Violas In Early Spring Garden – The traditional viola, long-famed for its fragrance, produces scented blue or white flowers in early spring garden. Do not expect the perennial violas to produce the large and colorful blooms associated with the pansies and violas grown in parks and gardens as bedding plants. The old-fashioned violets, once so popular and now uncommon, produce blooms which are 1/2 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 drainage 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.
Viola 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 fall. The leaves are heart-shaped and the flowers blue or violet. Other colors are available — ‘Christmas’ (white) and ‘Coeur d’Alsace‘ (pink). ‘Czar’ (purple) has a the reputation for being the most fragrant.
Viola cornula is the horned violet — height 6 in.—1 it, spacing 1 ft, flowering period May – July. Named varieties include ‘Alba’ (white), ‘Jersey Gem’ (purple) and ‘Lilacica’ (lilac).
Site and soil
Any well-drained soil will do – thrives best in light shade.
Divide clumps in fall or plant basal cuttings in a cold frame in summer.