The Violas here are all perennial types and will come back to grace your border year after year where they will spread and self-seed without being invasive. And if you don't want them in the border (or have not got a border) then they work equally well in pots either by themselves or in mixed plantings. Oh - and they smell great. Which makes them a real addition and some of the best herbaceous plants in our range as there are not many plants have flowering seasons as long as violets do. Early varieties begin to flower in Apri and do very well with spring bulbs and they then carry on all summer and into Autumn. At home, we plant them in an old sink with a whole mish-mash of herbs so we can pick the (edible) flowers to go into salads at the same time as snipping our chives, parsley, whatever.
Follow the rules, and violas are easy plants to grow:
- Violas love soil improved with plenty of well-rotted organic matter. Give them lots of humus and they will grow on both light and heavy soils.
- In terms of position, anything from full sun down to semi-shade is fine. Deep shade will kill them.
- Three top tips if you are growing them in containers. Use deep pots as violas have good roots that like depth. Second, make sure the drainage in the pot is really good. Add grit or the like to your compost and try to keep the pots off the ground. Third - once they are growing away feed them with tomato food to improve flowering.
- Slugs and sap-suckers can be a nuisance. Use whatever your favourite method is to control them.
- Deadheading and the Hampton Hack. Deadhead and keep deadheading. Your violas will flower all summer and stay compact if you do. However, if you don't fancy deadheading, then around the time of the Hampton Court Show (in July) just cut them down to 5cms (2"). Feed them and 3-4 weeks later they will be in shape and in bud.
- In Autumn (end of September/beginning of October) repeat the process of cutting them down to 5cms. They will reshoot from the base next spring and do it all over again.