Purple Showers Viola
Flower Description and Bloom Time
Lightly fragrant, deep purple-violet flowers appear in spring and then sporadically throughout the season, providing a soft show of color. The flowers fade to lavender. Although flowering in one trial garden (full sun and well-drained soil) was prolific, the May flowering was sporadic in the other gardens.
Foliage Interest — Color and Texture
Evaluators described foliage as nice, with crenellated leaves of medium to deep green. In most of the evaluation gardens, foliage remained green and disease-free through fall.
Habit and Growth Rate Observations
Plants ranged from 3 to 5 inches tall and 5 to 6 inches wide. Some plants that got leggy during the first growing season were cut back, which allowed for a second flush of flowers. Plants were slow to fill in or weak in most of the evaluation sites.
Site Preference — Soil and Light
While some garden sites suggest moist sites for this plant, others tout it as suitable for alpine/rock gardens, which require dry soil. Full sun to partial shade.
Successes and Possible Drawbacks
According to one evaluator, “If used as an annual, this plant would not disappoint.” In another trial garden, the evaluator stated, “This has been a great shade plant, filling in, gradually spreading and I would definitely recommend it.” Others who trialed the plant had problems with rabbits, poor drainage or poor winter conditions that led to the plants’ decline. Watch for slugs. Cut back if the plant becomes leggy.
Notes from Growers/Retailers
Keep dry, cut back halfway through growing season to prevent plant from becoming leggy. Use slug traps if needed.
Use as a shade garden companion to Hosta, Astilbe, dwarf daffodils, dwarf Aruncus and ferns.
Parting “SHOT” – the overall evaluation results were
Only three of the 24 plants survived the 3-year trial period. In one garden, plants formed a petite mass from the original three plants. Those plants had been sited in an area with good drainage, which appears to be key for their survival.