Do not expect the Perennial Violas to produce the large and colourful blooms associated with theand Violas grown in parks and gardens as bedding plants. The old-fashioned Violets, once so popular and now uncommon, produce blooms which are V2 in. or 1 in. in diameter. Use them for ground cover or edging at the front of the border – they will flourish in most soils but they do need good and some shade. Mulch in spring and water when the weather is dry in summer. Dead-head regularly and every three years lift and divide the clumps.
VARIETIES: V. odorata is the Sweet Violet which was so adored by the Victorians. The basic details are height 4-6 in., spacing 1 ft.
Flowering period: February-April and again in autumn. Theare heart-shaped and the blue or violet. Other colours are available – ‘Christmas’ (white) and ‘Coeur d’Alsace’ (pink). ‘Czar’ (purple) has the reputation for being the most fragrant. V. cornuta is the Horned Violet – height 6 in. – 1 ft. Spacing 1 ft.
Flowering period: May-July. Named varieties include Alba’ (white), ‘Jersey Gem’ (purple) and ‘Lilacica’ ().
SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil will do – thrives best in light shade.
PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or plant basalin a cold frame in summer.