Canada Violet, Viola canadensis

Canada Violet

Viola canadensis

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Moist
Color: Orange, White
Fragrance: No
Height: 1-3 feet
Spacing: 1-2 feet

Canada Violet, Viola canadensis, is a clump-forming, mounding, stemmed violet. White flowers with yellow centers and purple-tinging on the back of the upper petals bloom in spring on short, naked stalks rising from the leaf axils of leafy stems typically growing 9-15 inches tall. Dark green, heart-shaped leaves (2-4 inches long). The root system is fibrous and either rhizomatous or stoloniferous.

Individual flowers are produced from the axils of the alternate leaves. The slender pedicels raise the flowers only a little above the foliage. Each flower is ½–¾" across, consisting of 5 white petals, 5 light green sepals, and a short nectar spur; the petals are much larger than the sepals. The reproductive organs are largely hidden within the throat of the flower. The lower petal has dark purple veins, while the two lateral petals have such veins to a lesser extent. The two lateral petals also have small tufts of hairs near the throat of the flower, where there is a conspicuous yellow patch. The back sides of the petals are light purple. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer and sometimes during the fall. Usually, only a few flowers are in bloom at the same time. Later in the summer, inconspicuous cleistogamous flowers are produced, which are self-fertile. Each fertile flower is replaced by an ovoid seed capsule up to ½" long. This capsule is initially green, but it later turns brown and divides into 3 segments, flinging the seeds.

Canada Violet is normally found in high quality woodlands, although escaped cultivated plants are likely to appear in more disturbed areas.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers moist, humusy soils. Does not spread by runners, but freely self-seeds to the point of being weedy. Performs better in cool summer climates.

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