Bush violet thrives in a shady corner of the garden.
image by daryl_mitchell/Flickr.com
Bush violet, also known as Browallia or Amethyst Flower, is an annual shade-loving plant native to South America. The plant is low-growing and reaches a height of no more than 2 feet. The deep green foliage is a wonderful backdrop to the blue, white or violet flowers that bloom in mid- to late-summer. Bush violet is very easy to care for once established, and can even be enjoyed as a houseplant over winter.
Sow bush violet seeds indoors about 8 to 10 weeks before the final frost in your area. Fill a container or planter with moist potting soil and press the seeds into the surface of the soil. Do not cover, as the seeds need light to germinate.
Place the container at 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and watch for seedlings to emerge in 7 to 21 days. Keep the soil moist until emergence for the best results. Pinch seedlings back about one-third of their height once they reach 4 inches to promote bushy, compact growth.
Plant bush violet seedlings outdoors once all danger of frost has passed and the ground has begun to warm. Choose a planting location which receives part to full shade and has well-drained soil. Space plants at least 12 inches apart to allow room for proper growth.
Water bush violet plants immediately after planting to thoroughly moisten the soil. Continue watering once or twice per week as necessary to keep the soil evenly moist at all times. Check the top inch of soil around the plants and if it feels dry to the touch, it's time to water.
Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of bush violet plants to insulate the roots and conserve moisture. The plants need cool roots at all times in order to remain healthy. Replenish the layer of mulch as it deteriorates, or anytime the ground beneath is visible.
Allow bush violet to die back in the garden in late fall or bring it inside as a houseplant for winter. To overwinter indoors, cut the plant back to about 4 inches in height, transplant into a small or medium-sized planter and bring inside. Water once or twice per week and provide bright, indirect light for the best results.