violets-2-anne-of-green-gardensViolets (Viola odorata), also known as sweet violets,  garden violets and English violets. This plant is a tiny harbinger of spring, since it is often one of the very first flowering plants to bloom.

Description of Violets

Viola odorata is a lightly scented perennial plant that blooms in spring and summer and in mild climates may also bloom in fall. Violets are useful plants for shady areas, and make an attractive bed of flowers.The plant makes a nice groundcover and is also attractive in small pots. It’s flowers are purple, white, and sometimes light pink. Interestingly, the leaves and flowers of violet plants were once widely used to make perfume in the early 1900’s, but truly scented violet perfumes are rarely found nowadays.

Violet Propagation

Violets spread by rhizome (underground stem) and can also self-seed. Although they do tend to multiply in the garden, they are not considered invasive plants* in California.

It’s easy to make more of this plant for your garden or to share it with friends.  Simply dig up a plant with its rhizome and replant. This is best done in spring or fall, but in mild climates can be done at any time. You’ll notice in your garden that as the violets propagate and get crowded, they may bloom less. This is a good indication that it’s time to remove some plants and create more growing space.

USDA Zones:5-9
Native to: Europe and Asia
Sun/Shade:full sun, full sun on coast, partial shade inland.
Water Requirements: Keep soil moist.
Pruning:None necessary.
Other needs:If plants stop flowering the bed may be too crowded, dig some up and share with friends in fall.

*According to the CA Invasive Plant Council, an invasive plant is a plant that is moved out of it’s region to a new region where it flourishes and outcompetes the native vegetation. For a more complete definition see