They say that roses are red and violets are blue. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be blue when dealing with violets.
This flowering plant can make your indoor garden pop if you learn how to take care of it well. Nurture it to its heart’s content, and it will give you beautiful blooms to brighten your home. Read on to find out the essential concepts to learn when taking care of violets.
Violets are flowering shrubs classified under the Violaceae family. They are primarily from the Northern Hemisphere. However, some species thrive in warmer climates and can grow in places like Hawaii.
Violets fall under the genus Viola and have been around since the later parts of the 1700s. People became interested in propagating them because their blooms stand out. This widespread propagation has resulted in more varieties. Today, there are around 500 to 600 different types of violets.
People use various violet species for ornaments because of their flowers and heart-shaped leaves. Additionally, do well even when placed in smaller pots.
In general, keep violets’ soil moist but not soggy. Violets prefer well-draining soil and do not like their leaves to be wet. Make sure that the soil is dry around the stems and the roots before watering again. Ensuring this will encourage the violets to grow.
There are two main techniques to water violets. The first one is to submerge the bottom part of the pot in water. Then, wait for the water to seep into the soil and get to the roots. Allow the plant to absorb but never exceed 30 minutes as this may lead to rotting.
Another way is to use a watering can with a long spout to get the water directly to the soil. The extended spout makes it easy to water without getting the leaves wet. It’s important not to get the leaves wet because this can cause irreparable damage.
Only use lukewarm water for violets. Cold water can cause damage because they rarely tolerate low temperatures. On the other hand, hot water can result in scalding, which is equally damaging.
Avoid giving your violets chlorinated water. In large amounts, chlorine can cause the roots to dry up. It can also cause damage to the leaves. Both of these factors can lead to the underdevelopment of blooms.
As for water type, go for hard water. Never use soft water for watering because this significantly increases the salt content of the soil. As a result, the roots will have a hard time absorbing the water and the nutrients that come with it.
During winter, consider watering your violets less because of the risk of having crown rot. This season provides less sunlight, so the soil will retain water longer even if the air feels dry. On top of that, the roots tend to curl up when it receives more water than it should. When this happens, it can absorb nutrients less and can affect the violet’s growth rate.
Use a loose soil mixture to encourage the water to drain from it immediately. The goal is to make the soil moist enough to maintain high humidity. The right humidity level is essential to keep the roots from rotting and the leaves from falling. If both happen simultaneously, assess if the pot’s drainage holes are clogged. Check the extent of the damage the waterlogging has caused the plant. If around one-third of the plant is affected, consider discarding it because it will be beyond saving.
Letting the soil hold on to some moisture without retaining too much prevents denitrification as well. This condition is harmful to the violets because they will lose nutrients due to water dilution. As with most plants, nitrogen helps in the development of the entire plant and facilitates nutrient absorption.
Violets typically thrive in slightly acidic soil. If needed, you can increase the acidity of the soil through watering. Add one teaspoon of vinegar to one gallon of water. Let the mixture sit for a bit before giving it to your plants. Adjust the amount of vinegar depending on how your violets react over the next few days.
If you’re unsure what type of soil to use for violets, an all-purpose soil will do. If you can get your hands on some violet potting mix, that will be better. Other soil mixes that are good for violets are perlite-based mixes and peat-based mixes.
Make sure that your soil is loose because some plant breeders tend to produce excessively dense soil mixes. Before using the soil for planting, check for consistency first. Add some water to the soil and see if the water drains out of it easily. Check for the overall consistency as well. If it’s closer to clay, add mulch to the mix until it becomes more like sand.
Sunlight Exposure for Violets
In general, violets thrive in indirect light. The intensity doesn’t matter as long as they don’t stay in direct sunlight or extreme darkness for too long.
You’ll know that your violets don’t get enough sunlight if the leaves turn yellow and the buds refuse to bloom. Even if you give it all the fertilizer that it needs and water it regularly, it will all be useless.
On the other hand, excessive sunlight exposure can cause the flowers and the leaves to turn brown. Like leaving large water droplets on leaves, too much sun can cause necrosis in violets. Necrosis is the death of plant tissue. Because it is no longer functional, you cannot reverse this problem once it happens. Remove the affected part to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the plant.
Consider placing your violets on windowsills where they can have some light without direct sun exposure. Proximity to a window will improve the humidity levels because of increased ventilation around the plant. Just remember to rotate the pots every two to three days. This regular rotation will ensure all the parts of the violets receive some sunshine and grow symmetrically.
During winter, consider taking the pots outdoors for brief periods when there is some sun. Winter means less sunshine so if you can get access to some light, make the most out of it. Taking the plants out for at least five to ten minutes should do the trick.
Apply fertilizer to your plants every other week. The only exception is during the winter season, when you need to skip feeding your plants altogether. Regular feeding cycles should resume during summer and spring.
Violets prefer fertilizers with high amounts of phosphorusf. The ideal ratio is 15-30-15. Because they are usually small plants, only give violets fertilizers at 25% strength to prevent overwhelming them. If you notice your violets’ leaves taking on a lighter shade, you may need to provide fertilizer more frequently. The same is true if the plants do not show development in blooms.
If the violets do not appear to need fertilizer, take a break from fertilizing for a few weeks. Overfeeding them can cause problems that may be difficult to correct.
As soon as your violets settle in their pots, keep them away from drafty locations. Some of these locations include doors to the main entrance or near fans and vents. These openings provide sudden air drafts and swift irregularities in temperature. These fluctuations may make the violets fussy and cause them to act up.
For violets, a temperature of somewhere between 20 and 27 degrees Celsius is ideal. Temperatures outside that range will cause damage similar to sunlight-related problems. The only exception to this is the temperature fluctuations that take place as daytime transitions to night. Because the changes are fleeting and gradual, they should not cause the violets to act up.
If possible, have a mild heat source ready to prevent the violets from wilting. It should be just enough to discourage ice from forming around any part of the plant. If you’re having a hard time gauging the temperature, base it on your perception. If the temperature is comfortable enough for you, chances are it’s the same for your plants. Adjust the temperature accordingly based on that observation.
Violets are generally temperature-sensitive. Therefore, it follows that they are sensitive to varying humidity levels as well. Proper humidity becomes increasingly important during the winter season because the air can become too dry for the violets to take. Winter is when you’ll want to focus on high humidity levels more than anything else.
One easy way to increase humidity is to keep your pots together. Grouping them this way works best after you’ve just finished watering your violets. Make sure the plants are not touching to reduce the chances of pest or fungi infestation. They need enough room to grow and have adequate air circulation between them.
There are two main ways to propagate your violets: through cuttings and offsets.
If you want your plant to produce more blooms, go for the latter. Check your violets for wilted leaves and flowers. Remove them immediately and make sure there are no remaining dried parts attached to the plant. After that, check if there are already shoots or plantlets that protrude from the stems and between leaf nodes. Carefully cut them off from the parent plant and place them in separate pots.
As for cuttings, do as you usually would other plants that require cuttings for propagation. Cut off the stem at least two nodes above the base. Make sure the leaves are intact to ensure that photosynthesis will still take place. Then you can place it in a pot with loose soil and water it as you would a full-growth violet plant.
Potting and Choosing Violets
If you’re planning to get your first violet seedling from a shop, carefully assess your plant choices. The goal is to get the best one with the most extended potential lifespan. Inspect the leaves and see if they are firm and green. Also, see if their shapes are symmetrical. Take note of the emerging flower buds and the already-existing blooms. An abundance of blooms is a good sign of longevity.
Cross out choices with yellow, brown, or limp leaves. Check out the branches for any signs of pests or infestations. Other signs to look out for include protruding roots and falling leaves.
Violets love to be cramped in small spaces. Because of this, most plant enthusiasts plant their violets in pots that are around two-thirds smaller than average. Only go for a slightly larger pot when the roots get cramped enough to cause waterlogging.
When repotting violets, loosen the soil around the roots and lift the plant, making sure not to damage the roots. Transfer the violet to the new pot and loosely pack soil over the roots. Water the soil for a bit to further facilitate packing without making the soil too compact.
Consider repotting your violets at least once a year. Use fresh soil to ensure that they can get as many nutrients as they need. The consistency and soil type should be the same.
Additional Violet Plant Care
If you take your violets outside, regularly inspect the leaves of your violets, especially on windy days. Soil and dust can gather on the surface. When this happens, lightly scrape off the dirt with a soft brush.
Blight, rotting, powdery mildew, and cyclamen mites are just some of the pests and diseases that your violets may encounter. They usually appear as black or white specks on the stems and leaves. When you see the first few signs of these problems, get rid of the affected area. Also, isolate the affected plant from the rest of the pots to prevent the disease from spreading.
Consider getting a grow light if you’re having a hard time exposing your violets to sunshine. Position it around 12 to 15 inches above the plant’s upper part. Set a timer, so your violet gets at least 10 hours of darkness and 14 hours of light. Proper light balance is crucial to encourage it to produce blooms.
It’s time to apply the knowledge!
Taking care of violets is considered a challenging activity for indoor gardening beginners. However, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With proper guidance from this article and a little patience, you’ll surely emerge victorious in your venture.
Your indoor violets may present various challenges along the way. Remember to push on and never give up. After all, two certain things will happen if you do so. You’ll either be successful or fail and learn a bunch of lessons. Whatever it is, it’s still a win-win situation.
FAQ for Indoor Violets Care
Violets are abundant in vitamins A and C, making them excellent additions to many dishes.
Add them raw to salads as a colorful garnish, or mix them in soups for a twist in flavor. Some people make syrups with violets soaked in them, but this takes practice to perfect. You may also incorporate them in baked goods to help bring out their flavor more.
If you want to brew them into tea, gather the flowers first and let them dry in the sun. Once completely dried, steep them in boiling water. You can also crush the dried flowers first and place them in tea bags. Do this before soaking the bags in boiling water for a couple of minutes.
You can use freshly-picked violets for meat, stuffing, or cake decorations. You can combine the essence while adding a depth of flavor to desserts such as creams and soufflés. As for the leaves, you may treat them as leafy vegetables and cook them accordingly.
Yes and no. Most violets can be eaten and may sometimes be suitable to make tea. However, there are still some types that are not tested for safe, regular consumption.
While violets and African violets look similar, they are not in any way related to each other. Therefore, it’s best to ask professionals for advice should you wish to consume them.
My plant’s leaves seem too dark, and the stems branch out more than usual. Is there something wrong with it?
Your violet may not be getting enough sunlight. If the leaves appear thin and dark, it usually indicates underdevelopment. Conversely, if the leaves look “bleached” and are a lighter shade than usual, it may be getting too much sun. Time the total daily sun exposure of your plants and adjust accordingly. See if this makes a difference in the color of the leaves and the appearance of the stems.
Make sure to evenly space your violets before you plant them in the pots. Proper placement helps prevent the spread of the disease and aids in the early detection of the problem.
There is no definitive measurement for the distance between the indoor violets. However, make sure that each plant should not touch the one adjacent to it.
To further prevent crowding in pots, remove any new growth that you see emerging along the stems. Another alternative is to let them grow a little, then cut them off in preparation for propagation.
First, check the roots. Violets have deeper roots compared to African violets. One probable reason for the deeper roots is violets are originally growing in the wild.
As for the leaves, violets have small and heart-shaped ones. They are either hairy or smooth. African violets’ leaves are thick and fleshy.
African violets’ flowers tend to clump together more readily, while the violet’s flowers usually grow from different stems. The latter’s blooms also have a whirling pattern similar to that of roses.
Among all the differences they have, the scent is the most telling. Violets give out a fragrant scent, while African violets are scentless.