Effects of Using Hard Water to Grow African Violets
Violets do need many of the minerals found in hard water, however, the chlorine used in public water systems can be deadly to many houseplants.
I strongly recommend that you fill your watering container, and let it sit for a minimum of 24 hours. The chlorine will have dissipated by then, making it somewhat more safe for your plants.
I keep several gallon milk bottles filled for watering, and use them as needed. The water will be room temperature, which is much less of a shock to the plant.
It is wise to bottom water all house plants, but particularly African violets. Watering from the top can cause crown rot in violets, which is fatal. Never leave your plants sitting in water for more than a couple hours though. This can also be fatal
African violets like a great deal of humidity, but not wet leaves and stems.
There are many commercial fertilizers especially for violets. For the best plants, you must use one of these products, since violets have very definite requirements for pH and trace elements.
If you have a chance, try growing violets under fluorescent GRO lights. The colors of both the flowers and foliage will become more intense and bright. Spent flowers should be removed as soon as they begin to fade. This will allow the plants energy to be used to produce new blossoms rather than seeds.
A NOTE of interest Originally I stated that distilled water was the best to use for your violets, however I received a letter from Byron Borck 1998 National African Violets Convention Vice Chairman, whom I am sure is far more knowledgeable on this subject than I. OOPS! guess I blew it this time....Thank you Byron.
Bill, Just read your response about using distilled water for African violets. By doing this you are robbing the plant of needed nutrients to promote healthy growth. It was explained to me that the minerals in the soil will by pulled out by the lack of minerals in the water. I top water my collection of over 300 plants each week. I have only lost 5 plants to crown rot in the last 8 years. Bottom watering can also cause crown and root rot by leaving the plants sit in the water.