The wild violet can become invasive in many gardens - take my warning to not plant it and my tips to keep it under control.
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!
Beware the Wild Violet
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 years trying to eradicate it as I plant new things. And not just from the front garden. Oh no, it has managed to find its 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 the roots can make their way up through the decomposing paper. And of course it even grew through landscape fabric the previous owners had used - that stuff is terrible (but that's a whole other public service announcement).
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.
Tips to Control Wild Violet
- There are many types of violets and not all are invasive. The wild violet, viola sororia, is the invasive type, but it can cross with other violets so I would just stay away from planting violets at all. Unless you are absolutely sure of what you're planting.
- Wild violet spreads by lots of underground roots that can still grow if even a little bit is left.
- Pull any plants you see and get as much of the roots as possible. It's best to do this when the ground is moist (water first if you need to) and gently pull up the roots to try and get them all.
- After pulling the plants and roots, layer cardboard on top of the area and cover with mulch.
- Keep up the pulling and cardboard-mulching every year if you see them - after awhile you'll see less and less of them.
Make This Year's Garden A Success!