8 Best African Violet Pots, Planters, and Self-Watering Pots

Pastel painted African violets have been adorning window sills, all over the world, for over a century. In the wild, these bejeweled beauties add pops of color to shaded plantings that thrive in dappled sunlight. With dainty blooms turning their faces toward the sun, as it beams down through a thick and humid, tropical canopy, on the elevated plains of Eastern Africa. First introduced to Europe in 1892, they made their way west with the help of a New York florist, two years later. 

Today, the Saintpaulia Ionantha variety, one of six in a larger family, is a widely-grown houseplant that began its reign of popularity being considered hard to grow. But honestly, I would have a hard time growing in the middle of a New York winter, if I were a tropical plant too.

In the many years since, we’ve improved our care practices to include things like proper light, humidity levels, and the best pots for African violets. Knowledge of watering frequency and soil content has been upgraded, too. All to keep these compact and long-lived bloomers healthy. Even in winter, when natural light is at a premium. 

Best African Violet Pots

If you’re in a rush to find the best African Violet pot, then here are my top three based on quality, value, functionality, and aesthetics.

Vanavazon 3 Self Watering Pots For African Violets 

Best Multibuy African Violet Pots

Vanavazon 3 Self Watering Pots

Available in cool gray or crisp white, these 6”, self-watering set of 3 planters will provide water and optional nutrients for your violets for a full week. The cotton rope wicks allow for adequate capillary action for consistent hydration.

Atri African Violet Ceramic Watering Planter

Best Porcelain African Violet Pot

Atri African Violet Ceramic Watering Planter

Attractive white glazed porcelain planter that provides effective insulation against seasonal changes. Available in 6.5″D x 4.6″H and capacity for just enough water to keep violets hydrated, without risking over-watering.

Ten-stone Self Watering Window Box x2

Best African Violet Planters

Ten-stone Self Watering Window Box x2

Functional & contemporary, these rectangular 4″ planter boxes are available in gray and allow for several African Violets to be planted in a row. The self-watering feature holds the capacity for 2 weeks’ worth of watering and a viewing window to keep track of refilling.

Choosing the Best Pots for African Violets 

Experienced houseplant growers know that most plants aren’t terribly fussy about the kind of pot they grow in. But, there are a number of exceptions, including African violets. 

The Saintpaulia Ionantha can live for up to an astonishing 50 years! My very first one didn’t last 50 days, in part,  because of the pot. In order to live a long, happy life, the right container is imperative. 

African violets can grow to 8-16” across a single crown, with 2” flowers and 3” leaves. And It’s been long thought that they like to be rootbound. Yet, recent studies have shown this not to be true. Constricted roots lead to stunted growth and restricted moisture and nutrient absorption. 

The right pot for your African violets will be of adequate size and shape for the size of the root ball with plenty of aeration and drainage capacity. 

African Violet Pot Size 

In a moment, you’ll see some examples of the best-performing pots that I’ve tested with my own violets. They all have slight variations on a common theme. Plenty of room for optimum root growth without being too large, efficient drainage capacity that prevents soggy roots, and is even self-watering.

When making your choice, remember that pot size will be dictated by the size of the plant’s root ball, not the plant itself. So, if you buy an African violet in a 4” plastic pot, a 5” ceramic, plastic resin or terra cotta pot will provide enough room for your new plant to thrive. 

Nursery Pots 

Nursery pots are designed for efficient supply-chain transport and easy plant removal. Their color absorbs heat, allowing for faster growth during commercial propagation.

But, these are not meant for long-term use. Thermal properties in nursery pots can accelerate moisture evaporation causing rapid wilting and a permanently damaged root system. 

Planters for African Violets 

Flowering plants filling rectangular planters or window boxes are a lovely sight. However, if these quaint bloomers are planted side-by-side, in the same soil, they may not last long. You’ll need to give consideration to root ball size versus space available in the planter if you want to plant 2 or more side by side.

African violet roots grow out rather than down, which means the roots of multiple plantings would create a dense mass, incapable of absorbing moisture or nutrients.

Pot Material 

Choosing a pot may seem daunting, with so many options. It’s fairly simple though when you remember what defines the best African violet pot. Pot size needs to be relative to the root ball. As does proper aeration, and drainage qualities from a good quality African Violet soil, In addition to that the material that your African Violet pot is made from will encourage and promote healthy growth.  

There are three types of material that are African violet-friendly, some of which you’ll see in my list of top-performing pots. These are plastic or resin, glazed ceramic, and terra cotta. 

Plastic Pots 

These come in many styles and colors. But, they may not be as durable as ceramic or terra cotta. You may need to replace them more often.

However, there are some great, environmentally friendly options out there, with thick walls made from recycled materials that are often self-wicking. 

Glazed Ceramic Pots 

Glazed ceramics are a little more pricey. But, considering their durability and beauty, they’re well worth the investment. Many are designed specifically for African violets with side holes for proper root aeration and drainage trays. Clay-based pots also provide roots with beneficial insulation from seasonal temperature shifts. 

Clay Terracotta Pots 

Lovely terra cotta pots can be seen dotting home gardens, terraces, and balconies in every warm-weather region. Why? Because terra cotta is a porous material that allows for healthy airflow and moisture respiration. And being a clay product, it also provides beneficial insulation in extreme heat.  

Self-Watering African Violet Pots 

Self-watering pots make growing African violets easy. No need to worry about underwatering. A cotton wick makes water available from a detachable reservoir, while the main part houses the plant. The reservoir also allows you to bottom-fertilize with a controlled uptake of nutrients for healthy plants and abundant flowering. A robust root system is encouraged by roots growing down, to reach the water, instead of out. 

How to Water African Violets in Self Watering Pots 

Fill the attached reservoir as directed on the label. As water is used or evaporated from the leaves, more will be absorbed through the wick by capillary action. Then, refill the reservoir as needed, when the water level drops below the wick. 

Under and Over Watering African Violets 

Over-watering can lead to saturated soil and root rot. Other signs include leaf drop and stunted growth. Allowing the root ball to dry out on a few paper towels may help alleviate this. Underwatering is actually less damaging, but signs of dehydration include wilting of leaves and blossom drop. 

Drip Trays 

Proper drainage is vital to the health of African violets. But, where does all that water go? Drip trays come built into many standard pots. But if not, recycled, plastic container lids work just as well. 

Drip trays serve a few practical purposes. They catch excess water but also protect furniture and rugs from getting wet and soiled. Be sure to drain these regularly, to prevent soggy soil. 

8 Best African Violet Pots and Planters 

Now that you know what the features of a great African violet pot are, it’s time to share my picks for the 8 best African violet pots and planters on the market. Based on price, ease of use, performance, and extensive market research in customer feedback.

PROS

  • Comes in a White or Gray Contemporary Design
  • Full Reservoir lasts for a full week
  • Lightweight and Durable

CONS

  • Over-filling may cause saturated soil 

In a cool gray or crisp white color, these 6”, self-watering planters provide water and optional nutrients for your violets, and other plants, for a full week. Two cotton rope wicks, per pot, allow for adequate capillary action for consistent hydration. These are also formaldehyde-free, making organic growing even easier. Thick walls allow for resistance against heat and cold as well as durability.  

How to use: Simply lift the pots from the plastic reservoir and fill as necessary. Caution is recommended as overfilling may lead to over-watering. 

Customer Reviews: The clear base allows consumers to easily see when refilling is needed and their lightweight means they can be moved around as seasonal light changes. Check Vanavazon latest price here.

PROS

  • Well-Insulating Porcelain
  • Long-Lasting and Durable
  • Elegant Design

CONS

  • Slightly Higher Price Point 

This glazed porcelain 6.5″ x 4.6″ pot provides effective insulation against seasonal changes and just enough water to keep my violets hydrated, without risking over-watering. And I didn’t have to worry about them getting too cold or too dry when I traveled. Stronger root systems were evident by the rapid growth of new leaves and numerous buds.  

Naturally, these are a little more breakable. But, the beauty of African violets flowering in a pretty ceramic pot, is well worth it. 

How to use: Fill the outer ceramic pot about 1/2 full of room-temperature water and insert the clay flower pot. 

Customer Reviews: Consumers who had inherited heirloom African violets from loved ones entrusted them to these pots and were not disappointed. Declining plants returned to health and vitality. 4.4/5 stars. Check Atri Pot prices here.

3. Ten-Stone Self Watering Window Box

Best Windowsill African Violet Planters

Ten-Stone Self Watering Window Box

PROS

  • Fits four individual plants
  • Reservoir waters for two full weeks
  • Perfect for kitchen window sills

CONS

  • May not fit in all windowsills

I really liked the look and function of this rectangular planter box. But, I was worried about planting several violet plants together. Surprisingly, this allows for four individual 4” pots in the gray, inner container. So, they can all grow separately while giving the look of one, big plant. The little window allowed me to see when I needed to refill the water. Which I didn’t need to do for two full weeks!

How to use: Lift the gray insert from the white outer pot and fill as necessary. 

Customer Reviews: Gardeners love how versatile this functional planter box is for growing succulents and other plants that don’t like soggy soil. Perfect for growing herbs and African violets in sunny kitchen window sills. 4.4/5 stars. Check prices for Ten Stone WindowSill Planters here.

PROS

  • Clean, Modern Design
  • Water Monitoring at a Glance
  • Made from Non-Toxic Resin

CONS

  • Over-filling may cause saturated soil 

The modern design of this see-through option from Fengzhitao is not only lovely but highly functional. The clear outer reservoir allows you to check water levels with just a glance. And the air-tight seal between pots means no pesky gnats flying around. 

Made from a non-toxic resin, this durable African violet pot provides consistent hydration, by way of a cotton wick, for a week or more. Plus, the option for liquid feeding year-round. Click here for Fengzhitao Self Watering African Violet Pots.

How to use: Lift the white, inner pot from the clear reservoir and fill as necessary. Caution is recommended as overfilling may lead to over-watering. 

Customer Reviews: Customers are loving the convenience and clean design of these easy-to-use African violet planters. Previously over-watered plants are now protected and watered only as needed. 4.5/5 stars. 

PROS

  • Comes in a variety of Contemporary Colors
  • Full Reservoir lasts for two weeks
  • 6 Pots for 1 Price

CONS

  • Not Recommended as Starter Pots 

Thick, lightweight, durable, and in a range of colors, these 6-pack self-watering pots provide effective insulation for your African Violets in any season. And the 6.7” size allows for plenty of air circulation and water intake. 

A full reservoir lasts for up to 2 weeks. And the colorful, contemporary design makes it a perfect fit in any room of your house. See details of Planterhomo 6-pack self-watering planters from Amazon.com here.

How to use: Lift the black insert from the outer pot and fill as necessary. 

Customer Reviews: African violet growers know how important it is not to get the leaves wet when watering. These lovely and reasonably priced pots prevent that. And the steady stream of water means no more leaf or flower drop. Value for money and easy, colorful design make this my BEST BUY. 4.6 / 5 stars.

PROS

  • Flexible Design to Fit Any Interior
  • Integrated Cotton Wick and Reservoir
  • Waters and Feeds for up to 2 weeks

CONS

  • Requires Assembly 

The clean lines and style of these would fit into any design aesthetic. And the flowers really popped against the crisp white. More importantly, these pots are self-watering which really reduced care time. The cotton rope wick and reservoir are integrated into the design, for one functional, cohesive look. And the sturdy construction wasn’t heavy, even after filling the reservoir. 

How to use: Squeeze opposite sides of the bottom water reservoir to remove and fill it. Then, gently push the pot onto it.  

Customer Reviews: Consumers are really pleased with how well these work to support strong root systems and that they come in a pack of three. Making them very good value for money. 4.4/5 stars. Click for the price of Vanavazon African Violet Pots here.

PROS

  • Made from UV-Stabilized Plastic
  • Built-In Water Level Indicator
  • Reservoir capacity last for up to 4 weeks

CONS

  • May come at a slightly higher price point 

These self-watering pots, made from UV-stabilized plastic, come in a variety of colors with a water-level indicator which I found really convenient. No need to dismantle them to check the water. I also saw fewer gnats due to efficient drainage and blocked access to the reservoir. And roots grew strong and healthy due to effective air circulation. 

How to use: Topwater after initial planting, excess water will drain into the reservoir which the plant will absorb, via dual wicks, for up to 4 weeks. Click here for Decopots from Amazon.com

Customer Reviews: Gardeners who needed to replant their badly root-bound violets, chose these easy-to-use, self-watering pots and saw thriving root systems and happy plants in a matter of weeks. 4.5/5 stars.

PROS

  • Clear reservoir for easy water monitoring
  • Formaldehyde-Free
  • Well-Insulating

CONS

  • Placement in direct heat or cold is not recommended 

The clear bottom design of this 3-pack from Vanavason made it even easier to maintain adequate access to water for my violets, via the cotton rope wick. Plastic is typically more affected by temperature changes and is made with chemicals I’d rather not expose my plants to. But, these are formaldehyde-free and are designed to be well-insulated through changing seasons. 

How to use: Lift the inner, white pot from the clear bottom and refill as needed. Click here for Vanavazon | 7” Self Watering Planters

Customer Reviews: Skeptical customers are loving the ease of use and simple design. Not to mention the great plant results. And the 3-pack price can’t be beat compared to other options. Perfect for those who travel a lot, no worries about plants drying out. 4.5/5 stars. 


How to Re-pot an African Violet 

To minimize root shock, the best way to re-pot an African violet is the following:

  1. Pad the bottom of the new pot with enough soil to make up the difference in height between the old pot and the new one.
  2. Place the old pot (with the plant still in it) into the new one.
  3. Add soil to the gap between old and new.
  4. Gently push in the soil to eliminate large air pockets.
  5. Remove the old pot, remove the plant from the old pot, and pop it into the new one where you’ve made a perfectly sized space for the root ball.
  6. Water well, from the top, to encourage roots to grow into the new pot and you’re done. 

African Violet Potting Mix 

African violets prefer loamy soil that is high in organic material. All-purpose soil is often too dense for proper aeration and water/nutrient flow There are several pre-made options specifically formulated for African violets.

If you’d like to make your own, start with a base of quality, sterile topsoil. Then, add materials that will promote the needs of your blooming beauties, like perlite or vermiculite, coco coir, and well-aged compost. 

When to Re-pot an African Violet 

African violets should only be re-potted in the following scenarios. Each time, the soil should be replaced with a fresh, fertile batch. However, this should never be done while plants are in bloom due to potential blossom drop. 

  • When roots begin to grow out of drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If not re-potted, roots will block drainage and result in soggy soil and plant failure. 
  • When most of the bottom leaves have fallen away, leaving a “neck”. Failing to re-pot will result in the plant becoming top-heavy and potentially breaking off from the neck.
  • Experienced African violet growers re-pot their violets every six months to fully replenish the important characteristics of quality African violet soil that can’t be substituted by African Violet fertilizers. 

How Often to Water African Violets 

While self-watering planters make African violet care a lot easier, it’s still not an effortless task. How often you refill the water reservoirs will depend on ambient temperature and time of year (less water is needed during winter dormancy).

Whether you use self-watering or standard pots, good watering from the top every month or so will flush out any extra fertilizer or salt build-up in the soil. When using standard pots, the finger test is my reliable go-to for checking hydration with my African violets. Just stick your finger into the soil, about half an inch down, and pinch the soil. If it sticks together, it still has water in it. If not, it’s time to water again. 


Verdict: Best African Violet Pots 

The verdict is in! The best African violet pots are those that decrease worry and effort and increase your enjoyment of these tropical jewels. With the help of refillable water reservoirs that convey water to your plants using capillary action through clean, cotton wicks. 

Once you’ve established a fertile soil balance and the right amount of light, humidity, and fertilizer, the only thing left is to pick your favorite design.

So that you can enhance the beauty of your African violets for lifelong enjoyment and to really appreciate their vibrant colors, you’re going to want more than one pot. For me, it’s the contemporary clean lines of Vanavazon’s set of three 6inch pots. They offer a week’s worth of watering and come in a choice of grey or white.

Vanavazon | Set Of 3 Self Watering Pots

Best Multibuy African Violet Pots

Vanavazon Set Of 3 Self Watering Pots

Available in cool gray or crisp white, these 6”, self-watering set of 3 planters will provide water and optional nutrients for your violets for a full week. The cotton rope wicks allow for adequate capillary action for consistent hydration.

FAQ’s African Violet Pots and Planters