Viola columnaris Skottsb.
Viola columnaris is one of the Rosulate Violas, which have typical "Heartsease" flowers but leaves are arranged in a rosette rather like a Sempervivum. It is a tufted, perennial plant that spreads almost horizontally on the ground by means of rhizomes. It is remarkable for its neat, tightly imbricate, tile-like rosette, taking the form of raised columns. The rosettes are up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) tall and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. The leaves show a striking similarity in color to their background rocks and the plants are difficult to detect when not in flower. The flowers, barely emerging from the rosettes, are white with violet veins and appears in spring and in early summer.
USDA hardiness zones 7a to 11b: from 0 °F (−17.8 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Many of the high Andean species are known as Rosulate Violas. They are a group of perennial Violas in which the leaves form a tight rosette, rather like Sempervivum or some of the Saxifrages. However, the flowers appear at leaf level in rings around the outside of the rosette.
Rosulate Violas have a reputation for intractability in cultivation, but it is now known that at least some species can be grown to flowering size by skilled growers.
A main problem is etiolation, elongation of the normally compact rosettes, in the poor light values of the lowland northern temperate zone. Cool conditions, a sparse but adequate diet and as much light as possible are essential. It is known that in any batch of seedlings some individuals will quickly etiolate, others may not. So there is some scope in selecting plants more likely to grow satisfactorily in cultivation.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Rosulate Violas.
Viola columnaris is native to Argentina.
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