Common Blue Violet is a ground cover that provides an early nectar source for bees and other pollinators. It is also self-seeding and spreads. This violet is found throughout central and eastern North America in suburban lawns, busy roadsides, city parks, cracks in the sidewalk, and overgrown areas, in addition to the lush forest floors and glades. It has heart-shaped, glossy green leaves that grow directly from the rhizomes.
Quick Growing Guide
Botanical Name: Viola sororia
Botanical Family: Violaceae
En français: Viola sororia
Sun / Shade:
Water: Don’t let dry, nor overwater
Common Blue Violet is the official flower of Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.
The lower three petals of the purple blooms are slightly hairy, with white throats. The flower’s upright stem sags slightly, and the blossoms slant downward. It grows well in clay soil, damp soil, and near black walnut trees.
Where to Plant the Common Blue Violet
It is often used as a wildflower in borders, edging, rock gardens, and lawns. It can be used as a ground cover along walls and route boundaries. Its spread can be controlled with simple mowing.
Common Bue violet is stoloniferous, which means it has horizontal stems above ground that can generate roots and vertical stems at nodes. It can spread quickly, and become invasive especailly in fertile, damp areas. It sometimes spreads so well that it takes on the caracteristics of a weed.
To encourage the development of laterals, remove the top buds from the seedlings once they have sprouted. This also encourages flower production, keeps plant structure intact, and prevents seedlings from becoming spindly and floppy. Early-blooming flowers can be removed if seedlings bloom too soon, allowing the plants to conserve energy for later blooms.
Seed in late fall or early spring. Select a cool setting for seeding. Directly sprinkle seeds onto the soil’s surface, then cover them with a thin layer of dirt. Flowers will appear about two months into the new spring.
Wrap the seeds in moist paper towels to sow them indoors. To hasten germination, place the paper-wrapped seeds in sealed bags or other containers and store them in the refrigerator or chilling chamber for 3–4 days.
Common blue violets can withstand cold temperatures and some heat. Typically, it blooms from spring until October. In high temperatures, flower production could be reduced. It can withstand light frost and winter snowfall. It should be kept warm in the winter if cultivated in a cold climate. In other words, it has to be protected from summer’s high temperatures and humidity and given less water throughout the winter when it is dormant.
Common blue violets require a moderate amount of sunlight. The common blue violet is a sun-loving plant that can also tolerate some shade. It maintains its shape thanks to intense sunlight and a significant temperature difference between day and night.
If common blue violets are exposed to shade for an extended period of time, the stems will become weak, leggy, and floppy. It is also advisable to protect it from the extreme heat of the summer sun.
The common blue violet prefers moist, air-permeable, well-drained soil. When planting, the soil can have a tiny amount of substrates added, such as ceramsite, perlite, and vermiculite.
The common blue violet is not drought-tolerant. However, overwatering will cause the plant to deteriorate and die. If it is in a garden, water is just as necessary to prevent the soil from becoming overly dry. In pots, water when the soil surface dries.
Common blue violets can be grown with slow-release commercial chemical fertilizers. A thin compound liquid fertilizer can be applied once every two weeks throughout the growth and bloom period. Please refer to the compound fertilizers’ product specifications for details on specific application techniques.
The common blue violet’s leaves and blossoms are edible. The roots can cause intestinal upset.
Similar to many plants, you want the younger, more delicate leaves rather than the more durable elder foliage. Early and mid-spring is, therefore, the best period to harvest. Where previous leaves have been eaten or mowed, violets may produce new leaves in the summer, and occasionally they will produce a fresh flush of new foliage in the fall. You can harvest these also.
As for violet flowers, they typically bloom between March and June, depending on the region. Be choosy when harvesting, picking, or snipping only the fresh blooms and leaves, leaving the stalks and the older, coarser leaves left. And don’t collect the white, ground-level cleistogamous violet blooms; just the common, five-petaled varieties.
Always exercise caution when picking edible violets from the wild. Within their range, you can easily find them in many urban and suburban locations, but avoid harvesting them in areas where there may have been soil contamination or where there may have been spraying.
Is it Edible?
In the kitchen, the leaves of the common blue violet can be used in a variety of ways to replace other leafy greens, whether they are prepared to be eaten raw or cooked. They can be used in a variety of meals, including salads, sandwiches, steams, and sautés.
Although they don’t have a very distinctive or potent flavor, they may be spiced up with salt, pepper, or dressing and are a good source of vitamins A and C. Even though violet blossoms are a good source of vitamin C, their flavor is best characterized as “bland” on its own.
They can be made into candies or jellies, used as a garnish on cakes and salads, or crushed to color sugar.