Underwatered African Violet: Symptoms, Causes and Saving Process

In this article, we’ll explore the symptoms, causes, and saving process for underwatered African violets. Our aim is to help you identify and address underwatering issues to promote your plant’s health and ensure it thrives.

save underwatered african violet

Underwatered African violets are plants that aren’t receiving enough water to meet their basic needs. These delicate plants are native to tropical regions, requiring specific care and a consistent watering schedule to prevent underwatering. When African violets are underwatered, they can exhibit signs that impact their overall health, growth, and appearance.

African violets prefer a moist and well-draining soil mix, which allows the roots to absorb essential nutrients and water.

To avoid underwatering, it’s important to understand your plant’s specific requirements and adjust your African violet’s care routine accordingly. Factors such as room temperature, humidity, and the type of pot used can influence how often you should water your African violet. Regularly monitoring these factors will help ensure your plant receives adequate moisture and remains healthy.

Now that we’ve discussed what an underwatered African violet is, let’s delve into the symptoms and potential problems surrounding underwatering. By recognizing these signs early on, you’ll be better equipped to address the issue and save your plant from further damage.

In the following, we’ll explore the symptoms, causes, and saving process of underwatering in African violets.

What are the Symptoms of Underwatered African Violet?

There are 9 different symptoms of underwater African violets as shown in the following list:

  1. Wilting: Despite adequate sunlight, underwatered African violets will exhibit wilting leaves due to insufficient water intake.
  2. Drooping: If your plant has drooping leaves and stems, it may not be receiving enough water to maintain its structure.
  3. Yellowing leaves: An underwatered plant may have yellow leaves as a result of water stress and reduced chlorophyll production.
  4. Crispy edges: When African violets are underwatered, their leaves may develop crispy, brown edges due to the drying of plant tissues.
  5. Slow growth: A lack of water can hinder your plant’s growth, making it appear stagnant or underdeveloped.
  6. Root damage: Insufficient watering can lead to weak and poorly developed roots, impairing the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients.
  7. Bud drop: Underwatered African violets may experience premature flower bud drop, which occurs when the plant lacks sufficient moisture.
  8. Leaf curl: Leaves may exhibit curling or distorted growth as a result of inadequate water supply.
  9. Loss of lower leaves: African violets that are not receiving enough water may drop their lower leaves, weakening the plant’s overall structure and appearance.

By recognizing these symptoms early on, you can address any underwatering issues and reverse the potential damage to your African violet. In the next section, we’ll cover the causes of underwatering and offer suggestions on how to prevent this common issue.

What are the Causes of Underwatering in African Violets?

There are 8 main causes of underwatered African violets, listed below:

  1. Inadequate watering schedule: Not providing water frequently enough can lead to underwatering, so establish a consistent watering routine that suits your plant’s needs.
  2. Poor drainage: Make sure your African violet has proper drainage to allow water to reach the plant’s roots, preventing underwatering and encouraging healthy growth.
  3. Low humidity: Low humidity in your environment can cause water to evaporate too quickly, resulting in underwatering. Monitor and adjust humidity levels to support your plant’s water requirements.
  4. Small or inappropriate pot: A pot that is too small for your African violet may not provide the necessary moisture, so choose a suitable pot size and material for your plant.
  5. Incorrect watering technique: Watering from the top may cause moisture to bypass the roots, leading to underwatering. Use a bottom-watering method to ensure efficient water uptake.
  6. Overheating: Too much heat can cause the water to evaporate rapidly, increasing the risk of underwatering. Keep your African violet in a location with stable temperatures to prevent this issue.
  7. Incorrect soil mix: A soil mix that doesn’t retain enough moisture can contribute to underwatering. Opt for a well-draining mix that retains sufficient moisture for your African violet.
  8. Inaccurate water requirements: Misjudging your plant’s water needs can result in underwatering, so familiarize yourself with its specific requirements to provide proper care.

Once you’ve determined the possible causes of underwatering, you can take steps to rectify the issue and implement a suitable care routine for your African violet. In the final section, we’ll discuss the saving process for underwatered African violets, providing tips and recommendations to restore your plant’s health.

What is the Process for Saving Underwatered African Violet?

With the following 9 steps you can save an underwatered African violet from dying, and you can bring your plant back to life:

  1. Assess the issue: Identify the signs of underwatering and determine the potential causes to develop an appropriate plan to save your African violet.
  2. Rehydrate the plant: Gently provide water using the bottom-watering method or a syringe to avoid shocking the roots and ensure proper hydration.
  3. Adjust watering schedule: Establish a consistent watering schedule that meets your plant’s needs while accounting for your environment’s humidity and temperature.
  4. Improve drainage: Make sure your pot has adequate drainage holes and use a well-draining soil mix to allow water to reach the plant’s roots effectively.
  5. Repot if necessary: If your plant is in a small or inappropriate pot, repot the African violet into a suitable container with fresh, well-draining soil.
  6. Monitor humidity: Maintain optimal humidity levels by using a humidifier or a pebble tray with water to prevent rapid moisture evaporation.
  7. Manage temperature: Keep your African violet in an area with stable temperatures, avoiding cold drafts or direct hot sunlight to minimize water evaporation.
  8. Prune damaged foliage: Carefully remove any heavily damaged leaves or stems to encourage new growth and prevent the plant from wasting energy on dying parts.
  9. Patience and care: Give your underwatered African violet time to recover, providing attentive care and monitoring its progress to ensure it is regaining strength and vitality.

By following this saving process, you can help your underwatered African violet recover and enjoy a beautiful, thriving plant. Implementing these steps consistently will ensure your African violet receives the proper care and watering it needs to flourish.

How to Distinguish Underwatered from Overwatered African Violet?

Although underwatered and overwatered African violets may exhibit similar symptoms, there are key differences to help you differentiate between the two issues.

  1. Leaf texture: Underwatered plants often have crispy, curled leaves, whereas overwatered plants typically display soft, mushy leaves that may feel heavier than usual.
  2. Root appearance: Inspect the roots: underwatered plants usually have dry, brittle roots, while overwatered plants have soft, brown, and rotting roots.
  3. Soil condition: Overwatered African violets often have waterlogged, soggy soil, while underwatered plants might have soil that is excessively dry and compacted.
  4. Odor: Overwatered plants may emit a sour or rotten smell due to root rot and bacterial/fungal growth, whereas underwatered plants typically do not produce such an odor.
  5. Leaf yellowing pattern: Overwatered plants generally display yellowing of the lower leaves first, while underwatered plants might present a more sporadic yellowing pattern.
  6. Watering history: Review your watering schedule and compare it against the recommended watering frequency for African violets to determine whether you’re providing too much or too little water.
  7. Presence of mold: Overwatered conditions may promote mold growth on the soil surface, which is usually not present with underwatered plants.

By considering these factors, you can accurately determine whether your African violet is overwatered or underwatered, allowing you to address the issue and provide the appropriate care.

Implementing a proper watering routine, monitoring environmental conditions, and regularly checking your plant’s health will help prevent both underwatering and overwatering issues in the future.

What are the Frequent Watering Mistakes of African Violets?

When caring for African violets, it’s important to avoid common watering mistakes that can lead to underwatering or other plant health issues.

  1. Inconsistent watering: Failing to establish a consistent watering schedule can result in underwatering or overwatering, depending on the frequency and quantity of water provided.
  2. Using cold water: African violets prefer slightly warm water; using cold water can shock the roots and cause leaf damage.
  3. Top-watering: Watering from the top can result in poor water distribution and may damage the foliage. Instead, use the bottom-watering method to hydrate your plant properly.
  4. Ignoring environmental factors: Not taking temperature, humidity, and light conditions into account when determining your watering routine can lead to inappropriate watering practices.
  5. Use of tap water: Some tap waters contain high amounts of minerals or chemicals that can harm your African violet. Consider using room-temperature filtered or distilled water for best results.
  6. Allowing standing water: Avoid leaving your African violet sitting in standing water for a prolonged period, as this can lead to root rot and other complications.
  7. Overly wet or dry soil: Allowing the soil to become too wet or too dry before watering can stress your plant and lead to underwatering or overwatering symptoms.

To avoid these frequent watering mistakes, familiarize yourself with the specific needs of your African violet and create an appropriate care routine that accommodates variations in environmental conditions. Monitoring your plant’s health and making adjustments as necessary will help ensure your African violet receives the proper hydration it needs to thrive.

How to Water African Violets the Right Way?

Proper watering is essential to maintaining a healthy African violet. Here are some tips on how to water your plant correctly:

  1. Bottom-watering method: Fill a saucer or shallow container with room-temperature filtered or distilled water, and place the potted plant into the water. Allow the plant to absorb water through its drainage holes for 20-30 minutes before removing it.
  2. Syringe method: Using a syringe, water the soil around the plant gently while avoiding the leaves. This method helps deliver water directly to the roots without splashing the foliage.
  3. Proper drainage: Choose a pot with drainage holes and use a well-draining soil mix to encourage healthy root development and avoid waterlogging.
  4. Water temperature: Use slightly warm water instead of cold water to prevent shocking the plant’s roots and damaging the leaves.
  5. Consider environmental factors: Adjust your watering routine based on humidity, temperature, and light conditions to provide the appropriate amount of water for your plant’s needs.
  6. Monitor soil moisture: Water your African violet when the top inch of soil is dry to touch. Avoid letting the soil become extremely dry or waterlogged.
  7. Avoid getting leaves wet: Keep water off the leaves to prevent rot and damage. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to absorb any accidental splashes.
  8. Establish a routine: Develop a consistent watering schedule based on your plant’s specific needs and environmental conditions.

Following these recommendations on how to water your African violet the right way will help ensure it remains healthy, vibrant, and thriving. Proper watering techniques and a consistent care routine are key to preventing underwatering and other issues that may arise.


We hope this article has provided valuable insights into identifying, addressing, and preventing underwatering in African violets. Remember, consistent care and proper watering techniques are essential for maintaining a healthy, thriving plant. Feel free to leave a comment and share your experiences with African violets.

African Violets   Updated: May 18, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of PlantIndex.com, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.

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