Viola is a colorful flower that look-like a butterfly. It has more than 500 species out there. It is a fast-growing plant that features small blue flowers. It is a short-lived flower with a life span of one to two years. In the cold region, it is grown as an annual plant.
Violas are edible flowers used for garnishing and salad ingredients. They are also used as candied effect, frost effect, or to decorate a cake or other confections.
Violas are primary cool-season bloomers. In the warm region, they grow all winter and usually bloom till the beginning and end of the winter.
Here, you learn how to grow viola plant from seeds, and what are the ideal conditions to grow this flower.
So, keep reading…
|Common Name||Viola, pansy, violet, sweet violet, Johnny-jump-up|
|Scientific Name||Viola spp.|
|Plant type||Annual, short-lived perennials|
|Mature Size||4 -10 feet tall; spread 3 to 4 inches|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, partial shade|
|Soil Type||Moist, but well-drained soil|
|Soil pH||5.4 to 6.2 (slightly acidic)|
|Bloom Time||Summer, fall|
|Flower Color||Blue, yellow, cream, deep-violet, purple-black, light to deep violet, and white|
|Hardiness Zones||3 to 8 USDA|
|Native Area||North America|
How to grow viola plant
Viola plants naturally self-seed every season. Many gardeners usually propagate this plant by taking small plants from the nursery.
However, if you already have a viola plant, you can grow multiple new violas in different locations. This can be done through seeds and stem cuttings. Where propagation from stem cutting is a fast process to propagate plants. Many gardeners like to propagate from seeds.
Here, we’ll see both methods of propagation, you grow viola from either way.
When to grow
Mature Viola plants can survive winter, but young ones die during frost. If you live in the northern region where the temperature drops near the freezing point, it’s better to plant violas in pots because you have to overwinter during winter.
To make sure your plant survives during winter, you have to begin planting it as soon as the season begins. The ideal period to plant viola is during early spring.
Violas take about 4 weeks to germinate seedlings and to mature takes about 8 to 12 weeks. Planting in earlier will give you an adequate time to spread its roots and become strong so that it can handle frost.
Where to grow
Viola plants grow hardy in USDA zones 3-8. It means it can survive during the winter season with little care. If you live in these zones you can plant it outdoors in the garden or in a large container.
In zones where the viola plant is not hardy, plant it in a pot to protect it from extreme heat or cold. With cold viola, plants are also susceptible to extremely hot conditions.
They usually disappear in hot summer, if not provided enough shade. Planting it in a pot will give you a chance to move it into ideal condition.
Things to know before growing from seeds
Growing from seeds needs the right technique and patience, if you know the process you can germinate any plant’s seeds.
Choosing the right seeds is the first step to growing a good plant. If you have a hydride viola plant, its seeds will not grow a plant similar to its parent plant.
This is because many cultivars are made by breeding two different species to improve their growth or some features like leaves or flowers. However, the seeds of these cultivars are not fit to reproduce the new plants.
If you use any cultivar’s seeds to propagate new plants chances are they will not grow similar to the parent plant or do not germinate at all.
To avoid this, it is better to buy seeds from a nursery or use natural viola plant seeds.
How to grow viola plant from seeds
If your viola is self-seeding then it’s good that it can propagate more in different locations.
- First, take a flower from the plant. Place the flower in a dark room for two to three days, where it gets dry easily.
- When the flower gets dry, it will drop seeds, and collect these seeds.
- Put these seeds in lukewarm water for 10 to 12 hours to soak water.
- After that, sow these seeds in the plant’s school (small pot). A pot or any small container is a good way to start planting from seeds because your seeds grow in a limited area and you know where it is.
- Fill the pot with potting mix soil and sow one to two seeds in the center of the pot. Avoid planting multiple seeds into different points in the pot, this will make the pot crowded.
- To sow, cover the seeds with soil or gently press against the soil. The seeds germinate in full darkness and make sure they do not remain visible.
- Watering the pot makes its soil moist. Plants need good water to germinate.
- Cover the pot with a plastic bag to retain moisture. Do not forget to make three to four holes in the plastic bag to give seeds air.
- Water whenever, the soil looks dry. Remove plastic and then spray water.
- Place the pot in light or in indirect sunlight. It will germinate in about 2 to 3 weeks.
- When the seedling grows about two to three inches, remove the plastic cover.
- Further, when seedlings grow about five to six inches long, transplant them to a bigger pot or in the garden.
How to grow viola plant from stem cutting
You cannot grow a similar hybrid viola plant from its seeds but can grow from its stem cuttings. Propagation from stem cutting is an easier and faster method than seeds.
This will give you a mature plant in about 8 to 12 weeks. If you start earlier your plant can survive in winter.
Here is what to do:
- Take a stem cutting from a mature viola plant that has grown for at least one season. Taking stem cuttings from a young plant will not yield new plant growth.
- The stem cutting should be at least five to six inches tall and has some leaves with no buds.
- Snip off all leaves from the bottom half of the cutting to boost root growth.
- Plant the stem cutting in a pot, filled with potting mix soil.
- Water the soil to make it moist. The pot should have adequate drainage holes for good water flow.
- Cover the stem cuttings with a plastic bag, and make holes in it for ventilation.
- Place the pot in indirect sunlight, near the window sill or beside the door. Placing the pot in direct sunlight will cause stem cutting to fade.
- The cutting will begin producing roots in about one month. You know when cutting starts producing new leaves.
How to care for viola plants
Viola is a beautiful plant but it requires regular care for continuous growth and blooming. Here, we’ll see the factors violas need to grow properly:
Viola plants like full sun but not too much heat. In the hot summer, they often get disappear. If you live in the southern region of the U.S.A, plant your violas in partial shade.
The ideal place where it gets early morning sunlight and afternoon shade. The plant must get at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. If your garden does not have an area where it gets constant sunlight. Plant violas in the pot so that you can chase sunlight by moving the pot.
Viola plants need regular watering to grow constantly. They can tolerate a little bit of drought but regular watering is always preferred. But, do not overwater the plant.
It does not like to stand in water. Overwater will cause soggy soil which will lead to yellow leaves or root rot cause plant damage and make it stunt or kill.
Water only when the soil surface looks dry. If your plant dries out quickly, spread a thick layer of mulch on the roots to retain moisture for much longer.
Violas are not particular about soil pH but they grow better in slightly acidic soil. You can check your soil pH through a test. To make soil slightly acidic, mix peat moss into the soil.
Viola plants prefer rich, fertile, well-drained soil. You can use humusy, moist soil but avoid using clay soil.
Mix lots of organic matter in the soil to make it fertile. Adding organic matter also improves soil drainage for better water flow.
Temperature and humidity
Violas love to thrive in the cold spring season. It can bloom during the whole summer season and some weeks in falls. It is like to thrive in moderate temperatures between 40 to 70-degree Fahrenheit.
In the southern area where there is too much heat during summer, it gets disappeared. Gardeners replace violas with any other flowering plant. But, it reblooms once whether becomes a little colder during fall.
Violas need fertile soil for good growth. When planting use compost soil. You can add organic matter in every season or use conventional fertilizer, choose slow-release fertilizer for the soil.
But, do not add too much fertilizer. Adding excessive fertilizer will not result in more blooms rather it produces more leaves. It also increases the soil’s nitrogen level which harms plant growth.
Pruning encourages more blooms and extends the duration of blooming. You can cut back plant stems one or two inches to encourage quick flower growth.
Do pruning during the early spring season and when fall arrives. Pruning stem in the blooming period might cut down buds that will impart flower growth.
Occasionally keep deadheading dry leaves and blooms. They might look dead but they keep sucking energy from the plant. Deadheading or snipping off these dry leaves and flowers will redirect energy to grow new parts.
If you want your violas to self-seed do not deadhead its dried bloom.
Types of viola plants
There are many viola varieties and cultivars present that you can grow. These varieties are different in shapes, sizes, and colors. Cultivars are developed by cross-breeding two varieties for better features like different colors, and sizes or to avoid certain diseases or pests. Below are some popular violas to choose from. You can buy this viola from a nearby nursery or online.
This variety is similar to the original viola but has slightly smaller in size than the Iris plant. It features two-colored flowers. “Cornuta” are also called tufted or horned violet. It spread about 11 to 12 inches wide and grow 6 to 10 inches tall.
This variety is widely found in the woods. It is known for its large blue-violet petals like the Torenia flower. It grows in woodland but is often found growing in the garden where it is considered a weed. They are grown unless they begin covering the garden.
This variety is known for its tricolor bloom, commonly called Johnny-jump-up. This is a small plant of flowers that is used as an edging plant or as a filler plant.
Viola x wittrockiana
This is a hybrid featuring purple blooms centered with white. It is a short-lived viola that grows perennial or biennial, but they usually grow annually in a cold region. Viola is known as a familiar garden pansy. It grows 8 inches tall and 2 to 3 inches long flowers which grow single-colored or patterned. This is the most popular viola that has many other cultivars.