Viola sororia 'Dark Freckles' is a rare and most unusual violet with speckled flowers. It is similar to the wild violet, but its blue flowers are heavily speckled with violet / purple.
It is covered with the cheerful little flowers in spring right through to autumn producing up to twenty per plant in its first season alone.
Violas are very easy to grow, tolerant of most soil types. They are perfect for partial shade and once established multiply extremely quickly! They serve a multitude of uses: as a groundcover under shrubs or trees, in borders and rockery, in baskets, containers and tubs.
It is not unusual for Freckles to produce seed pods without actually flowering in the autumn and then flower the next spring and summer.
Sowing: Sow in late summer/autumn and late winter/late spring.
Keep seeds chilled until you are ready to sow. Do not sow with high temperatures.
Spring sowings will give flowers during early summer, whilst summer and autumn sowings will bloom the following winter or spring.
Sowing in Autumn:
Make a mixture of compost and approx 10% sand, to give a little drainage. Sieve the compost into pots or cell packs and press it down lightly. Add a little more compost if necessary. Make a small indentation with your finger and pop the seeds into it. Cover lightly with more sieved soil.
Place the containers in a cold greenhouse, outside in a cold frame or plunge them up to the rims in a shady part of the garden border and cover with glass or clear plastic.
Some of the seeds may germinate during the spring and summer and these should be transplanted when large enough to handle. The remainder of the seeds may lay dormant until next spring.
Sowing in Spring:
Seeds can be left to go through the seasons naturally as above, or, if planting at any other time of year, germination can be hastened by ‘stratifying’ (imitating the seasons)
Sow seeds as above and leave for 2 to 4 weeks. Transplant any seedlings that may have germinated. Then chill the remaining seeds: put the tray into the refrigerator at -4°C to +4°C (24-39°F), or somewhere with a similar temperature for 6 to 8 weeks. Then remove to around 10°C (50°F). The normal temperature of a fridge is 4°C (very useful!). Don’t put the seeds into the freezer, it will kill them.
When seedlings have their first pair of true leaves and are large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Pot on year-old seedlings and grow on in well ventilated conditions for another year before planting outside permanently.
Viola are best grown in a position with full sun to light shade. They are ideal for growing in the dappled shade of deciduous trees thus allowing full winter and spring sunshine. They like well-drained, fairly rich soil, so work in a spadeful or two of compost at planting time for best results. Plant the seedlings outside in spring, 10 to 20cm (4 to 8in) apart and water moderately until established.
Viola love cool conditions, and although they don't need huge amounts of water they may need to receive extra moisture in dry weather. Violas have few pests and diseases, but in summer heat, Red Spider Mite is liable to attack if they are allowed to get parched. Spraying with a hose is helpful.
Remove spent flowers to prolong the flowering season. If the plants are cut back after flowering they will flower again in late summer. Occasional feeding with liquid manure and even a top dressing of blood or bone is helpful for good blooms.
Mulch annually with leaf mould to help prevent the tubers from drying out in the summer and from winter cold.
Divide plants in the autumn or just after flowering. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are established. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flowers Borders and Beds, Alpine & Rockeries, Under-planting roses and shrubs, Containers, pots & hanging baskets. Flower arrangements. Edible Flowers.
Violas can be slipped into almost any gaps where you need a little brightness. Choose appropriate colours to tuck around dwarf shrubs and conifers, hellebores and bergenias. They also make splendid companions for the shorter bulbs, create instantly colourful containers by choosing pots of dwarf tulips or small-flowered daffodils and match them with violas or pansies in just the right shades.
The prolific blooms of violas and pansies offer a welcome splash of colour, but many gardeners don’t think of using them as cut flowers. These delicate flowers work best in small bottles and vases. And when you bring them into the warmth of your house you’ll notice, perhaps for the first time, their sweet fragrance.
Violas are among the most popular edible flowers, and with good reason. All flowers are beautiful, but violas are easy to grow and are among the few flowers that actually taste good.
Both the flowers and leaves in fresh and dried forms have been standard fare in Europe since before the 14th century. The simple addition of a few brilliant blooms transforms any dish into an elegant presentation.
Fresh flowers are most often used for garnishing and crystallizing. Culinary uses include jams and jellies, teas, garnishes and salads. Candied violas are easy to make and look stunning atop cakes, ice cream, cookies, or other desserts.
The pungent perfume of Viola odorata adds inimitable sweetness to desserts, fruit salads and teas while the mild pea flavour of most other viola varieties and species combines equally well with sweet or savory foods, like grilled meats and steamed vegetables.
The heart-shaped leaves of the v. odorata provide a free source of greens throughout a long growing season. They add texture to green salads when young and tender. Later in the season, slightly tougher, older leaves are cooked with other potted herbs and greens in soups, stews and stir-fry’s.
Viola is the largest genus in the family Violaceae, containing between 525 and 600 species. Violets are native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere and are also distributed in Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes in South America.
Viola sororia is an eastern Northern America native. In Canada, on can find it in all provinces, from Newfoundland to British Columbia, and in the Northwest Territory. Natural habitats include moist to mesic black soil prairies, open woodlands, woodland edges, savannas, and wooded slopes along rivers or lakes. In developed areas, it can be found in lawns, city parks, moist waste areas, and along hedges or buildings.
The widespread blue species is the state flower of Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.
The genus name Violet is the diminutive form of the Latin Viola, the Latin form of the Greek name Ione. There is a legend that when Jupiter changed his beloved Io into a white heifer for fear of Juno's jealousy, he caused these modest flowers to spring forth from the earth to be fitting food for her, and he gave them her name.
The species name sororia is based on the Latin soror, (of genitive sororis) meaning 'of a sister' or 'sisterly' and generally refers to a sister, cousin, or female friend, or sisterhood. Similarly sororius means brother in law, nephew etc.
This epithet for the species relates to the similarity between Viola sororia and Viola cucullata.
Viola sororia was originally known as Viola papilionacea in the older literature, however, some authors and botanists now place it as a variety of Viola sororia. Other synonymous scientific names include Viola floridana, Viola latiuscula, Viola priceana.
Common names, include common meadow violet, purple violet, woolly blue violet, hooded violet, and wood violet.
The species is also called the 'lesbian flower' because in the early 1900s, lesbian women would give violets to the women they were wooing. This symbolised their 'sapphic' desire, so called because Sappho, a Greek lyric poet, in one of her poems described herself and her lover as wearing garlands of violets. This practice became popular in the 1910 to 1930 time period.
The variety 'Freckles' comes in both light and dark forms. The regular form is a white flowering violet speckled with china blue, while 'Dark Freckles' is a light blue with violet speckles.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 20 Seeds Family Violaceae Genus Viola Species sororia Cultivar Dark Freckles Synonym Viola papilionacea Common Name Woolly Blue Violet, Sister Violet Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Blue with violet speckles Natural Flower Time Late winter to Spring Height 10 to 15cm (4 to 6in) Spread 20 to 25cm (8 to 10in) Position Full sun to mostly shade. Soil Prefers fertile, moist, well drained soil