A race of dainty perennials that inhabit the
temperate regions of the Old and New Worlds. Viola
cornuta, or the Horned Violet, has rounded foliage,
toothed and of tufted habit; the flowers, two
inches or less at the widest part, are violet.
Its forms show a great variation in colour from
white to yellow and purple, and it is believed
that this species was used extensively by raisers
when evolving the brilliantly coloured bedding
Tufted Pansies or Violas.
Viola gracilis reaches about nine inches, with
Viola pedata, the Bird’s Foot Violet, has
flowers with two upper petals of deep violet and
three lower ones of lilac; there is a white form.
Viola odorata is the favourite sweet-scented Violet
with its many shades of colour and with double
and single flowers.
A position in partial shade is preferable and
in soil that has been enriched with a liberal
quantity of leaf-mould or old manure, moisture
with good drainage being essential to their well-being.
Propagate by means of cuttings or from seed.
The flowering season is in spring and summer.
Six to ten inches.
Flowers of various colours, March to November.
To distinguish the Viola from the Pansy
seems to be, for many people, insuperably difficult.
The main difference lies in the growth and habit
of the plants.
Pansy makes a straggling, long-jointed growth,
and rarely renews itself at the heart of the plant;
by October it is practically defunct and rarely
survives to another year.
The Viola forms a tufty clump (whence the name
“Tufted Pansy”), and though it spreads
to some distance during the summer, it always
tends to build up a compact cushion of new shoots
in the centre of the root; under tolerable conditions
it will last in good health for several seasons.
Though the Viola can never supplant the Pansy
for size and substance of flowers, nor for richness
of colour, it is recommended as a substitute for
all gardeners who have not the time or inclination
to give the little extra pains demanded by the
The Viola will grow in almost any soil, except
hot, dry sand; it will flower fairly well in full
shade, and is at its best where it gets an hour
or two of shadow in the heat of the day.
The beds where it is to grow must be well dug
down to the subsoil; in the lower stratum mix
plenty of half-rotten manure; with the upper layers
incorporate leaf-mould, grit, wood-ashes and soot.
It is possible, but not desirable, to raise plants
from seed; rooted cuttings should be obtained
in November, and carefully planted a foot apart.
Before the spring, examine them to see whether
any have been frost-lifted; if necessary, the
planting may be done in March; but the plants
start better if their roots get hold of the ground
in the old year.
They will show flower in April, and will remain
covered with bloom all the summer, if the soil
is kept stirred, the old flowers are snipped off
as soon as they fade, and plenty of water (with
a mulch of light stuff e.g. leaf-mould to follow)
inn dry weather. In October cut off all the straggling
outer growth, leaving the compact central tuft
of young shoots, and spread a good top-dressing
of old manure and leaf-mould over the bed.
With this culture the plants ought to stand three
years; they should then be forked up, and their
places supplied with young stock.
It is quite easy to make Viola cuttings.
Early in September go over the plants and carefully
pull out some of the young shoots springing from
Some varieties yield these much more freely than
others; and if a large number of cuttings are
required, it is best to cut back the summer growth
in August, and scatter some light compost about
the clumps; this will encourage the growth of
If the cuttings are carefully tweaked out, many
will be found to have roots already formed; whether
rooted or not, they should be dibbled in a patch
of soil which has been made light and fine by
the stirring of grit and sharp sand into the uppermost
three or four inches.
They should be two or three inches apart; the
cutting-ground ought to be under the shade of
a wall, or be sheltered by a frame or a light
propped up on boxes or flower-pots.
The cuttings must be shaded and kept moist if
the weather should be hot and dry.
By October they will be rooted, and may be put
out in their flowering-beds or kept in the cutting-bed
The following are dependable, out of a large variety
of named sorts:
Archie Grant: Deep blue.
Ardwell Gem: Primrose.
Blue Cloud: White with blue border.
Bullion: Bright yellow.
Countess of Hopetoun: White.
Countess of Kintore: Purple, white margin.
Florizel: lilac pink.
Lark (or Skylark): Cream with mauve border.
Meteor: Rich yellow.
Councillor Waters: Crimson purple.
Princess Ida: Light rosy mauve.
Royal Sovereign: Deep yellow, rayless.
Mrs. M’Crae: White, rayless.
True Blue: Deep blue.
See also : Pansy