to hold water (reservoir), a pot with a drainage hole, and a length of wicking cord. Your planted African violet may sit either atop the reservoir or along side it.
First, cut a piece of wicking cord long enough to extend from your reservoir to about half the height of your pot. Thread the cord through the drainage hole in your pot, fill the pot about ? full with potting mixture, separate and fan the threaded wick or coil a longer length of cord over the top of the mixture. Continue planting your violet, as you normally would and put the other end of the cord into your filled reservoir. When the water in the reservoir runs low, just fill it up again. You and your African violet will both be happy!