Australian Native Violet – Plant of the Week

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Don chose a classic groundcover as this week’s Plant of the Week.

Plant details

Common name: Australian native violet

Botanic name: Viola hederacea

Description:

A creeping, evergreen perennial from eastern Australia and the Western Pacific Islands. It grows to about 10cm (4″) tall, and spreads widely by means of trailing stolons that root at the nodes. The leaves are kidney shaped and bright green in colour. The purple and white flowers appear mainly in the warmer months, however this plant is rarely without a few flowers.

Best climate: Native violet grows in most areas of Australia.

Uses:

groundcover
shady, moist areas
lawn substitute

Good points:

reliable
pretty purple and white flowers
long flowering

Downside:

It sometimes invades areas where it is not wanted, but it is easy to control if necessary.

Care:

Native violet prefers a cool, shady position. It likes a soil that is constantly moist, particularly during hot summer weather. If used instead of lawn, native violet requires an occasional trim to stop it invading garden beds.

Getting started:

Australian native violet is available from nurseries. Expect to pay around $4.30 for 75mm (3″) pots, and $9.50 for 150mm (6″) pots. Plants in small pots from the nursery can be cut up into many sections to get the ‘lawn’ started, or look for it in a friend’s garden and dig up some runners. Native violets are also often sold at fetes and plant stalls.