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The violets (Viola) are a large genus of plants, which includes more than 400 species worldwide. The main distribution is in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. They are all herbaceous, annual or perennial and mostly very delicate plants - their graceful, timid nature also inspired Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to his well-known poem "The Violet". In Germany, among others, the scent violet (Viola odorata) and the slightly stronger built dog violet (Viola canina) native. By the way: The cyclamen are not related to the real violets botanically - the German name leads here something wrong.

Appearance and growth

The most famous violets are undoubtedly the horn violets (Viola Cornuta hybrids) and the pansies (Viola Wittrockiana hybrids). They carry large, depending on the variety often multicolored flowers, both have a very long flowering period and are relatively short-lived. Wittrockiana hybrids are usually sown in the summer, can survive the winter in the field and then bloom from spring for several months. Although they will survive for a few years under ideal growth conditions, the willingness to flower will decline significantly the next year and the plants will become unsightly. Horny violets are somewhat more perennial, but also not as robust as the "real" perennials in the assortment, of which especially the fragrance violet and the Whitsun violet are planted more frequently. Although they are kleinbl├╝tiger than the former, make up for this disadvantage with their simplicity.


The viola (Viola cornuta) stands out with its long flowering period from May to September from the other violet species

Location and ground

All violets grow best on moderately moist, humus rich soils in an absent or partially shaded position. The soil should never dry out because that affects the flower bud. The different species and varieties are hardly higher than 30 centimeters and usually have kidney-shaped to circular, very soft leaves. The stems are also very soft and break off easily. Typical is a five-flowered, in which three petals show down and to the side and two upright.


Pansies are mainly used as a change leaf for planting gaps in beds, as well as for trays and boxes. They are also in demand as a grave plant, as they provide color early in the year. Because of their often multi-colored flowers, they are difficult to combine with other plants - prefer shy planting partners such as white hellebore, ornamental sedges or bulbous flowers, also blooming in one of the flower colors of each species of violet.

Pansy Viola Viola

Horny violets and orange pansies

care Tips

Violets love moist soil. In case of prolonged drought, you should therefore water the plants in time. Horned violets and pansies in planters must also be regularly supplied with fertilizer so that they bloom lush. If you cut hornbeams after flowering in autumn, they are more durable.
Above all, the rather short-lived horned violets must be divided every few years after flowering so that they do not disappear. However, the life expectancy of the cornuta hybrids varies considerably from species to variety, depending on how intensively other, more ephemeral species have been crossed.

Pentecost viola

Flowering Whitsun Violet 'Freckles' (Viola sororia)


Horny violets are slightly smaller-blooded and not as colorful as pansies. They are the most versatile of all violets - both for planters and in the rock garden and as a summer flora in sunny to partially shaded perennial flowerbeds. The remaining violets have retained much of their wild plant flair, which is why they are best preserved in the natural garden and semi-shady shrubs that are close to nature. Some species are also suitable for sunnier locations in the rock garden. The different varieties of Whitsun violet can even be used as surface coverers - they are relatively heat tolerant and will form dense populations at appropriate locations through intensive self-sowing over time. In autumn, however, the plants in contrast to most other violet species. Incidentally, violet flowers are edible and are ideal as a garnish for fresh salad creations.

Types and varieties

  • The native forest violet (Viola reichenbachiana) often inhabits calcareous soils. Large tuffs can be found under deciduous trees. In the garden, this self-assimilating species is particularly well suited for semi-natural refuges.
  • The Common-leaved Violet (Viola palmata) from the forests of North America does not spread so well in the ornamental garden. It carries its flowers over hand-shaped shared leaves.
  • Viola elatior is the largest violet with its 30 cm high stems. It feels good in wet meadows and bushes.
  • The 15-centimeter high Pentecost Violet 'Freckels' (Viola sororia) is native to England. 'Freckels' presents in May / June its white, decorated with purple speckles flowers. The red Whitsun Violet (Viola sororia 'Rubra') is doing well in mixed tuffs as well as under woody plants. Attention: Whitsun violets do not smell!

Forest Violet Viola reichenbachiana

The forest violet loves fertile, calcareous and well-drained soils and is often found in humus-rich deciduous forests, in hardwood stands and near hazel bushes

  • Viola odorata 'Coeur d'Alsace': This old French selection brings the coveted reds and roses to the violet assortment and in the garden it comes in a variety of pastel nuances.
  • Viola odorata 'Princesse de Galle' was bred already in 1889. Her perfume is slightly weaker than that of other fragrance violets, but the historic variety delights with especially large flowers on long stems and is thus popular as a cut flower.
  • Viola odorata 'Miracle Bride White' provides fragrant, white flowers for light eye-catching on the woody edge.
  • The pink scent violet 'Mme Armandine Page' (Viola odorata) flowers in April / May and becomes 10 centimeters high. The equally high scent violet 'Sulfurea' shows its pale yellow flowers in April / May.
  • Not only do Parma violets (Viola suavis) smell, some of them even have filled flowers. The white 'Hopleys White' or blue varieties such as 'Parme d'Undine' flower in April / May and are 15 inches high.
  • Barely fragrant, but with attractive delicate pale yellow flowers shows Viola sulphurea 'Vanilla'.


With violets different propagation methods come into question depending upon kind - from the division over the sowing up to the cutting. There are in the violets and also in the fragrance violets even breeding forms that can be propagated by sowing sortsecht. If violets feel comfortable on the spot, they spread out through foothills. Often ants also spread the seeds.

Diseases and pests

Overall, violets are more robust than they look. With stagnant wetness and strong fertilization occasionally stalk root rot can occur. The violet rust is another typical disease. The violet leafy mosquito grabs mainly on the native species, but usually does not cause much damage.

Video Board: Alisson Shore - Violet Ft. JMakata, Colt.

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