Beware The Violet

This is a Public Service Announcement:

If you see this plant for sale, do not pick it up, examine it, or go anywhere near it.

Do not take it if a friend offers it to you, even if your frugal nature is imploring you to take a free plant.

In fact, stay far, far away from this plant!

Wait- doesn’t it look so cute with it’s heart-shaped leaves and pretty purple flowers?

Don’t be fooled.

It will take over your garden and cause you to spend hours on your hands and knees pulling it up along with any bits of its extensive root system you can find. And sometimes it will cause you to dig up the plants you do want, in an effort to extract the all of the violet’s roots so that all your perennials won’t be smothered by this “cute little plant.”

But it will never be enough: it will just return the next season to taunt you again.

If you dare to ignore it for even 6 months, it can do this:

Choke the life out of a poor variegated St. John’s Wort.

And the more I pull, the more voracious it seems.

The people who lived here before me planted this in the front garden as a “ground cover” (it would be more apt to say “everything cover”), and I have spent the last four years trying to eradicate it as I plant new things…and not just from the front garden. Oh no, it has managed to find it’s way to all the other areas of the yard, too.

I’m not doing too well at eradication, as you can see. I’m only going for control at this point. I’ve had the most success with putting down a thick layer of newspaper and covering it with mulch, but it only lasts a year here with all our rain, and then those little shoots can make their way up through the decomposing paper. It even grew through landscape fabric the previous owners had used.

I have no choice, but you do.

Well, that is if you don’t have it already, and if you do, I want to say, “I can feel your pain.”

Don’t do it. No matter how it calls to you.

Beware the violet.





  1. says

    I would like to add that one should avoid any uncontained mint and run screaming from Morning Glory (thanks Previous Homeowners!) UGH!

  2. says

    Someone gave me some from her garden. I have noticed that it’s spreading. I didn’t know it could kill, like mint does.

    So, does this mean the ones growing under my fruit trees are dangerous? (In all seriousness). I had mint kill bushes at my last house; will this kill my trees?

    It was so nice to have something that would grow in the hot shade. . .

    I have noticed it reproducing . . . up until now I was happy about it . . .

  3. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    Prudent Homemaker-
    I just went to your beautiful blog! Wow- you have an incredible story and are quite an inspiration.

    I would’ve emailed you, but couldn’t find a link.

    I really don’t know if the violets will kill trees. They’ve only taken over small things here – they don’t seem to faze the bigger things.

    We have much wetter weather here than you and maybe it won’t be quite as noxious as mine is if it’s in a fairly unhospitable place (ie, hot shade). I’ll leave it up to you…

  4. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Ugh, Prudent- can I just say I’d LOVE to give you some? The war continues here with no end in sight…

  5. Anonymous says

    We had that in our back yard many years ago. I remember it took about 3 years to get rid of it. I think we ended up basically digging a trench several inches deep where it grew along the property line and then planting some bushes over the top of it real quick so the bushes could get the upper hand on the violets. There’s no violets now so we must have done something right…

  6. says

    I was just thinking of this post today. I only had SIX violet flowers this year (less than last year) despite the fact that it has spread some. It made it difficult to make jelly this year. I made johnny jump-up jelly instead (I did sneak two violets in). It was still a beautiful purple, and quite delicious!

  7. Shirley says

    Another is goatsbeard, otherwise known as Snow on the Mountain. It is a beautiful variegated groundcover which spreads rampantly. It could be great at a cottage, as it requires little care. I wasn’t aware violets were bad that way. Perhaps it is in the warmer zones. I’ve never heard of it as invasive here in zone 3b.

  8. says

    I realize this is a ridiculously old post, but I have to share.

    In the backyard of the house I grew up in, we used to have a patch of violets. I loved them, and between my overzealous flower picking (I was about 3 at the time) and constant weeding, they were just barely contained. On year my parents ripped out all of them (as in dug out at least 8 inches of dirt too), and built a grape arbor where they were growing. Now, 20-some years later, we’re renting that house from my parents, and we just had to tear out the grape arbor. And you’ll never in a million years guess what’s sprouting ALL OVER that cleared out patch of dirt.

    Yup. Violets. Hundreds of them. Also a bunch of lemon balm. No idea where the lemon balm came from though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>