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Growing violet flowers is a skill that can be learned quickly.
In fact, they are largely self-sufficient in the garden. How to care for wild violets is covered in more detail below.
Wild Violet Flowers
The flowers of the wild violet (Viola odorata) are a deep purple, and the leaves are shaped like a heart. The blossoms of some species are more commonly white or yellow.
Wild violets may be annuals or biennials where you live, but they are notorious for spreading themselves by self-seeding and showing up in new places year after year.
The cleistogamous flowers, located at the base of the plant, do not bloom but instead produce and store seeds.
The only drawback of this quality is that, without some sort of barrier, wild violets can become invasive and sprout up almost everywhere.
Growing Wild Violet Plants in the Garden
Carefully nurtured violets are a low-maintenance addition to any garden. Around trees, near water, and in flower beds, wild violets are a welcome sight.
They’re great for use as a fast-acting ground cover in a forest garden. Even in small spaces, like planters, they can thrive.
The late-winter and early-spring flowers and leaves can be eaten for their nutritional value.
Violets are best planted in the early spring, but they can be planted in the fall as well. Light shade is ideal, but these plants can handle the full sun as well.
Wild violets can grow in a wide variety of soils, but they do best in moist, well-drained soil that is also rich in organic matter.
Wild Violets Care
Except for the initial soaking after planting and the occasional soaking throughout the growing season, wild violet flowers require very little attention.
These hardy little plants usually manage just fine on their own.
For those who don’t want to deal with the mess that sprouting seeds can make, cutting back the flower stalks is an option.
Wild violets can be easily propagated by dividing established plants in the spring or fall, though this is not necessary because they will self-seed.
It is also possible to collect seeds in the fall and plant them in a cold frame or indoors.
Although spider mites only occasionally cause damage to the foliage of wild violet plants, this can happen when conditions are particularly dry.
Where to grow violets
Violets thrive in well-drained, fertile soil that receives either full sun or partial shade, is rich in organic matter, and has lots of available nutrients.
Grow violets in a garden that is surrounded by woods, on rockeries and banks, at the front of borders, or behind shrubs that have an open canopy and only provide a light amount of shade.
How to propagate violets
Plant the seeds of species like the sweet violet, and Viola odorata, which require a period of cold weather to germinate in the fall.
After sowing the seeds, place them in a cold frame or a covered area outside that is not heated.
In the spring, seeds can be planted for species that do not require the cold.
Plants that are already established can have their roots divided in the fall or spring, and new plants can be grown from cuttings taken in the summer.
Wild Violet Edible
The flowers and young leaves are edible, and reportedly high in vitamins A & C.
They can be used as a garnish, in salads, or used to make tea. Additionally, you can make jams and other items from the flowers.
Eating Violet flowers
You can extract the color and fragrance of violets in water by covering the flowers in boiling water and waiting for a time.
And, if you add sugar and boil again you can make a syrup that has been used as a tonic and cough medicine.
Furthermore, if you add pectin it can be turned into a jelly that smells wonderful.
And finally, you can candy the flowers by dipping them in a boiling sugar syrup, and then rolling them in white sugar to coat them.
Apparently candied violets were once a popular confection.
Violet leaves are edible too
Young Violet leaves in Spring can be eaten raw, used as a salad green, and the leaves can also be cooked as a potherb or added to soups.
The cooked leaves can be a thickening agent for soup.