Violet Ground Cover OR''

Violet Ground Cover OR''

Violet Ground Cover

Violets feed butterflies, bees, rabbits and other wildlife. They’re also an asset to gardeners, forming a lovely groundcover under shrubs and perennials. So why are lawn care and pesticide companies so threatened by this native plant? Roundup.com recommends tips to help you “conquer this invader,” calling the unassuming little violet “an aggressive weed that will happily invade your lawn if left unchecked” and “come back to haunt you year after year.” Other mainstream sites are no better; some universities recommend killing violets with strong herbicides just for the sake of preserving lifeless lawns. But violets were growing on this nation’s lands long before turfgrass, so who is really the invader here? Don’t believe the hype, and watch my video about how to incorporate these beautiful native plants into your garden.


Hi Colleen! I don’t think they’ll present any problems for you like that. They definitely help crowd out the mock strawberries, but I also help that process along by pulling mock strawberries periodically when I can. So the violets and I work together on that. It really depends on the spot — what the soil’s like, which plants are near it — but what I tend to see most often is that the violets weave their way around native perennials, especially taller ones. The only possible concern — and this goes for any vigorous native groundcover — would be if you had them near a less vigorous groundcover that does its active growing at the same time. So for example, if I plant pussytoes near golden ragwort, a wonderful and fast-spreading native groundcover, I can be sure that the pussytoes will be gone within a couple of years. But the pussytoes are very small and slower-growing than the ragwort. So that’s the only type of consideration I think you’d have to make.

“Collecting seeds from violets takes a little observation. Within a week or two of the last flowers appearances, check the plants regularly for the ½″ pale green seedpods. The pods point downward until the seeds begin to ripen, when they turn tan and papery, and reorient, pointing upwards. If the seeds have begun to turn brown they are ripe and ready to collect. (Seeds explode outward when the pods split.) Seeds can be sown immediately in pots outdoors, left to dry for a few weeks in a paper bag, then put in the refrigerator in a sealed jar or bag for fall sowing. Germination will occur the following spring.” Thanks for this wonderful article! I started gardening from scratch on our property about 7 years ago and wild violets are thick in my veggie and flower beds. I try to keep them out of the veggie beds, but I do love them yet worry about them crowding out other plants in the flower beds competing for nutrients and water and maybe also preventing plants like wild columbine from reseeding. I wouldn’t want to lose my other plants, but I’m happy to leave them if they are “good neighbors” to the other plants. What’s your experience with long term crowding in beds? (Source: www.humanegardener.com)



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