How to Grow Violets

violet flower

CC Flickr photo courtesy of tyrian123

The common name of ‘violet’ represents about four to five hundred species and are found in the wild as well as in most gardens. The plant has heart shaped leaves and asymmetrical flowers. Sometimes the violet plant can be a shrub. For most violets the color of the flower is, as the name suggests, violet. However, some violets can be the color yellow, white, blue, or cream. There even some flowers that are bi-colored. These are most often blue and yellow.

Growing Requirements for Violets

Violets are often grown from both root cuttings and from seeds, and both ways easily cultivate healthy blooms. These plants prefer to be grown under deciduous trees which provides varying degrees of shade during the winter when the leaves are gone. However, it should be kept in mind that violets prefer full to partial shade. Depending on the variety of the flower the seedlings or seeds should be planted about four to eight inches apart.

Taking Care of Violets

Violets are planted in spring and will bloom in the summer. They prefer cooler environments and putting mulch down will help keep the roots cool and prolong blooming. Violets do not need much watering so it is necessary to watch the flowers so that you will know when it is time to water them again. When the flowers and leaves appear to be drooping it is time to water. When the flowers bloom they should only be fertilized once.

History and Uses for Violets

Ancient Greeks and Romans used to cultivate violets and use them in wines, as herbal remedies, and as food sweeteners. The Greeks considered the violet to be a symbol of fertility and love and they even used them in love potions. The flowers are edible and are even candied to be used as decorations for food.

Violets are also high in Vitamins A and C which makes them useful in medicinal purposes. Furthermore they are used in perfumes due to their sweet scents. However, some species release special chemicals that actually inhibit the sense of smell temporarily.

Violet Flowers: Diseases and Pests

Violets can be affected by multiple diseases. Fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases have all had their effect. Keeping violet patches strong and in good health is the best prevention but if a problem does occur fungicides and other plant medicines can help treat any issues.

Aphids, lady bugs, and other common insects can all have their effects on the plant especially at the height of the summer season when bugs are at their most active. Insecticides can usually do the trick in controlling and preventing such infestations.

Additional Information on Growing Violets

Additional information about how to grow violets can be found on the following websites:

Details on violet anatomy and the subspecies of violets can be found on the American Violet Society website.

Details on the history of the Violet can be found on the Flower Info website.

The University of Georgia has this terrific page on growing violets.

The University of Illinois also has a great page on growing African violets.

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