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Algae (on the Pot or Watering Device)


Algae is one of the simplest organisms among plants. African Violet growers may recognize it as a green slime either clinging to the side of a clay pot or floating in the water of a self-watering device. In most cases, Algae is more unsightly than it is harmful. However, in certain types of watering devices, Algae can inhibit the absorption of water into the soil.

Distinguishing Symptoms

If you see either of these symptoms, your African Violet has Algae.


If you find Algae growing on the side of your pot, use warm water to wipe the pot clean, and increase the amount of air circulation between your pots.

If you find Algae growing in a saucer or self-watering device, empty the water and clean the container. Before refilling a self-watering device, you may also need to clean the wick or capillary matting, depending on which type of device you are using. To do this, hold the wick or matting under warm, running water as you wipe the Algae off. It is important to do this, because the accumulation of Algae may inhibit the absorption of water into the soil.


To prevent the growth of Algae on clay pots, make sure you have good air circulation between them. You may also want to consider using a glazed pot. This will cut off the water supply that otherwise soaks through an unglazed pot.

To prevent the growth of Algae in your self-watering device, the safest method is to simply cut off its supply of light. The type of Algae which grows in self-watering devices needs a lot of sunlight. By shading the area around the device (though not the plant), you will cut off supply of light that Algae needs to thrive.

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