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Caring For Violas

There are over 500 different species in the Viola genus, including annuals, perennials, and even some subshrubs.

The varieties grown as garden plants are mostly small-flowered annuals or short-lived perennials. Many will self-seed and give you years of delight. Violas are edible flowers and make unexpected garnishes and salad ingredients. They can also be candied for a frosted effect or used to decorate cakes or other confections.

Violas are primarily cool-season bloomers; they are perfect for starting and ending the season in colder climates and for bridging the seasons in warmer zones, where they can remain in bloom throughout the winter. The timing for planting violas will depend on your climate. In cool climates, they are usually planted in the spring; in climates without winter frost, they can be planted in the fall.

Light

Violas like full sun, but not the heat it brings. This isn’t a problem in cool spring temperatures, but when planting in the summer, make sure they get some shade during the hottest part of the afternoon.

Soil

Pansies and the other violas are best grown in humusy, moist soil, such as a peat-based potting mix, or garden soil heavily amended with organic material. Violas like a slightly acidic soil; peat moss as a soil additive will help slightly acidify garden soil.

Water

Water regularly, but allow the soil to dry out between waterings. They can tolerate some drought but will bloom best with regular watering.

Temperature and Humidity

Violas love the cool weather of early spring and thrive in milder temperatures from 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Mulch and water will help offset the stress of high temperatures.

With proper care, violas can bloom all summer and most will bloom again in the fall. Or, particularly in hot, southern climates, they can be removed and replaced with another flower during the summer, then planted again when cooler weather returns in the fall.

Fertilizer

Use a slow-release fertilizer into the soil. Fertilize in the spring and again in late summer to promote a fall bloom.

Pruning

To promote blooming and extend the flowering period, remove or deadhead faded flowers by pinching off the blooms at the base of the flower stem. You can revive leggy or overgrown plants by cutting them back to about 3 to 4 inches tall.

Common Pests/ Diseases

To avoid gray mold, don’t let your plants sit in cool, wet conditions. Make sure your violas get plenty of sunshine and have good air circulation. If you notice aphids, wash the plants off with a strong stream of water, or, for severe problems, treat them with insecticidal soap.

Information Courtesy of TheSpruce.com

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