If you are looking to grow small, dainty plants with fragrant flowers, the viola plant is your answer. There are more than 800 species of this early-flowering perennial, which is found throughout North America. They are most commonly known as violets and pansies. The ease of growing viola makes them a popular choice for gardeners. The plants have dark green oval or heart-shaped leaves. They flower profusely in spring, and continue into fall. The blooms range in color from yellow, blue, red, white and shades of purple.
Viola plants are tiny, growing to a height of no more than six inches. They are marvelous bedding plants and brighten up the home in small flower arrangements and in window boxes. The plants can grow in full sun or shade. However, they thrive in damp shaded sites and cool, moist weather. You still need to be careful not to overwater them, because it can lead to root rot; keep in mind, the plant will wilt in extreme heat. They require soil that is mixed with peat moss or compost for drainage. You can buy plants from your local garden center or grow from seed.
Sow seed in spring or late summer. They can be started inside. You want them to be ready to plant in early fall to mid-fall or early spring to mid-spring. Barely cover them with soil, no more than 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep. Water thoroughly at first and then let germinate. The seedlings should be transplanted into the garden after the last frost in your area. Fertilize the plants at first planting and then monthly. The seeds can also be put directly into the soil. Mulch the plants to maintain moisture. After the plants are established, you can divide the clumps. The viola is also very good at self-sowing seeds.
The viola grows well without much attention. Keep the soil moist, but there should be no standing water. Water the plants when dry. Keep weeds away from the garden. Remove or deadhead the blooms, this will encourage more blooms and make the garden more attractive.