Flowers with bright colors are identical with summer, but viola flower gives you beauty even in cooler season. Most violas are annual or short perennial types, so they only bloom in a short period. However, the fully-bloomed flowers provide delicate beauty in your garden. The short-term blooming period is also great if you love to experiment with various planter flowers.
Interesting in growing your own violas? Here is everything you need to know about viola growing and caring.
Description of Viola Flower
Many people mention viola and pansy flower as something similar, or even the same thing. However, the name viola is actually a genus, and pansies are the more specific members of that genus. Most pansy species have been hybridized to create large blooms, which stand out in a garden compared to the wild species.
Violas are popular in colder regions, and they grow beautifully when the temperature drops. They even withstand mild winter, and you can plant them four weeks before the last frost date (pansies, on the other hands, are less tolerant toward cold). Violas are also popular in warmer regions, but they don’t like direct heat.
Popular Viola Varieties
If you don’t know where to start, try considering some of these viola varieties:
This viola flower is one of the “classic” varieties. It has wine and burgundy colors, with bright yellow edging and center. Some flowers may have large, noticeable yellow areas, while others only have small yellow dots.
Helen Mount is probably one of the most famous variants, with the combination of dark purple, light purple, and yellow on the blooms. The viola seeds of this variety are easy to find at various nurseries or garden supply stores.
Princess is one of the newer tricolor varieties, with blue, yellow, and purple colors in one bloom. The flower is slightly smaller than Helen Mount but has a similar shape.
Patiola is short for “pansy and viola”, and this is also a new variety. Patiola has bigger petal like pansies, but hardier like regular violas. The classic colors include orange, purple, and blue. However, the newest type has brick red petals with a yellow center.
If you prefer bedding varieties, try choosing Penny or Sorbet. These varieties offer numerous color options, and some even have markings or blotches on the petals.
Steps to Start Viola Seeds Indoor
Many annual and perennial violas are sold as seeds. You can grow them directly in the garden or start the seeds in an indoor planter. If you start indoor, start the seeds four to six weeks before the time of transplanting (violas can handle a little bit of the last frost). If you live in warm regions, start the seeds in mid-summer.
Here are the steps to start the seeds:
- Fill the starting pots with sterile pot soil mixture until it reaches a ¼ inch below the edge.
- Add two or three seeds before covering them with soil. Cover the seeds fully until the seeds are in “complete darkness”.
- Place the pots in a warm place, without direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist, but not flooded.
- Move the pots to the place with light source when the seeds sprout, such as near the window.
- When the first leaves grow, see which one of the seeds that look stronger or bigger. Pinch the smaller one and push it through the soil.
- Start feeding the growing seedlings with water-soluble weak fertilizer.
- Harden the seeds by putting the pot outdoor for four hours, on a shady spot. Increase the time and move the pot to a brighter spot further every day for 10 to 14 days.
After 10 to 14 days, you can transplant the seedlings to the garden. You can also keep the viola plant in a larger pot for indoor delight.
Steps to Plant Viola Seeds in the Garden
What if you want to plant viola seeds directly in the garden? Follow these steps:
- Work the surface of the soil with some compost. The soil must be well-drained, loose, and slightly moist.
- Spread the viola seeds. The arrangement is two to three seeds for every six to eight inches of space. Cover the seeds completely.
- Water the seeds again.
- When the plants start to look too cramped, reduce the bulk and leave the original six to eight inches of space.
The easier way is to buy violas that already have developed blooms. However, don’t buy the ones that still have buds. The flowers must be healthy before you transplant them to the garden.
How to Care for Viola Flower
Viola flower care is very easy once the plant is established. This plant needs regular watering, but you can wait until the soil is slightly dry (not cracked) before the next watering. If you live in a warm region with scorching day heat, make sure your flowers get proper shade during the hottest period. Mulch the plants to protect them against heat and weed.
Many violas only grow for a short period, but deadheading can add the blooming frequencies a little more. Find the faded or decayed flowers and pinch them at the base before removing them. This will encourage more vigorous blooming in the future. Also, taking three to four inches off an overgrown plant can encourage more growth.
Violas are quite hardy, without too many pest problems. However, aphids and gray mold can still be a problem. Use strong water spray, diatomaceous powder, or horticultural oil to get rid of aphids. Avoid gray mold by watering the garden from the bottom and giving them enough spaces in-between (for circulation).
When your violas bloom, you can enjoy a beautiful view and get amazing ingredients for bath salts. Grind a ¼ cup of flower petals with ½ cup of regular bath salt, a few drops of essential oil, and two tablespoons of coarse salt (in a food grinder). Use the result for one relaxing warm bath.
Viola is a perfect flower to enjoy during cool seasons. These flowers are hardy, bright, and easy to plant. You can grow them from seeds or transplanting already-bloomed plants. If you want some bright colors during cooler times, add viola flower to your garden or planter.