VIOLA PETRAEA is an attractive PERENNIAL PLANT with SEMI SUCCULENT LEAVES that are arranged in a rosette this plant belongs to the group of ROSULATE VIOLAS. The color of the LEAVES are green to olive brown, imbricate, and compactly appressed to each other. THE COLOR OF THE FLOWERS are white to lavender-blue and APPEAR IN SPRING and EARLY SUMMER IN A RING AROUND THE OTHER EDGE OF THE ROSETTE. PLANTS grow about 8 inches tall and have 2- to 3-inch flowers that can be single-colored or patterned.
- This species is often CONFUSED with VIOLA COLUMNARIS and VIOLA COTYLEDON.
- The specific name “PATRAEA” is originally from the LATIN WORD “PATRAEUS”, which means “ROCK LOVING OR GROWING AMONG ROCKS” and refers to the species habitat on rocky outcrops.
HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR VIOLA PETRAEA
- ROSULATE VIOLAS have a reputation for being DIFFICULT TO KEEP ALIVE. COLD CONDITIONS, SOIL THAT CONTAINS ADEQUATE AMOUNTS OF NUTRIENTS, and AS MUCH LIGHT AS POSSIBLE ARE ESSENTIAL.
- They grow in relatively BARE LOOSE SOILS, which are often VOLCANIC IN ORIGIN.
- ROSULATE VIOLAS are grown ONLY FROM SEED AND WITH SOME PATIENCE.
- The MAIN PROBLEM with these plants is etiolation, caused by a LACK OF LIGHT, which results in elongation of the compact rosettes. It is KNOWN that in any bunch of seedlings, some of them will quickly etiolate, while other MAY NOT. So, there is some scope in selecting ROSULATE VIOLAS more likely to grow SATISFACTORILY IN CULTIVATION.
SOWING VIOLA SEEDS INDOORS
1.) 8-12 weeks before sowing indoors, in advance before the last heavy frost using a seed starting kit. While violas can take a light frost.
2.) Plant the seeds thinly and evenly in seed starting formula. Cover completely as seeds need darkness to germinate; firm lightly and keep evenly moist.
3.) Seedlings appear in 10-14 days
4.) You need to provide a lot of light on a sunny window ledge or grow seedlings up to 3-4 inches underneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for hours at night, as soon as seedlings appear. As the plants grow taller, make sure to increase the lights. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Majority of the plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for a day or 24 hours.
5.) Thin to one seedling per cell when they have two sets of leaves.
6.) Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed the seedlings when they are when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food), seedlings do not need much fertilizer.
7.) Replant hardened-off seedlings to the garden after the heavy frost.
8.) Seedling plants need to be hardened off before planting in the garden. Make sure to adapt young plants to outdoor conditions, by moving them to sheltered place outside for a week. Take note that you must protect the plants from wind and sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
PLANTING VIOLAS IN THE GARDEN
- Make sure to select a right place from full sun to part shade with well-drained soil.
- Ready the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
- If you want you plant to benefit, make sure to do an organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure). Also, it is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
- If it is a cloudy day or late afternoon, it is the best time to plant to reduce transplant shock.
- For each plant, make sure to dig a hole with an approximately 12-14 inches apart large enough to fully fit in with the root ball.
- Make sure to remove the plant from the pot the and lightly loosen the root ball with your hands to uplift good root growth.
- With the level of the surrounding soil, place the top of the root ball there. From the top of the root ball, make sure that it is filled with soil. Press soil down fully with your hand.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker.
- Water the plant well.
- Violas can be cut back in midsummer as they get scraggly, which encourages new growth and re-blooming when cool temperatures return in the fall.
- Add violas to mixed plantings with low-growing perennials.
- They are pretty groundcovers, excellent under deciduous trees, and can be used alone or with other plants such as common periwinkle.
- Use violas anywhere you need an extra touch of color in spring-among other edging plants, with spring bulbs, in containers, and mixed beds and borders.
- Flowers are edible and can be added to salads or used to garnish plates.