Tips for growing, eating violas; Herbs and flowers festival set

Violas, also called Johnny jump-ups, are a cheerful sign of spring and early summer.

These plants, Viola tricolor, have been around since ancient Greece. Violas are smaller than their larger cousins, pansies, but they’re a happy sign of a new gardening season. They are also an edible flower if grown organically; the flowers can be used as colorful garnishes or decorations, and they have a wintergreen flavor when eaten.

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Landscape uses

Violas stand 6 to 8 inches tall, making them perfect for containers, planters, or border plants. They are perfect companions for spring-flowering bulbs. Viola flowers attract auxiliaries such as bumblebees and bees.

Plant needs

Violas prefer partial sun and well-drained soil. Space the plants seven to 10 inches apart in the ground. Plants can self-sow, producing up to 50 seeds; however, they are not invasive. Plant them close together in a container or planter for a nice display. Water thoroughly about once a week. A slow-release fertilizer one week after planting will promote flowering. You can also sow viola seeds directly in the garden.

Violas are often linked to Cupid in Roman mythology; thus, they are often associated with affection and love. The International Herb Association has named viola “Herb of the Year” for 2022. Why not grow some this year?

Upcoming festivals

Join us for our annual Herb and Flower Festival from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 18 at the grounds of Cornell Cooperation Extension and Parker F. Scripture Gardens at 121 Second St. in Oriskany, NY. For more information, visit and click on the Herb & Flower Festival image, or call 315-736-3394, (Dial “1” when you hear the recording, then press x100.)

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