Search

Search My Garden Blog with Google Custom Search

26.11.12

Collecting Wild Blue Violet Seeds

Wild violets may be considered a weed by many, but I like. Unfortunately, they don’t spread in my garden like I wish they would. I know many gardeners battle to eradicate them from their lawns in order to maintain a perfect carpet of grass. It’s unfortunate that wild violets don’t grow a prolifically in my grassy area like they do in my neighbor’s yard. So I collect wild violet seeds and sow them in parts of the garden I want them to grow.

Wild blue violet flowers, Illinois state flower


Wild blue violets spread aggressively through underground rhizomes. Pulling up some of these underground roots and transplanting them will help spread them if they grow rather anemically in your garden as well. I know there are probably some gardeners who will look at this and wonder why I want wild blue violets in my garden. Well, for starters, wild blue violets are the state flower of Illinois. They also happen to be beautiful and make a fantastic ground cover that attracts many bees to the garden in early spring.

Wild violet seeds


When violets are pollinated they lower the flower head to the soil surface, and months later the seed pods, now formed, start to rise up off the ground. Here is a picture of the basil grown of violets in the fall in my garden. You can see that there are seed pods in various stages of development.

Saving and collecting wild blue violet seeds


If you look closely, you can see the forming seeds pressing against the walls of the seed pod in the picture on the left side. When the seeds in the pod are mature, the pod stands straight up and splits open, revealing three valves containing about two dozen seeds. As the pod dries, it constricts and sends the tiny seeds flying across your garden.

A rainy fall makes collecting wild violet seeds easy because the pods don’t dry too readily and disperse the seeds. If you want to be really meticulous about collecting violet seeds you can place a jewelry bag, coffee filter, piece of muslin cloth or even a tea bag, around the forming pods to capture the seeds when you see the pods start to stand straight up.

Unlike other seeds I collect, I don’t bring these seeds in to dry. Instead, I’ll direct sow the seeds in the garden where I want them to grow in the fall because direct sowing is the easiest and most cost effective way of starting seeds.

Collecting seeds from other members of the Viola genus, Johnny Jump Up, for example, is just as easy.


25 comments:

  1. You did right. These are beautiful flowers with a striking colour. They do deserve to be cultivated but probably not on the lawn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have much of a lawn to speak of, so having a carpet of wild violets would be an improvement over my "weedy" lawn. :0)

      Delete
  2. I love blue violets. They are blooming here now and bloom through the winter. If is nice to have something bloom all winter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish wild violets bloomed through the winter here. You're lucky.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Very true, but if you eat them then they don't set seeds. Maybe I should stop using my blue violet flowers in salads and they would spread more.

      Delete
  4. These are lovely and I too never saw the point in removing them from my lawn. I prefer the look of a meadow to the look of a manicured green carpet anyway.

    Also, great photos ad tutorial on how to collect these seeds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anna,

      Yeah, I don't see why people remove them from the lawn when they make such a nice impact in the spring. The photo above was taken in a "lawn" that has grown wild over the past three years the owner has been gone. It is striking in the spring with all the violet blooms.

      Delete
  5. I love violets and would love to have a thick bed of them at some point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Misti, I hope we both get that thick carpet of wild violets that we're both hoping for.

      Delete
  6. The first "bouquet" I ever gave my mother had violets from her garden. I've loved them ever since. Am hoping to put some in my garden next year. Violets also are the state flower of Wisconsin, altbough it's the woodland variety.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen,

      I wonder how many people have that childhood memory of collecting that bouquet for mom. It's a great memory to have when you're older.

      Delete
  7. I like violets growing in the lawn. I also use them as a groundcover under certain trees and shrubs. There is a kind of white violet I have growing wild that I think is called confederate violet. The only place I don't like them is in flower beds with rich soil, where they tend to grow into enormous clumps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jason, I wish I had the white violet variety growing around here. I've been looking for a clump of it the past couple of years I could transplant to my garden, but so far no luck.

      Delete
  8. I'm blessed with some wild violets in an area of grass in a shaded moist spot here at Trinity. Don't know why the professionally applied lawn program would let it grow. Have you seen such resolve in a lawn situation. Will try to collect this year to put more in the lawn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patrick, Good luck spreading them around!

      Delete
  9. I love them too, but I must admit that in my gardens they grow so well that I find myself pulling many and at times wishing they would not do so well. See for yourself.http://mygardenandhome.blogspot.com/2012/03/whats-in-bloom-march-30-2012.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Renata, Ha. I wish I had your problem. Send all your unwanted violets to me. :0)

      Delete
  10. Anonymous9:06 AM

    I miss these little flowers. I have none in my garden, nor on the patio. Will again search for the seeds and of course look for them in the Tucson nurserys. Thanks for the lovely picture and explanation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, Come to think of it...when I lived in Arizona I never saw any. I think they like it too shady and moist to do well in that area. You may have to settle for a some of the cultivated violet varieties during your "winter."

      Delete
  11. LOVE these little flowers! I'm blessed to have them in the woods and yard at my place in Wisconsin, I've seen a few here in Minnesota on the rare spots of grass not poisoned by a lawn "service". Three cheers for natural wild lawn spaces!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh, don't even get me started on lawn services and the needless killing they do of these wonderful plants.

      Delete
  12. Pretty flower! Doesn't the leaf resemble that of strawberry's?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, the leaves (crowns of the plants) actually do resemble strawberries now that you mention it. Hadn't ever realized that.

      Delete
  13. I love this website! Where else could I find this info?

    ReplyDelete

Hi!

Feel free to leave a comment. You can always use the search box for my blog or the search "Google For Gardeners" if you're looking for gardening information. If you're looking for seed saving information check out "Seed Snatcher"search engine.

Do not have a blog yourself? Comment using the "anonymous" feature. If you have a Twitter or FB account feel free to use the "Name URL" feature so other people can find you.


Thanks for visiting.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Like This Blog?

If you like this blog please subscribe via Email. No Spam, I promise, just the latest posts Emailed to you.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner