How to make wick watering system for African violets? Step by Step Guide

There are times when your favorite flowers need to be left for a long period or there is simply not enough time for constant and laborious watering.

In such situations, many flower growers, both amateurs and professionals, stop at the wick irrigation method.

Wick watering system for African violets is the simplest and, perhaps, one of the most reliable methods for reducing the time of caring for violets and extending their autonomous life. In this article, we will reveal to you the secrets of such watering.

wick watering system for african violets

Errors made in the preparation or implementation of this procedure can have a very detrimental effect on the health of the flower. With improper care, this method can lead to rotting or, conversely, the complete drying of the plant. Let’s take a closer look at what it is and how to use this method correctly.

How to make wick watering system for African violets?

The wick irrigation technology is very simple, and the principle of operation is clear to everyone. Through the wick, the plant takes the required amount of moisture from the container. Many growers do not understand what a violet looks like on a wick. How it looks can be seen in the photo below.

Wick watering is considered very simple.

The water container is located under the pot and the water edge does not come into contact with it. And the cord, being in close proximity to the roots of the violet with one end and sinking to the bottom of the vessel with water with the other, transfers moisture between them.

When all the conditions of the irrigation system equipment are fulfilled and it is adjusted to the individual conditions in the room, the plant takes exactly as much moisture as it needs. Violets are one of the few plants that can exist on wick irrigation from a small seedling to adulthood, as well as all subsequent life.

This watering method has its pros and cons. Let’s find out more about them.

Advantages of wick watering system for African violets

The transition to new methods of caring for violets is always about finding the benefits of this very innovation. The wick irrigation system has many advantages, and they are not limited to the convenience of the grower. The main advantages  (subject to all the nuances) are:

  1. Simplification of plant care  and reduction of time for manipulations associated with watering. And also the maximum increase in flower autonomy from several days to 2-3 weeks;
  2. Violets take just as much water as they need and do not suffer from overflows and droughts that can occur with regular watering. The period of especially difficult watering is the transition between the seasons, it is then that overflow easily becomes overdrying and vice versa;
  3. By bringing the fertilizer level to the most suitable level, you can get the most abundant, long-lasting and bright flowering . The size of the flowers increases slightly, their number grows noticeably, and the growth of new peduncles lasts longer and better;
  4. During the growing of offspring, young plants on wick irrigation are less susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity , which reduces the number of rotten leaf cuttings and children. Constantly maintained humidity accelerates the development of young animals, and the growth period before the first flowering is reduced by 2-3 times;
  5. Wick irrigation eliminates the need for additional air humidification . The water evaporated from the containers provides optimal moisture around the plant, which guarantees excellent conditions for the growth and development of the rosette;Wick irrigation excludes additional air humidification.
  6. Given the constant access to nutrients that do not come from the substrate, it is possible to reduce the size of the pots . If the classical root system should occupy 1/3 of the total volume, then with wick irrigation – much more, up to ½. The violet root system should occupy the floor of the pot (1/2), and not a third (1/3), respectively, if the root system is 2 cm in diameter (approximately), the pot will be 6 cm in normal watering, and 4 cm in the wick. It turns out that the flowerpot is reduced by a third. This reduction in the earthy coma makes the outlets more compact and evenly developed, which is especially noticeable and useful for mini varieties.

Advice! Violets planted with the expectation of wick watering can be put on stands and use the classic methods. This helps to keep the flowers alive while traveling. When leaving, you can put the pot on the container and the plant will not disappear during your absence, but, being at home, return it to the stand and take care of it according to the usual schedule.

A number of advantages of this type of watering are attracting more and more flower growers, especially those with a large number of varieties. Growing on a wick is useful for those people who often fly away on business trips.

disadvantages wick watering system for African violets

Like any method, wick irrigation has its drawbacks. Usually, they are associated with an incorrectly selected soil or wick; after the first unsuccessful experience, many growers abandon the method, without even trying to adjust some of the components to their conditions.

Absolutely all varieties of violets perfectly tolerate wick watering at home, individual problems depend not on a specific variety, but on an individual. Main disadvantages and remedies:

  1. Root decay from waterlogging is possible – this problem often arises with ordinary watering. To eliminate it, it is enough to reduce the thickness or length of the wick, in some cases, reconsider the proportion of the constituents in the soil;
  2. The appearance of sciarids (mushroom gnats) – since the main food of their larvae is organic residues, they appear much more often with a conventional soil mixture than with a substrate for wick irrigation, but if they appear, you need to revise the composition of the soil;
  3. An increase in the outlet  and a disproportionate plant – using pots of the same size as for regular watering will lead to this result. For wick irrigation, the size of the pot should be 1.5-2 times smaller;
  4. The water in the containers is cooled and flows to the roots cold, which has a bad effect on the roots – with ordinary watering, a wet earthen lump can also cool down. If the window sill is cold, it is better to remove the plants completely to another place or at least put them on stands along with the wick;Wick irrigation has several minor disadvantages.
  5. The need to remake racks and shelves for new sizes;
  6. Water does not flow through the wick – this is possible if the wick is not wet or is chosen incorrectly.

Important! When arranging wick irrigation, it is necessary not only to observe methods proven by others but also to adjust some points to individual conditions.

wick watering system for African violets Step by step steup

When preparing to test a new irrigation method, it is very important to know and prepare all the necessary materials in advance. Before transferring the first violet to wick irrigation, it is important to familiarize yourself with the nuances of choosing all the components:

  • Soil;
  • Wick;
  • Capacities.
wick watering system for african violets step by step steup

Soil characteristics

Violets, even with the usual method of watering, need very light soil, so they add to the mixture:

  • Sand;
  • Perlite;
  • And vermiculite;
  • And also other components that increase friability.

For wick irrigation, the substrate should have been even lighter. The classic option is peat with perlite in a ratio of 1/1.

The soil is individually selected depending on the growing conditions :

  • If the climate is more humid, then perlite or very fine expanded clay is used;
  • And in dry regions, perlite is partially replaced by vermiculite, and peat is mixed with sphagnum moss or coconut fiber.

Vermiculite, moss and coconut retain moisture , so add them very carefully.

Wick

What to make a wick for watering? A variety of materials are used for the wick: from natural threads to nylon tights, and each grower has his own favorite material.

Natural cords conduct water well, but they quickly deteriorate, but some growers prefer them. In the process of use, they rot but given the frequency of transplanting every six months (which is used by professional growers to achieve the necessary flowering), and with their regular replacement, they are quite suitable.

For watering, you can use wicks of different materials.

Synthetic options are recommended for those who do not transplant their pets very often. Such wicks do not deteriorate and serve for a very long time. But, using this option, it is important to choose the diameter of the cord and its composition, depending on the regional characteristics and conditions in the room.

How to make a cord for wick watering system?

The most versatile for all regions can be considered a homemade cord made of nylon tights. To obtain a wick, they are cut into strips and used. The width of the stripes depends on:

  • Violet varieties;
  • Pot size;
  • And the conditions of detention.

The tights are cut across and then each cord is cut to form a single cord.

Pots and containers

When choosing containers for planting and watering a plant, you need to choose one for planting a flower and the second for water. Violet pots should be well-drained and sized to suit the size of the root system, and the rest is up to you.

Given the specifics of the growing method, the pot can be taken the simplest, because it usually stands inside the container for irrigation. And only if the container is covered, you should think about more interesting options.

Water containers can be completely different; for this, the following are suitable:

  • Disposable cups;
  • Glass jars;
  • Plastic containers with holes punched under the wick in the lids;
  • And even cut plastic bottles.

Everyone chooses the most convenient option for themselves It is important that the pot does not fall through or come into contact with the water. There are also tanks for wick irrigation on sale, their system coincides with the standard one, but they look more aesthetically pleasing.

Advice! Many people ennoble their windowsills, painting, and decorating containers at their discretion. Thus, an excellent container can be made from a plastic bottle, which, in terms of external parameters, will be better than many.

Transfer procedure

Wondering how to plant a violet with a wick and hold it right? When all the preparations are over and all the information has been collected, it is time to transplant the plants.

All materials must be prepared for transplantation.

Usually, the first experience of wick irrigation is acquired on adults, preferably on those that are not in one copy.

Adult plant

You need to know how to put an adult plant on the wick. The step-by-step process of transplanting an adult violet onto wick irrigation differs little from the usual one, the main thing is to place the wick correctly :

  1. wick is pulled through a pre-made or finished hole ;
  2. A little substrate is poured into the bottom of the pot. The thickness of the layer depends on the size;
  3. The wick is placed on the first layer in a ring and sprinkled with a small layer of soil;
  4. Remove the rosette from the old pot and shake off the roots well;
  5. Place the violet in a new flowerpot, add the substrate and tamp a little;
  6. To make the wick work, it must be wetted : for this, the pot must be placed on a stand and the entire substrate, together with the wick, must be wetted under the leaves;
  7. The water container is filled to the required level and the violet is set.

In addition, you need to know when to transplant a violet correctly.

Babies and reproduction

Wick irrigation can also be used for reproduction. Transferring the outlet to this type of watering is possible for the smallest children, the main thing is to choose the right pot and wick length, and the transplanting process is similar to an adult plant.

If reproduction is initially carried out on a wick, you need to know how to properly plant the cutting:

  • Instead of a substrate, sphagnum moss is used ;
  • The moss is placed on the bottom of the container, then the wick and again the moss;
  • A leaf stalk or a baby without roots is placed in a container with moss, after dipping it into the root ;
  • Soak everything, it is important to soak the wick well ;
  • Put the system on a container with water;
  • After the appearance of the roots and the formation of children, which should grow stronger in this state, they are transplanted into small pots using a special soil for violets.

After transplanting, the flower needs careful care.

Fertilizing

Many growers ask the question: how to feed violets on a wick? Depending on the country, region, and availability in stores, each grower has its own proven fertilizers.

Important! The composition of the fertilizer will not necessarily match exactly, but the approximate ratio of substances is clearly visible in the example.

The concentration and frequency of fertilizing with wick irrigation is fundamentally different. Experienced flower growers recommend using a concentration 2 times less than that recommended by the manufacturer for regular watering, and 7-10 times less for wick watering.

You can fertilized water violets in different ways.

In this case, the water should always be fertilized. Such a figure did not arise out of thin air,  it can be easily calculated :

  1. Classic watering has two feeding options:
    • The concentration is 2 times less than the recommended one, and feeding is carried out every 2-3 weeks;
    • Or water is always with top dressing, but the concentration is then 7-10 times less – since irrigation is carried out about every other day and the amount of fertilizer per irrigation in the first method is divided into 7-10 irrigations.
  2. Wick irrigation is also possible in two versions:
    • Constant watering with fertilizer and the concentration is 7-10 times less;
    • Alternation of fertilizer and regular watering – the amount of water is poured into the container the same at each watering, but fertilizer is added every other time, then its concentration is 4-5 times less than the recommended one.

How not to fill the flower?

It is necessary to know whether the locking of the violets depends on the thickness of the wick. The main danger and problem with wick irrigation is waterlogging of the soil, which leads to rotting and death of violets. To exclude such an outcome, it is important to choose the right substrate, the most reliable is a mixture of perlite with peat.

Another important component is the wick :

  • The thickness of the wick must match the size of the rosette;
  • And the length is to be optimal and fit in a circle inside the pot, reach the bottom of the container and lie at its bottom for 1-2 cm.

Correctly organized wick irrigation prevents the problem of waterlogging.

African Violet care in the winter

During the winter period, the conditions in the house change; in insulated and well-heated rooms, the air remains warm, but becomes dry. And in houses where the heating is not so fine-tuned or there is no insulation, it becomes damp and cold on the windowsills.

In the first case, wick watering provides additional moisture, and no changes in care are needed. And in the second, you need to either remove the plants from cold windows or completely rearrange them to the usual type of watering, while the wick remains and with the onset of heat, the pot safely returns to its place.

Nuances and questions from readers

Often, with wick watering, the leaves of violets can turn yellow or even rot, this is a consequence of waterlogging or overdrying of the earthy coma, both options are dangerous for the flower. It is important to find and fix the problem in time.

Violet leaves may turn yellow due to waterlogging.

Over moistening can occur due to the substrate or wick, and overdrying – only due to a cord that is too thin, wet, or improperly selected.

Carefully! The use of vermiculite instead of perlite can lead to waterlogging because it retains water in itself.

Violet Florist reviews

Jimmy. “Violets, transferred to wick irrigation, have changed. The flowers have become noticeably larger, and the number of peduncles amazes the wildest wishes.

At the first attempts, I had to suffer a little with the selection of the optimal soil and the size of the wick, but even the loss of one individual did not stop, because the rest showed all the best results. For six months, all adult plants and starters have been gradually transferred to the wick, the next step will be children and reproduction on the wick.

Jasim. “An attempt to transfer violets to the wick irrigation method was crowned with failure, one plant died and it was decided not to take any more risks.

Sometimes wick watering can lead to rotting of the roots of violets.

Roots rotted, the earthy ball was constantly too wet, perhaps the wrong earth or wick was chosen, but the desire to take risks in finding the right choice of ingredients was gone.

Asim. “For several years now, all the violets from the collection have been living well on wick irrigation. With an amount of 300 varieties, this is the only salvation, otherwise, you would have to live in a greenhouse. Small children and starters stand in common, large containers with holes for wicks.

Adults – in individual containers made from plastic bottles. The main discovery was a thin layer of sintepon drainage, the soil does not wake up and there is no excess moisture.”

Conclusion

The wick watering system for African violets is a new stage in the cultivation of violets. This method has been used for a long time and many who have tried this method are very happy with it. ( The method is quite young, and if the classical methods have been used for a century, then the wick has been practiced for no more than 15 years. This is the reason for its novelty, even nowadays not all growers are familiar with it.)

It is important to debug all the nuances depending on individual conditions. When transferring plants to this watering method, it is important to do everything consistently and very carefully, not to rush and adjust all the nuances to suit yourself.