Flowers

Pyrenean Violet (Viola cornuta)

La Viola cornuta is a beautiful plant, especially in the fall when their flowers bloom. She is a first cousin of Viola x wittrockiana, which is much better known by the name of pansy, but although both are quite similar, our protagonist has a more compact appearance and a more abundant flowering.

The care it requires is not complicated at all ; in fact, you can grow it both in pots and in the garden in hot climates and also in temperate ones.

Origin and characteristics of the Viola cornuta

Image – Wikimedia/ Isidre Blanc

It is a perennial herbaceous plant endemic to the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains, in Spain. It is popularly known as the Pyrenean violet, and we find it in grasslands, rocks and pastures, and can reach a maximum height of 30 centimeters. The leaves are oval, sharp, petiolate, and hairy on the underside.

It blooms towards autumn (November-December in the northern hemisphere), and its 20 to 40mm flowers are composed of narrow purple or lilac petals, which measure 19 to 15mm, and are fragrant.

It is a species that is included in the red list of plants in danger of Andorra according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which you can consult here.

What are their cares?

If you want to have a copy of Viola cornuta, we recommend that you provide the following care:

Location

It is a plant that has to be outdoors, if possible in an area where it gets direct sunlight throughout the day. In case you don’t have any such area, you can grow it in semi-shade without problem as long as it receives more light than shade.

Earth

  • Flowerpot: universal substrate ‘of a lifetime’ . If you want you can mix it with 20-30% perlite, arlite or similar to improve drainage, but it is not necessary.
  • Garden: grows in soils with good drainage, loose, and with neutral or alkaline pH.

Irrigation

Image – Wikimedia/ Espirat

Moderate to frequent. During the summer season it will be necessary to water frequently, an average of 3-4 times a week, but the rest of the year it will be enough to water an average of 1-2 times a week depending on the weather and the rainfall (the warmer and dry, the more often the waterings will have to be).

Make sure to only moisten the substrate or soil, never the leaves or flowers, and that it is also well soaked.

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From the beginning of spring to the end of autumn, it is advisable to fertilize every 10 or 15 days with an organic fertilizer, such as guano (on sale here ) or an algae fertilizer (on sale here ), or if you prefer universal compost ( for sale here ).

In any case, it is important to follow the directions specified on the product packaging to minimize the risk of an overdose.

Multiplication

The Viola cornuta is multiplied by seeds in spring or summer, following this step by step:

  1. The first thing to do is put them in a glass of water for a few minutes to see which ones sink (which will be the ones that interest you) and which ones don’t.
  2. After that time, a seedbed (seedling tray, flowerpot,…) must be filled with seedbed substrate and water.
  3. Afterwards, the seeds are placed on the surface, ensuring that they are separated.
  4. They are then covered with a thin layer of substrate.
  5. Finally, the seedbed is watered and placed outside, in full sun if it is spring, or in semi-shade if it is summer.

Keeping the substrate moist they will germinate in a short time, about ten days.

Pruning

It does not need much pruning, you just have to cut off the withered flowers and the leaves that you see are dry, diseased or weak. Do it with scissors – they can be children’s, or sewing – previously disinfected with pharmacy alcohol, a few drops of dishwasher or with a wet wipe.

He thinks that disinfecting the tool, in this case the scissors, before pruning is essential to prevent viruses, fungi and/ or bacteria from damaging the plant.

Planting or transplanting time

The ideal time to plant it in the ground or transplant it is in spring, when the risk of frost has passed. But if you’ve gotten it from seed, move it to a larger pot as soon as you see roots grow out of the drainage holes or when it has reached a height of about two to four inches.

Pests

Image – Wikimedia/ Accord H. Brisse

It is very resistant, but it can be affected by aphids and caterpillars. In any case, you should not worry too much because they can be treated and even prevented with diatomaceous earth. This is a natural insecticide made up of fossilized microscopic algae that contains silica, which is what glass is made of.

It is a very, very light white powder that, as soon as it comes into contact with the insect, what it does is pierce its body so that it ends up dying of dehydration. From my own experience I will tell you that it is one of the best natural products that we can use to keep our plants protected. It is even great for removing fleas and ticks.

The dose is about 35g per liter of water, and you can buy it from here.

Diseases

They are not common, but when overwatered or when the leaves get wet you can get alternariosis or cercospora, two fungal diseases that cause dark colored spots on the leaves and are treated with copper-based fungicides.

Related article:Alternariosis

Rusticity

Resists up to -7ºC.

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