Viola ‘Sorbet Delft Blue’

How to grow violas

Discover everything you need to know about growing bright, cheery violas, in our practical Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does flower in September

Plant does flower in October

Plant does flower in November

Plant does flower in December

Divide
Divide

Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do Divide in March

Do Divide in April

Do not Divide in May

Do not Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do Divide in September

Do Divide in October

Do not Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

The Viola genus includes a huge range of plants, from seasonal colourful garden pansies to perennial species.

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Violas tend to have small flowers and tolerate heat, with a long flowering season from early summer to early autumn. Pansies have larger, more intensely coloured blooms and are most commonly used as winter bedding.

However, there are so many to violas to choose from that you can find one to suit every garden situation from hanging baskets and patio containers, to woodland borders. Many viola flowers are edible and make a beautiful addition to salads.

Take a look at our handy viola Grow Guide, below.


Where to plant violas

Yellow and purple-flowered violas
Yellow and purple-flowered violas

Grow violas in moist but well-drained soil, in partial shade.


How to plant violas

Sowing violas in a seed tray
Sowing violas in a seed tray

It’s possible to grow violas from seed. Sow lightly in a tray of seed compost, and pot on when seedlings are large enough to handle. If buying viola plants, dig a small hole, add a sprinkling of grit and well-rotted garden compost, plus a spoonful of mycorrhizal fungi and water in well.

Follow our guide to sowing seed indoors.


Propagating violas

Potting viola cuttings
Potting viola cuttings

Propagate perennial Viola varieties by division. Dig up clumps in autumn, pull apart gently and replant in fresh compost to grown on, or straight into the soil in a different part of the garden.


Violas: problem solving

Violas are easy to grow and generally free from garden pests and diseases.


Caring for violas

Purple violas growing with ajuga, carex and phormium
Purple violas growing with ajuga, carex and phormium

Violas will flower over a long period of time, if you deadhead spent blooms regularly. Water regularly if growing in containers. In early summer, trim untidy looking plants back to encourage further flowering. Divide perennial plants in September to invigorate them.


Viola varieties to grow

Viola ‘Tiger Eyes’
Viola ‘Tiger Eyes’
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  • Viola ‘Bowles Black’ – with velvety black flowers and yellow centres, this is a good ground cover plant and works well in containers and at the front of borders
  • Viola odorata – an old-fashioned perennial with tiny, strongly scented flowers and semi-evergreen foliage. With a spreading habit, it’s suitable for growing as ground cover under shrubs or in a woodland garden
  • Viola ‘Victoria’s Blush’ – the delicate, pale blue flowers of this viola are unusual and make a fresh addition to the front of a border or a container display
  • Viola ‘Sorbet Ruby Gold Babyface’ – one of the Sorbet series of violas, prized for their winter hardiness
  • Viola x wittrockiana ‘Tiger Eyes’ – an annual bedding pansy. Larger than the species violas, many of the hybrid cultivars have been bred to bloom throughout winter