Violas are remarkably versatile plants and suit a range of garden situations. They are typically lower growing than pansies, with smaller, more abundant flowers. Many violas form a trailing habit and look fabulous in a hanging basket, patio pot or window box.
Don’t be put off by their smaller size – in fact, violas will produce more flowers per plant than a pansy! Find out how to grow violas in our step by step guide.
What are violas?
Violas are profuse, low-growing cottage garden perennials. The colour combinations you can achieve are a myriad of purples, lilacs, pinks, blues and magentas. Our varieties available cover trailing violas, double-flowered and colour-changing flowers, as well as violas with particularly striking, variegated foliage.
Did you know viola flowers are also edible? You can add a dash of colour to a salad or as a garnish, or use them in jams, cakes or as decoration on the top of biscuits!
When to plant violas
For autumn bedding, plant out your plug plants from mid-September to early October, depending on the size of the plants acquired. Grow on plants indoors until they reach 8 to 10 cm in height at which point they’re ready to plant out.
To plant out in a pot, choose a container which is 30 cm deep. The pots should ideally be positioned in semi-shade.
How and where to plant viola
Violas are cool weather plants. Although they thrive in the full sun, it’s the light and not the heat that they require. Cooler autumn and spring temperatures are ideal for planting. Higher temperatures can be offset with mulch and diligent watering. Enrich the soil with leaf mould or well-rotted organic matter such as manure, added to the flower bed in the spring.
For upright violas, dig an individual hole for each plant with a trowel, deep enough to comfortably fit the root ball without bending or breaking the roots. Place plant in the hole and fill back in keeping the base of the stem at soil level and gently firm down. Water generously and feed regularly. Keep a 10 cm gap between plants.
To plant out a trailing viola, fill the container up to three quarters with multipurpose compost. Carefully remove the plant from its tray or pot and place it in position. Fill the container back in with soil and gently firm down. Water in generously. Always keep container plants well watered and fed.
When do violas flower?
Depending on the autumn weather, violas may or may not flower throughout the winter. During mild autumn, they will begin to produce flowers which will hold until the spring when new flowers grow and take their place. As cooler bloomers, violas are perfect for beginning and ending the flowering period in your garden, or in the autumn and winter are mild, they’ll bridge the seasons with colour.
Viola flowers should be pinched off once they have bloomed and have begun to wither as this will extend the flowering period, with new flowers encouraged, and prevents energy from being diverted into seeds.
How to care for violas
Diseases and insects are not much of a problem for your violas. Wash off any aphids which appear with a carefully aimed jet of water. If an infestation of aphids does occur, use insecticidal soap to treat the problem. Ensure good air circulation to ward off mildew and forms of leaf rot. Feed during the flowering period with a weak mixture of liquid feed.
Ready to introduce beautiful violas to your garden now you know how to grow violas? Take a look at our viola collection for inspiration.