Viola Flower is a group of flowering plants ranging from annual to perennial species.
If you’re looking for a bold and attractive flowering plant that requires very little care, the viola flower is an excellent place to start. The viola genus contains over 500 different species, and although they can only last for two years maximum before they die, they self-seed and grow the next season without your input.
That’s pretty amazing, right?
In this article, you’ll learn all about viola flowers, everything from identification to planting best practices. After this piece, you’ll be fully equipped to start growing violas in your garden.
How to Identify Viola Flowers?
Most viola flowers are acaulescent; they have little or no foliage or stem, with their flowers appearing to rise from the ground. Generally, you’ll find five flowers with four pointing upwards and a single flower pointing downwards.
The majority of viola leaves are scalloped and shaped like a heart. While many viola cultivars are small, many of them, like pansies, can grow up to 8 inches high.
There are three distinct types of viola flower from which other cultivars originate; violas, violets, and pansies. Here’s how to differentiate them.
Violets are often labeled as pansies in nurseries, so that may be a little confusing.
- Viola can be annuals, biennials, or perennials
- They have two petals pointing downwards and three pointing upwards
- Violas are usually between 3-8 inches tall; smaller than pansies but bigger than violets
Violets are wildflowers, with some having a sweet fragrance while the others have no scent.
- Violet are perennials
- They have lots of leaves
- Violet Flowers are the small, with their flowers measuring just an inch
- Three of their petals point downwards while two points upwards
Pansies are perhaps the easiest to distinguish from the three.
- Pansy have the most prominent flowers
- They are annual
- Pansy have four petals pointing up and one pointing down
Popular Viola Varieties
Viola is a genus with over 500 species; however, some are more popular than others. Let us see some of the most popular species you can grow in your garden.
Mammoth are pansies with 3-4 inch flowers; it is no secret why they are called mammoth. Its flowers are large, flat and typically have three colors. The mammoth is a less cold-hardy cultivar than many other varieties.
This is another tri-colored flower, and it is also a member of the pansy subgroup. Delta is a popular hybrid variety with bold colors. They can come in red, orange, neon violet, or pure lemon.
Their height of between 4 and 6 inches and spread of between 6 and 8 inches makes them an ideal window garden plant.
Colormax is a member of the violas subgroup and is one of the most heat resistant hybrids. It is a large growing hybrid, and as its name implies, it is a combination of brilliant colors.
You’ll find them in yellow, orange, icy blue, lemon squash, among many others.
They are annual cool-season flowers.
Halo is a beautiful violas flower with a light purple flower and yellow center. It is a perennial with a sweet fragrance and a large spread of 10 to 12 inches. Its reach makes it an ideal ground cover.
It blooms from early spring deep into fall.
- Bog White
Bog white is a spear-shaped flower in the violets subgroup. It is typically found in cloggy areas around the US and Canada.
Bog White Viola Flower loves to grow in a wet environment as it needs a lot of water to survive. It has white bloom with a striped purple throat.
Growing Conditions For Viola Flower
Viola flowers, just like every other plant, need specific conditions for optimum growth. If you must grow them in your garden, you first need to satisfy its growing requirements.
They can be grown in containers and can even serve as border plants.
- It should be grown in partial shade or even under full shade in scorching environments. In cool areas, they can be grown under the full sun. They are cool-season plants and will not do well under the scorching heat.
- They love moist, well-draining soil rich in essential nutrients.
- Space the young viola flower 4-6 inches apart depending on species planted.
When to Plant Viola?
Planting can be done anytime in early spring when you’re sure there isn’t any more danger of frost. Viola is a cool-season plant that may thrive in moderate summer heat.
It is advised you start growing them indoors for about a few weeks before transplanting them outside. Ensure there has been no frost recently when you want to transplant.
How Long Does Viola Take to Mature?
Viola is a slow-growing flower and the time to maturity varies between species. Annual species tend to mature earlier.
Generally, it takes between 10 to 12 months to start flowering.
Getting ready to plant your viola flower requires you to prepare some things first. What are those things you need to do?
- Choose variety: First, select the type of viola you would like to grow. Would you like to grow a pansy, violas, or violet variety? Getting the variety first will guide your other conditions.
- Select a suitable location: This location needs to have the light and moisture requirements. Viola loves moist soil, so choosing an arid area is only a recipe for disaster.
- Clear the land: Remove all debris and weed out unwanted plants.
- Till the land and work in organic materials: Depending on the land’s size, you may have to make use of large tractors to till a vast expanse of land. Work in organic materials to amend the soil and get it ready for planting.
How to Plant and Grow Viola Flowers?
Now you’re ready to start your viola garden. Viola is grown from seeds and can be planted directly into your garden or first grown indoors before being transplanted after some weeks when they must have developed a little.
To plant viola outdoors, scatter seeds on the land and cover with a thin layer of soil; a layer of about a quarter-inch would do. You do not want to put too much soil on the seeds that can suffocate them.
Keep seed moist by watering frequently. They should germinate in one to two weeks. After germination, thin seedlings to about 7 inches apart to allow enough space for them to spread.
When planting indoors first, plant seeds in nursery trays and keep them indoors, watering them frequently. Allow for about 4 to 6 weeks before transplanting. Make sure there is no risk of frost when you’re transplanting to avoid killing your plant. When transplanting, plant at the same depth as the nursery pot and space about 7 inches apart.
How to Care for Viola Flower?
Viola may be easy to grow, but it still needs to be taken care of to get the best out of it. Here’s how to ensure your viola grows appropriately.
- Water frequently as viola flower does best in moist soil. Letting the ground dry out will harm your plant.
- Add organic matter once a month
- Ensure to provide shade or mulch for the viola when the weather is hot.
- Deadhead blooms to encourage the growth of new ones.
- If you want a healthier plant and more blooms in the fall, prune the viola in the fall.
Pests and Diseases
- Leaf curling: you can rectify this by watering frequently
- Root rot: you can handle this by reducing the amount and frequency of watering
- Powdery mildew: can be treated using topsin
Note: if you intend to eat its blooms, ensure you do not use pesticides and herbicides on the viola.
Harvesting Viola Blooms
Viola is an edible plant used in salad, stir-fries, or as a garnish in meals. They are also a medicinal plant that can be used as a sedative and to treat various skin problems.
It is best to harvest its flowers at its peak. You can do this by using a pruning snip to snip the blooms. The morning time is the best time to harvest; this is because it has the highest water content during this period.
You can store it in the refrigerator to be used. It should not be kept for long.
Viola is a beautiful flowering plant that will brighten up your space. It is also a delicious garnish when used in stir-fries and salads.
They can be annual or perennial, but the good news is that they easily self-seed themselves and grow back the next growing season without stress.
What are you waiting for? Start growing your viola for added color to your garden and taste to your meals.