Growing Tips: Viola

Quick Reference:

A perennial grow as an annual in cool climates. Germinates in 14 to 21 days with an optimum soil temperature of 65 degrees F. Needs darkness to germinate. Lightly cover seed with no more than 1/16 inch of fine soil, cover flat with black plastic until the seedlings emerge. Seed spacing: 3/4 to 1 inch. Plant in the garden 6 to 8 inches apart. Plant height: 6 to 8 inches.

When and where to plant:

Violas are slow growing and in Alaska should be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost to assure bloom over a long season. Pre-chilling seed before planting is not essential but may improve germination. To pre-chill the seed, place the seed between two moist paper towels then place the towels in a closed plastic bag and keep the bag in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. DO NOT allow the seed to dry out once it has been moistened. Fill a container that has drainage holes with a sterilized potting soil and sprinkle seed on soil surface, cover the seed with soil and water well for good seed-soil contact. The seed must be covered as it requires darkness to germinate. Cover container with black plastic to help provide darkness and reduce evaporation and keep the soil moist until the seedlings emerge. Remove the plastic as soon as the seedlings start to show green. When seedlings have their first green leaves water with a liquid solution of plant food and repeat every two weeks. As soon as the seedlings have 3 to 4 true leaves transplant them to individual plastic pots and grow in a cool, sunny area, around 50 degrees F, until the garden is ready. Violas transplant easily. Select a garden area with full sun or light shade and a rich, moist soil, cultivate, enrich with plant food and organic matter and transplant seedlings in the garden after the soil has warmed. Violas will withstand a light frost.


Keep soil moist and feed once a month. Pick faded blooms frequently to promote more bloom.