Viola columnaris Skottsb.
Native to Argentina.
Viola columnaris is one of the Rosulate Violas with leaves that are arranged in a rosette and typical "Heartsease" flowers. It is an attractive perennial plant that spreads using rhizomes. Leaves change color to blend in with their backgrounds, making the rosettes difficult to detect when not in flower. The rosettes are up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) tall and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Flowers are white with violet veins and barely emerge from the rosettes in spring and early summer.
The specific epithet "columnaris" derives from a Latin word meaning "column-like" and refers to its raised rosettes.
How to Grow and Care
Rosulate Violas have a reputation for being difficult to keep alive. Cold conditions, soil that contains adequate amounts of nutrients, and as much light as possible, are essential.
Soil: They grow in relatively bare loose soils, which are often volcanic in origin.
Hardiness: Viola columnaris can tolerate temperatures as low as 0 to 50 °F (-17.8 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 7a to 11b.
Propagation: Rosulate Violas are grown only from seed and with some patience.
The main problem with these plants is etiolation, caused by a lack of light, which results in elongation of the compact rosettes. It is known that in any bunch of seedlings, some of them will quickly etiolate, while others may not. So there is some scope in selecting Rosulate Violas more likely to grow satisfactorily in cultivation.
Toxicity: Violas are nontoxic for humans and pets. Both the flowers and leaves are edible fresh, cooked, or dried.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Rosulate Violas.
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