I’m a believer in self-watering pots in general. I mean, if I was a plant, I’d want to grab water when I need it and not rely solely on my plant parent to notice me! Ummm, hellooo – over here!! I knew African violets would love helping themselves, but I wanted to make sure I tested it out – so I did a little experiment.

In this DIY African Violet Self-Watering Pot: The Secret to Thriving, Blooming Plants post, I’m sharing why you may want to consider moving your beloved AVs into a new self-sufficient home. They seem to like their independence! I’ll also share how to create your own self-watering planter that is not only a hassle-free solution but pretty enough to complement those sweet, colorful little star blooms.

A glass self watering pot full of African violets.

*This post on DIY Self watering planters includes affiliate (paid) links, for more info on affiliate links visit here.

About my African Violet Pot Experiment

Alright, folks, I had a hunch that self-watering pots might be the secret to keeping African Violets happy and thriving. So, I decided to put it to the test!

I grabbed six of these purple and pink beauties from the same shop and planted three in a self-watering planter and three in a ceramic pot. Same soil mix, same South-facing window, same TLC – except for the watering part, of course. The self-watering crew? They just needed a reservoir refill once a week. The others? They got their weekly drink from me.

And boy, did the results speak for themselves! The African Violets in the self-watering planter are absolutely killing it – lush, green, and almost continuous blooming like there’s no tomorrow. The ones in the regular planter? Not so much.

A comparison of a beautiful lush blooming self watering pot of african violet vs. a non flowering pot.

How Self-Watering Pots and Planters Work

Self-watering pots and planters have a built-in reservoir that holds water and a wicking system that draws the water up into the soil. This system allows your African Violets to access water as needed, without relying on you to water them constantly. The consistent moisture provided by the self-watering mechanism promotes healthy growth and helps prevent over or under-watering. It’s a convenient and effective way to keep your plants thriving, even if you’re away for a short period or forget to water them on occasion. For a more detailed explanation of how self-watering pots work, check out my post on DIY self-watering planters, where I go into the specifics of the system.

3 self watering planters made with glass globes and vases.

Benefits of self-watering pots for African Violets

  • No more guesswork: Your African Violets will always have the perfect amount of moisture, without you having to play the “am I watering too much or too little” game.
  • Happier, healthier plants: With consistent moisture, your African Violets will be living their best lives, flaunting lush leaves and stunning blooms.
  • Less work for you: You can say goodbye to the weekly watering routine and hello to more free time for yourself. Just fill up the reservoir and let these special pots do their thing!
  • No more sad, thirsty plants: Self-watering pots keep your African Violets hydrated even if you’re away for a few days or (gasp!) forget to water them on schedule.
  • Healthier roots, better growth: The consistent moisture from self-watering pots promotes healthy root development, which means your African Violets will be thriving like never before!

Note: Self-watering pots are a game-changer for those who love to travel! Before you head off on your next adventure, simply fill the vase to the brim with fresh water. Your African violets will happily help themselves to a drink whenever they need it, so you can relax and enjoy your vacation without worrying about thirsty plants back home. Whether you’re sipping margaritas on the beach or exploring new cities, you can rest easy knowing your African violets are well-cared for, thanks to this clever self-watering system!

A bright purple African violet.

How to Make a Self-Watering Planter for African Violets



  1. Gather your materials:

    the glass light shade, cylinder glass vase, self-watering wick, African violet potting soil mix, and three African violet plants.

  2. Prepare the Wick:

    Feed the self-watering wick through the small opening at the bottom of the glass light shade, leaving approximately 6 inches of the wick hanging below the shade and 6 inches inside the shade.

  3. Fill the Planter with Soil:

    Fill the glass light shade with African violet potting soil mix, ensuring that the wick remains in the center of the soil. Gently press the soil down to remove any air pockets.

  4. Prepare the African Violet Plants:

    Remove the African violet plants from their regular pots and gently loosen the roots.

  5. Position the Plants:

    Place each individual plant into the glass light shade, positioning them evenly around the wick. Large African violet plants may spill over the top of the pot.

  6. Secure the Plants and Wick:

    Gently press the soil around the plants to secure them in place. Make sure the wick is in contact with the soil and the roots of the plants.

  7. Set Up the Water Reservoir:

    Fill the cylinder glass vase with water and place it underneath the glass light shade. The wick should be hanging into the water, with the light shade sitting securely on top of the vase.

  8. Choose the Perfect Location:

    Place your self-watering African violet planter in a location that receives bright, indirect light. African violets thrive in well-lit areas but should be protected from direct sunlight.

  9. Maintain the Water Level

    Monitor the water level in the cylinder glass vase regularly. Refill the vase as needed to ensure that the wick always has access to water. The self-watering system will provide consistent moisture to the African violets, promoting healthy growth.

3 plants in a self watering planter made from a glass lighting cover.

Maintenance and Care

Taking care of your self-watering African violet planter is a breeze! Just keep an eye on the water level in the reservoir and top it off when needed. This will ensure your little purple beauties always have a steady supply of moisture. If you notice any dead or yellowing leaves, gently remove them to keep your plant looking its best. Give your African violets plenty of bright, indirect light and they’ll reward you with a show-stopping display of blooms. Oh, and don’t forget to show them some love with an occasional dose of African violet fertilizer to keep them thriving. In fact African violets make the list for indoor plants that like coffee grounds!

Tip: When refilling the water reservoir, use a paper towel and wipe the vase to remove any algae or mineral buildup. This will help keep the water clean and prevent any potential issues that could affect your African violets’ health. Regularly cleaning the reservoir and wet wick will ensure that your plants receive fresh, uncontaminated water, promoting optimal growth and vitality.

Frequently Asked Questions for African Violet Self-Watering Pots

What type of pot is best for African violets

African violets thrive in pots with good drainage, such as those with drainage holes at the bottom. Plastic pots, ceramic pots, and clay pots can all work well. The key is to choose a pot that is proportionate to the size of your African violet plant, as they prefer to be slightly root-bound. Special African violet pots with an inner pot and outer pot (like the self-watering system) are also a great option for maintaining constant moisture.

Can I use regular potting mix for my African violets in self-watering pots?

While you can use regular potting mix, African violets prefer a well-draining, lightweight potting mix that contains ingredients like peat moss or coconut coir. Many garden centers, home improvement stores like Home Depot, and even some grocery stores carry potting mixes specifically designed for African violets. These mixes help maintain the right balance of moisture and air circulation around the roots.

How much water do African violets need in self-watering pots?

The good news is that self-watering pots help regulate the water supply for your African violets. Fill the outer pot or reservoir with water, ensuring that the wick is wet and can draw moisture up into the soil. African violets prefer consistent moisture but not soggy soil. The self-watering system allows the plant to absorb water as needed, reducing the risk of overwatering or underwatering.

Can I use tap water for my African violets in self-watering pots?

While tap water is convenient, it can sometimes contain chemicals or minerals that may harm sensitive African violets. If possible, use filtered water, distilled water, or rainwater to fill the reservoir of your self-watering pot. If you must use tap water, allow it to sit overnight so that any chlorine can evaporate before using it for your plants.

What kind of light do African violets need when grown in self-watering pots?

African violets prefer bright, indirect light. When grown indoors, place your self-watering pot near an east- or north-facing window where the plant will receive plenty of light but not direct sunlight. If you don’t have access to natural light, you can use artificial light sources like LED grow lights to provide the right amount of light for your African violets.African violets in sunlight.

How do I maintain the right humidity for African violets in self-watering pots?

African violets thrive in environments with moderate temperatures and high humidity. To increase humidity around your self-watering pot, you can place a tray filled with water and pebbles nearby, making sure the bottom of the pot isn’t touching the water. You can also mist the air around the plant (avoiding the leaves) or use a humidifier to maintain the right humidity levels.

What should I do if I notice excess water in the outer pot of my self-watering system?

If you notice standing water in the outer pot of your self-watering system, it’s essential to address it promptly to avoid overwatering your African violet. Remove the inner pot containing the plant and discard any excess water from the outer pot. Check the wick to ensure it’s not too thick or compacted, which can draw up too much water. Adjust the wick as needed and monitor the water level more closely in the future.

Bright pink flowering African violet in a self watering pot.

Finding the best pots for your African violet needs is key to growing healthy, thriving indoor plants. Whether you opt for special African violet pots, regular ceramic pots, or a decorative pot, ensure they have proper drainage holes to maintain moist soil without oversaturation. Self-watering pots are an excellent choice for providing the right amount of water consistently. When repotting, choose a slightly larger pot than the current one, and avoid using cold water to fill the reservoir. With the proper pot type and watering techniques, even novice African violet growers can enjoy beautiful, blooming plants that brighten up any space.

I hope you found this DIY African Violet Self-Watering Pot: The Secret to Thriving, Blooming Plants post both informative and inspiring! For more exciting plant projects and plant care tips, be sure to explore the wealth of resources available on our blog. Happy gardening, and may your African violets flourish in their new self-watering home!

Happy DIY’ing friends!

My signature - a drawing of me holding a coffee cup that says Create.

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