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Violet flowers grow worldwide, but they’re more abundant in the Northern Hemisphere’s temperate regions. Some rarer species grow in the Andes, Australasia, and Hawaii.
Keep reading to learn more about these adorable, easy-going plants.
Violets: What’s in a Name?
Violets get their name from their distinct colors, which appear in various shades of violet. The term ‘violet’ comes from the Latin word ‘viola,’ meaning a ‘violet color or flower.’
They’re small flowers, which grow either annually or perennially, as opposed to pansies.
Pansies: A Close Cousin
Pansies are larger than violets and come in various colors, including orange, gold, red, white, and blue.
Horticulturists mainly use these colorful flowers for bedding. They’re preferred over other types of flowering plants because they’re resilient. In addition to their colorful display, they require little maintenance.
Their heart-shaped leaves are also one of the reasons why violets are so popular. Many violets even have a sweet, pleasant fragrance.
Meaning of Violet Flowers
Violets have been around for thousands of years and have had many uses throughout history. These flowers are a symbol of humility and virtue. They also represent faith and eternal love.
Violet Flowers: Uses and Benefits
Violets are used quite extensively in many leading industries. Below are some of the most common uses.
The Persians used them to make garlands worn around people’s heads to treat headaches and induce a sense of calmness. Today, violet tea has that same effect.
In medicine, the plants themselves are used as anti-inflammatories and treat many ailments. They contain high levels of antioxidants, the most prominent being vitamin C. They’re potent diuretics and may be used as a laxative for children.
The Perfume Industry
Violet perfumes give off a powdery, soft scent. They’re very feminine with a delicate aroma. It’s a fragrance that became quite popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. It quickly became a favorite of the Queen herself.
Here are some of the most prominent violet perfumes today:
Violets have a mild, soothing effect on the skin and hair and are used in the making of certain beauty products, including:
Try decorating your salads and dishes with violas. They give the dish a pleasant look and a sweet smell.
Since they’re mainly considered a leafy vegetable, there are a few species of violet flowers that are edible. A good rule to follow is that if the flower has a richer purple shade, that means it’ll taste sweeter.
For a sweet addition to icing and cake decorations, violets can be candied. Then, they’re frosted and used to decorate cupcakes, cakes, and other desserts.
Here are some other unique ways to incorporate violet flowers into your diet.
- To make violet jelly, boil two and a half cups of water. Add 2 to 3 cups of violet flowers, three and a half cups sugar, lots of lemon juice, and a Sure-Jell pectin packet.
- Leave to simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Then carefully, pour the liquid into your jars. Once they cool down, you can store them in the fridge.
- It’s important to note that violets are mild laxatives.
Violet Leaf and Honey Cough Syrup
- Fill a jar with 1/3 violet leaves. Pour water to fill the jar. Close and leave in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, place this mixture in a pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Then, strain the liquid from the leaves.
- In another pot, take 50 ml of the strained mixture and add twice as much honey (100 ml). Stir gently over low heat until they reach the right consistency. Keep it on low heat and never allow it to simmer or boil.
- Remove from heat. Pour into a sterilized jar, close tightly, and store in the fridge. This all-natural cough syrup lasts about a month.
How to Grow Violet Flowers
Violets are mostly grown as ornamental flowers. They look great as garden borders or edging along a path.
Due to their smallish size, long flowering period, and low-maintenance nature, you can easily grow them in any of these:
The Different Ways Violets Bloom
Violets are known for their ability to bloom quicker than other plants. Violets are classified into three types, depending on when they grow and bloom.
Several species of Viola are perennial plants. Perennials don’t have to be replanted each year. They grow and bloom during the warmer seasons. Then when autumn comes around, they die. But they’re able to grow once again on their own from their rootstock.
Other types are annual plants. Annuals die each winter season, along with their leaves, stems, and roots. For them to grow again, they must be replanted using seeds.
Since their growing cycle is limited to one year, they put all their energy into making as many seeds as they can to ensure they’ll return next spring.
Violas can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall. They bloom best when they’re in moist, rich soil. They also prefer soil that can drain well and not hold onto its water supply.
Some species require partial sun exposure, such as the perennial types of violas. Partial shade means getting anywhere from four to six hours of direct sunlight. Plants that require partial sunlight should also be sheltered from the intense afternoon sun.
Other violet flowers need full sun exposure to be happy and content. Full sun means the plants get no less than six hours of direct sun exposure. Nothing should obstruct or shade them during that time.
We keep saying how resilient and low-maintenance violet flowers are, and this is where it shows.
If you already have violets, you’ll find that they quite easily self-seed. They’ll happily pop up all over your garden if you don’t set boundaries for them.
But what about starting your first batch of violet flowers? You’ll find that it’s just as easy. You have to get the timing right, and they’ll take care of the rest.
Starting from Seeds
So let’s get started.
- Fill the pots with a sterile potting mix. It should be full up until about 1/4 inch below the container edge.
- Sprinkle no more than four seeds in each cell.
- Spread another light layer of moist potting mix over the seeds. Violas need a dark setting to germinate properly, so make sure the seeds are covered completely.
- Place the pots somewhere warm, preferably between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15 – 21˚C).
- Germination should take about two weeks. Once seeds start sprouting, move the seedlings to a location that gets more light.
- When the first real leaves appear, they’re ready for slightly colder temperatures. They’ll do fine at 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (13 – 15 ˚C). You can start using a nutritious water-soluble fertilizer.
- As the temperatures outside become warmer, you can leave them out. Start with a couple of hours on the first day, then gradually increase the time. Keep an eye on the soils’ moisture levels at all times. This is what botanists call the ‘hardening off’ stage.
- They can be planted outdoors after a few weeks of getting used to staying outside for several hours. If you live in a hot climate, make sure you plant them somewhere that gets equal amounts of shade and sunlight. Otherwise, they do well in both full or partial sun exposure.
- Pansies and other types of violas require a moist soil environment. They need an average amount of water.
Watering once or twice per week should be enough, depending on the season. Remember that the soil should remain moist and never wet.
If they remain in wet soil for too long, they may succumb to the gray fungus, Botrytis.
- When it comes to fertilizing, it’s better to use a slow-release, water-soluble fertilizer. Add about one teaspoon for every square inch of planting area each time you water your violets.
Violet flowers always know how to steal the spotlight. Pansies and violas are considered the top two choices for bedding plant crops in the United States.
These vibrant flowers won’t let you down. Whether you grow them in pots or plant them as edging to your pathway, they’ll surely add a touch of spark and vitality.
Pansies and violas both provide months of colorful display. Their beautiful shades and tolerant temperament make them a great choice in any environment.