The native habitat of African violets is the Usambara Mountains of Africa. The relative humidity of this area generally ranges between 70-80%, and the African violets grow efficiently in such conditions. But it is not possible to provide such high humidity in our area. So, people often try hacks like misting and pebble trays.
But do African violets like misting? Let’s find out.
In general, African violets can occasionally be misted to improve the humidity around the plant. However, if the plant’s leaves remain wet for long, it can lead to pests and diseases. You can add a few drops of neem oil before misting to prevent pests and diseases in the plant.
Misting is sometimes a way to maintain the humidity level around the plant.
But sometimes misting the African violets is not recommended, and this is because the leaves of these plants are pretty fuzzy, due to which moisture can get trapped, resulting in rotting of the leaves and spread of an infestation.
Misting has both merits and demerits. If you are confused about misting your African violets, keep reading this article. We will also discuss other ways of maintaining the correct humid conditions for these plants.
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Do African violets need humidity?
When African violets grow in their native habitat, they get a humidity of about 70% to 80%. Belonging to the tropical mountainous areas of Africa, they like growing in warm temperatures and high humidity.
When growing these plants in your garden, it is impossible to provide them with high humid conditions.
But you need to make sure that these plants are receiving at least 50% to 60% relative humidity as this will help them grow well.
But, during the dry winter season, the humidity level drops that can be a big problem for the African violets.
If you stay in an area where it is cold and humidity levels are constantly low, your African violets will probably have difficulty surviving. In such conditions, you might have to provide them with constant manual humidity.
In severe conditions, like frost, African violets will stop flowering, and the leaves will start wilting. In such conditions, you will have to protect the plants from cold and frost.
You can use plastic to cover the flower bed so that the moisture cannot evaporate and the plants can get their ideal humidity levels.
If you want to increase the humidity for your African violets, you can install a misting system in your garden, and it will help your plants receive higher humidity levels.
If you think that misting might bring problems, you can use other methods like placing water bowls around the plant or adding mulch to the soil.
Do African Violets like to be misted?
African violets perform best when they are watered from the bottom and not on the leaves. Sometimes, to provide them with some extra humidity, you can mist these plants.
It is not recommended to mist the plants to maintain humidity constantly.
If they are misted constantly, then prolonged exposure to water will result in a moisture trap in those fuzzy leaves of the plant, which will cause rot and inviting and spreading of the infestation. It is better if you use other methods to maintain their humidity.
Occasional misting does not cause any harm to the African violets but daily misting can damage your plants. Sometimes, misting should be considered a last resort for maintaining the humidity level of the African violets.
Pros and cons of misting
Misting the African violets can have both merits and demerits.
Many gardeners suggest that misting can help maintain the humidity level of these plants, whereas some gardeners do not recommend misting these at all. This difference of opinion happens because of the different results after misting.
But before concluding, we need to know about both sides of the coin.
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Pros of misting
For misting, you can either use a spray bottle or install a misting system in your garden. It is one of the easy, standard, and popular methods of increasing the humidity level.
Misting not only helps to increase humidity but also helps in cleaning the leaves.
If you think there has been too much misting, you can wipe the water with cotton or cloth. This will also help you remove pests and fungus from the plants if any.
You can even use neem oil for misting. This natural oil also helps keep the plant away from pests and fungus and even treats it after its attacks.
Cons of misting
Many gardeners do not recommend misting, and this is because the leaves of the African violets are fuzzy, and they will easily trap the excess water. When this trapped water remains for a long time, it will cause in rotting of the plant.
The pests and fungus will get attracted by the dampness and grow and spread into the whole plant.
If your plant is already growing pests or fungus, misting without noticing the issues will help the pests and fungus spread quickly.
If you are using tap water for misting, the leaves will start accumulating chlorine, fluorine, and other minerals present in the water and block the plant from soaking moisture.
It is better to mist your plant occasionally and avoid misting regularly.
How to check the humidity level of the plants?
The humidity of the surrounding environment of your garden depends on external factors, like the region where you live, its temperature, and humidity during the different seasons.
When winter arrives, the humidity starts dropping. At that time, you have to give your plant extra attention so that they remain in warm temperatures and receive humidity, or else the dry and cold temperature would damage the plant.
You can check the humidity by using specific devices like hygrometers. You cannot control the surrounding environment, but you can provide your plants with the required humidity manually.
For example, covering the flower bed with newspaper or plastic to help them gather humidity or adding mulch to the soil bed. Then you can check the humidity, whether it is suitable or not, with those devices.
Signs that your African violets need more humidity
If your African violets are not receiving adequate humidity, they will not grow well and start showing signs of humidity deficiency.
Some of the possible signs include:
- Flower buds are not opening for a long time.
- Leaves start darkening on the edges.
- Edges are turning brown or Necrosis.
- Leaves dry out and shrivel.
- Slow or stunted growth of the plants.
If you notice any of these on your African violets, it is clear that your plants are not getting their ideal humidity level.
You need to start addressing this as soon as possible. Start misting your plant once in a while but make sure not to let your plants remain damp for a long time. There are even other alternative ways; you can opt for those too.
For misting, you can use neem oil solution, which will help your plant stay away from pests and fungus as well, along with increasing humidity.
How do I raise the humidity in my African violet?
Installing a misting system in your garden will allow the plants to get their ideal humidity. Since these are available online, you can purchase one for your garden.
You can even use spray bottles to mist your plants daily.
If you think misting is not working for your plant or regular misting might damage the plant, then there are other alternative ways to help the plants receive the required humidity.
Group plants together
While growing African violets in your garden, you cannot rearrange them again or move them. But to group your plants, you can add other potted plants of different heights around the African violets.
You can even plant some more moisture-loving plants around the original plant.
This will help maintain the humidity level. Grouping the plants can increase up to 15% of the humidity level. Grouping of the plants will also give a visual interest to your garden.
Adding mulch or compost to your soil bed will help manage the humidity level and improve the soil quality and structure.
Adding mulch is always a better idea because it is an organic method of treating your plant, and it helps increase humidity and boost the yielding of flowers.
Mulch is known for draining excess water, but it also retains enough moisture needed to absorb nutrients. As a result, the air surrounding the mulch has a high moisture content.
Create levels with your plants
You can organize your garden by planting some tall companion plants along with African violets. Plant them in a way that when the taller plants drip water from the leaves, the water drops on the plants below.
Plant the tall plants surrounding the African violets as this will create a wall for the African violets, which will help maintain higher humidity levels quite well.
Water in trays
Another way of giving your plant the right amount of humidity is using water trays. Take some trays and fill them with water.
Keep those trays around your plants. This will help to raise the humidity of the African violets. Water will evaporate and will also get saturated into the air, filling it with moisture.
You can use any container, preferably wider ones. Shallow wide trays will increase more humidity at a faster rate than deep narrow buckets. Use containers according to the plant’s advantage.
Being tropical plants of Eastern Africa, African violets prefer a lot of humidity for proper growth. Although they can get enough humidity during the summers to thrive, you have to maintain the humidity during the cold months.
High humidity is essential for African violets, and they also need good air circulation to prevent diseases. Make sure that they are receiving enough airflow too. There are many ways to increase the humidity if they are not getting enough of it.
Misting is recommended once in a while, occasionally. Avoid prolonged misting as it can trap excess moisture and create a damp condition ideal for pest and fungus infections. Use other alternate ways to increase the humidity level.
Consider using water trays, mulching, or group planting to give your African violets all the humidity they need.
Source: Wikipedia, African violet: Classical breeding, African Violet Society of America, In vitro propagation of African violet, University of Florida, North Dakota State University, The University of Georgia.