The violet genus has a few hundred species of herbaceous plants, perennial or annual, practically spread throughout the globe, particularly in the northern hemisphere; in Italy some perennial species are widespread in nature, producing small purple, lilac or white flowers, often very fragrant; perennials are widespread in nurseries, which are often grown as annuals.
The violas produce small roundish or heart-shaped leaves, light green in color, arranged in a rosette, or carried by thin hollow stems; at the end of winter they produce numerous small flowers with five petals, supported by thin stems; some species, such as the widespread pansy (viola tricolor), if sown in late summer, bloom throughout the winter.
In fact, violets are widely cultivated as annuals, to color annual flowerbeds during the winter months.
How to grow violets
As we said before, violets do not fear the cold, hybrid species, cultivated for large flowers, are planted in autumn or spring, and their flowering continues for a few months; these plants also bear frost and do not fear temperatures of a few degrees below zero, even for prolonged periods.
In areas with very cold winters, they settle down towards the end of the cold season, to have a prolonged flowering until the end of summer.
What the violets fear most is the drought and the heat; therefore, in areas with very hot summers, during the summer months it is good that our violets find a place in a partially shaded place, where they can enjoy a few hours of coolness, otherwise the plants will turn yellow and go into vegetative rest.
Place the violets
Generally in the flowerbeds occupied by violets during the cold months, when the first spring warmths arrive, other plants are planted, which better withstand the heat. This is not because pansy plants die completely during the summer, but because towards the end of their vegetative cycle the plants tend to produce seeds, and therefore when autumn arrives they tend to bloom little and small plants tend with time to produce less and less leaves; it is therefore easier to replace the plants, which would become less and less decorative with time.
The violets of the species widespread in nature, on the other hand, tend to remain over the years, developing new vegetation every year; by means of stolons the roots widen horizontally, producing new plants. In this way, over the years, patches of increasingly larger violets are obtained.
However, botanical violets have a more ephemeral development and flowering; the foliage can also be present throughout the year, although plants typically produce small clumps of leaves towards the end of winter; small flowers also develop between the leaves, often gathered in small bunches. With the arrival of heat, the plants stop flowering, lose the aerial part and enter in vegetative rest until the end of the state, or sometimes until the following year.
Purple - Purple: Water the violets
The botanical violas placed in the garden in general do not require great care: their development takes place between the end of the new and the beginning of spring, a period in which the rains help us to keep the earthen bread around the roots of small plants always moist and fresh.
As far as hybrid violets are concerned, they love bright and sunny positions, and they need a cool and moist soil; while enduring short periods of drought, flowering is always rich and luxuriant only if the plants are periodically watered and fertilized, avoiding leaving them dry for excessively long periods.
If we plant the violets in autumn or winter, let's water them only when the ground is dry, which could only occur sporadically, since very often in autumn and winter the days are gray and rainy.
Remember to check in particular the plants planted in pots, this because it is easier to have a sunny morning and a few hours of wind can completely dry the little earth contained in a vase.
If this happens we may be forced not to simply water our violets, but to immerse the whole pot in water, in order to completely rehydrate the earthen bread around the plant.
The violets cultivated in the flowerbeds in spring and summer need instead regular watering, so as to avoid drying the soil; to keep our flowered violets longer it is also good to remove the withered flowers, cimando the stem that brings them, so as to disadvantage the production of seeds.