Wild Violet

Biological Name:

Viola spp. (Wild-Violet)

Natural Habitat:

Wild-violet is a type of flowering plant that grows in a variety of environments, including woodlands, meadows, and fields. It is commonly found in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia.


Wild-Violet is a perennial herb that is native to North America. It has small purple or white flowers and heart-shaped leaves. It is often found in moist shaded areas and is used in traditional medicine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is wild violet invasive?
A: While pretty, these iconic wild violets are also an aggressive and invasive weed. They’ve been known to take over yards and flower beds with no concern for whatever landscaping plans the homeowner originally had in mind.

Q: Will wild violets take over my lawn?
A: Wild Violets can easily spread through their rhizomes and often grow in clumps. They spread happily and quietly on their own. However, it is not normal for an entire yard to be taken over by these dainty flowers. They spread, but they do not crowd out other plant species entirely.

Q: Are wild violets a good ground cover?
A: Wild violets make great accents around trees, near water sources, and beds. They also make excellent choices for instant ground cover in a woodland garden. They can even be grown in containers. Both the leaves and flowers (which bloom in late winter and early spring) are also edible and rich in vitamins.

Q: Are wild violets good?
A: Edible Uses of Wild Violets Both the leaves and blossoms are edible, either raw or cooked, and are extremely high in vitamin C. The flowers are a wonderful late winter or early spring treat, and are often made into violet jelly or violet syrup.

Q: Do wild violets smell?
A: Violets were Napoleon’s favourite flowers. Violet flowers smell soft, powdery and romantic, a little like iris, and are can be played up to create a very feminine fragrance.

Q: How long do violets last?
A: Individual blooms can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Varieties producing thicker petals and those with green in the bloom tend to last longer. Blooms will last longer under moderate to high humidity with cooler temperatures (say 60-75f degrees).

Q: Are violets toxic to humans?
A: Safety of African Violets Though African violets are not known to be toxic, it is generally never a good idea to let a child chow down on any houseplant, as individuals may have varying sensitivities to the plant’s sap or hairy leaves. Children can also choke on ingested leaves or plant parts.

Q: Is wild violet an annual or perennial?
A: Wild violets (viola papilionacea, viola sororia) are low-growing perennials that bloom in mid-May. While some people consider them a lovely decorative plant for gardens and landscaping, others consider them a bothersome weed because they display an aggressive behavior that is very hard to control.

Q: Do wild violets prefer sun or shade?
A: Although violets tolerate of a variety of light conditions, most will grow best in full sun to partial shade. Some woodland species tolerate more shade; in fact they can be planted in areas considered to be full shade.

Q: How long does a violet plant last?
A: Answer: Indefinitely, if properly cared for. Just keep providing your violet with good care and regularly repot it. Violets have incredible survival instincts, if given half a chance.

Q: How long do wild violets stay in bloom?
A: Wild violets appear in the Spring and last a month or two depending on the weather. Like Spring bulbs, the cooler the air, the longer the flowers will last. Then, just like cultivated pansies, they vanish when the weather gets too warm.

Q: Do violets survive winter?
A: In the winter, most of the leaves die back and the purple violets bloom. So they do add some color on a cold winter day.

Q: Do wild violets bloom more than once a year?
A: Like most violas, violets have the potential to bloom from late winter or spring all the way through the summer. Typically, though, they stop blooming in late spring or summer when temperatures begin to get hot.

Q: Where is the best place to grow violets?
A: Violets do best in full sun or partial shade, in soil that’s fertile with plenty of organic matter, and which drains well. Grow violets in a woodland garden, on rockeries and banks, at the front of borders or under shrubs with an open canopy that only cast a light shade.

Q: What kills wild violet the best?
A: Herbicides containing triclopyr provide the best control of wild violet species; however, repeat application over the course of the growing season and over multiple years may be needed for effective control.

Q: Should I remove wild violets?
A: Wild violets can be removed by hand, especially if you regularly inspect your lawn to control the plant before it spreads. But sometimes this weed calls for the use of chemical herbicides for complete eradication.

Q: How do you keep wild violets from spreading?
A: Fall is the best time of year to control the wild violets. It’s a perennial weed with a long tap root on it. Use a broadleaf killer that contains 2,4-D or Dicamba, and it will selectively kill the violets without damaging the grass. Another great wild violet herbicide is called Drive (quinclorac).

Q: Are wild violets poisonous to dogs?
A: Wild Violets are not poisonous to dogs – or people!

Q: Is wild violet toxic?
A: Harvesting wild violet Leaves are edible but because the leaves are easily confused with other non-edible plants it is important to stick with the sure bet if you are unfamiliar with violets and their look-alikes. Violet flowers can be used to garnish salads or flavor vinegar and syrup.

Q: Is wild violet the same as creeping Charlie?
A: Creeping Charlie can sometimes be mistaken for wild violet because of their similar flower color and leaves. To tell them apart, look closely at the leaves. If they are heart-shaped with sawtooth-like serrations on the edges, then it’s probably wild violet.

Q: Do violets spread?
A: Violets are notorious for spreading everywhere when they are happy, which may be a good characteristic for a groundcover. Violets have developed numerous ways to spread. Violets spread by underground rhizomes and may form vegetative colonies. They also spread by seed.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.