Violas will self-seed each year if you leave the flowers on long enough to form the seeds and dry off. Allowing the seeds to drop onto the soil at the end of the season they will sit dormant until Fall when they will sprout if watered well and are not covered with mulch.
How to get your Violas to self-seed each year
Planting out Violas in Fall will give you flowers in a few weeks. They will grow up to 10 inches wide and be a big, beautiful plant by the end of Winter.
The plant will be full of flowers which will start to close over and go to seed. You simply need to let the flowers stay on the plant, be pollinated by bees and they will set seed.
Seeds look like mustard seeds, small brown seeds which go hard and will drop down onto the soil. These seeds will sit in the soil, dormant ready to sprout up in the Fall.
The top success tips to get your Viols to self-seed
Here are the best ways to get your Violas to self seed for endless flowers.
Leave the flowers on at the end of winter
Stop trimming off old flower heads at the end of Winter. While you want to trim the flower head off during Fall and Winter to keep the plant producing flowers stop trimming them at the end of Winter. Bees will pollinate the flower heads, the flowers will close up and the seed pod will begin to form.
Brown, hard seed pods will form ready to drop the seeds on the ground. Let them drop or collect them in a brown paper bag.
Water the soil well in Fall
When seeds are allowed to drop on the soil they will stay there until the Fall. Water the soil well in Fall to help the seeds to sprout. The soil will need to be kept damp so they sprout. Tiny seeds will send tiny sprouts through the soil when the weather cools and the soil is kept damp.
Keep the area free of mulch
Another key to successfully sprouting seeds from Violas from the year before is to keep the soil free of mulch. Bark mulch will stop the seeds from sprouting if they are left on the soil. A very thin layer of straw will be fine but bark mulch is thick and heavy which will stop the seeds from growing through.
Collecting the seeds off the plant is an easier way to sprout the seeds because you can then plant them out into seed trays. You can use seed raising mix and keep them well watered easier.
The seedlings can then be planted out when you are ready in small patches of cleared mulch in your yard.
Do not pull them out
This might sound like a funny step but many people will lose their next seasons Viola seedlings because they accidentally pull them out thinking they are weeds.
Collecting Viola seeds for the next year
Another method to saving Viola seeds for the next year is to allow the seeds to form on the plant. Simply snip them off once the seeds have formed and the flower starts to look dry. Place these in a brown paper bag to dry completely.
Shake the bag and the seeds will fall off into the bag. The seeds can stay there until you are ready to plant again in Fall. The seeds can be sifted to separate them from the seed pods but it is not necessary. The seeds can be moved to a dry clean jar. Keep them on a dark shelf and they will be ready to plant out.
Violas self-seeding in pots
The easiest way to allow violas to self-seed is to plant them into pots and let them drop their seeds directly onto the soil. The soil in pots does not need to be covered in mulch because it should not contain weed seeds. This will allow the seeds to get the sunlight and water they need to re-sprout.
If you can leave the pot empty over the Summer the pots will spring back to life with Violas in Fall. If you plant other plants into the pot there is a chance that you will lose the seeds before the next season.
Do Violas come back year after year?
Violas will grow back every year if you allow the seeds to form at the end of the Winter season and drop onto the soil. If the soil is watered well in Fall they will grow again year after year.
You will get violas year after year if you allow the seeds to drop on the ground at the end of the season and grow again.
Johnny Jump Up are a type of Viola which will grow the easiest. These are a purple and yellow flower which grows well and is a great variety to start with.
Do Violas self-seed? | Summary
Violas will self-seed if you let the flowers stay on the plant. At the end of Fall the seeds will form and will drop onto the soil. They will stay dormant in the soil until they get regular water in Fall. They will sprout and form a plant that may look like the original plant or a hybrid of the viola species in your garden.
I have planted a mix of Viola colors in my garden this year and I will be collecting seeds in a brown paper bag at the end of the season.
I prefer to collect the seeds this way for my violas because I like to keep a thick layer of mulch on the soil which will prevent the seeds from growing.
It is inevitable that some seeds will still fall on the ground and may grow the next year. Both methods work well so give each a go to see what you prefer.
Viola seeds are low cost and you can buy hundreds for only a few dollars. Start with Johnny Jump Up for an easy to grow variety that is great for growing with kids.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.