Violas are beautiful perennials that can add a nice pop of color to the garden. While most start out flourishing, many gardeners see them die off unexpectedly.
Your violas are dying because they are exposed to excessive heat. These flowers prefer to grow in temperatures between 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. But when the temperature goes beyond you need to provide them with shade.
There can be other reasons your violas are dying and you need to understand the root cause before you can fix the problem. Let’s figure out what’s going on with your plants and flowers.
Violas are sun-loving perennials that enjoy basking in the light. These flowers do best with six to eight hours of sun exposure every day. But unfortunately, they’re not too keen on the heat that comes with it.
The plant’s sensitivity to heat changes the way gardeners approach the growing season.
Technically speaking, Violas are perennials. They’re fully capable of coming back year after year in the right conditions. But, the flowers are so sensitive to heat that most die out during the summer. As a result, most gardeners treat them as annuals.
The blushing flowers thrive in milder temperatures. They’re pretty accommodating, flourishing in temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
But once the summer hits, you’ll need to take some extra precautions to keep these flowers in good shape.
Addressing excessive heat is a little tricky. Sun exposure is still a must. The key is to manage how much the plant gets.
The best course of action is to provide sun exposure early in the day. The sun is still climbing the horizon. It’s bright, but the temperature hasn’t reached its peak yet. Around noon, give the Viola some shade.
Use your location to your advantage and plant it near a tree or fence that will cast a shadow in the afternoon.
Alternatively, you can keep the Viola plant in a container and bring it into some shade. The lack of direct sunshine will cool the plant down to much safer levels.
Too Much Water
On average, Violas only need watering once or twice a week. The plants enjoy moist soil, but they can easily accommodate a light drought here and there.
Believe it or not, overwatering can cause some major health issues with Violas. It leads to an issue called Edema, or Oedema.
This is a unique stress-related condition that prevents the plant from taking up nutrients as it normally would.
It occurs when the Viola takes up more water than it can use. The water pressure within the plant’s cells builds up, eventually bursting. You may see the aftermath of the bursting as blisters on the leaves.
The condition stops the plant from taking up any more water or nutrients. Eventually, it just dies of malnutrition. Even if you continue to water it, the Viola won’t accept the hydration.
The first thing you should do is scale back on watering. Allow the soil to dry a few inches below the surface before you water again. Depending on your climate, that may mean watering only once or twice a week.
If you’re lucky, you can catch edema before it causes any major problems. Allow the soil to dry and remove any standing water. Then, put the plant in a cool place with plenty of air circulation.
Aim to water your plants early in the morning. Roots tend to absorb water quicker in the morning, which may help combat standing water.
Not Enough Water
Violas can tolerate a bit of dryness. However, there is a limit. These plants should not go more than a week without taking a drink.
Otherwise, the cells will start to shrivel up, resulting in a wilted plant that’s thirsting for some hydration.
The obvious answer here is to give your plant a sip. Keep an eye on the soil moisture, checking it with your finger daily to determine when it’s time to hydrate the plant.
When the soil is dry a couple of inches deep, your plants can use watering. Hydrate the plant slowly and allow the water to soak deep into the soil.
If the plant is in a container, keep watering until the excess moisture drains out the pot’s bottom. For garden plants, water for about two minutes or until you see standing water.
Inadequate Sun Exposure
Viola plants require a lot of sun exposure early on to reach their full potential. They use the sun’s energy to produce those gorgeous blooms.
Adequate sun exposure is crucial throughout the plant’s life. But as I covered earlier, there’s a fine balance between providing enough light and too much heat.
Some gardeners have a heavy hand with the shade as they attempt to decrease the effects of heat. While admirable, you have to give Viola the sun it needs. This is especially true in the spring before the flowers start appearing.
No matter what you do in the summer to keep the plant alive, it’s important to give it as much sun exposure as possible when its foliage is developing and flourishing. At this stage, the plant gathers energy to produce bulbs and support itself throughout the rest of the growing season.
To manage the heat without sacrificing sun exposure, try planting the flower near a tree. When sun exposure is crucial in the spring, the tree won’t be fully leafed out just yet.
Thus, the sun can penetrate through the branches and reach your plant all day long. But when temperatures rise and the tree fills out, it’ll shield the Violas for protection moving forward.
Too Little or Too Much Fertilizer
Providing just the right amount of fertilizer is no easy task with Violas. Like other blooming plants, Violas need nutrient-rich soil amended with fertilizer to flourish truly.
Some plants can manage without fertilizer. But if you want a colorful plant with abundant blooms, fertilizer is a must.
But of course, you can overdo things.
Too much fertilizer will trigger unbalanced growth in Violas. The excess nitrogen forces the plant to produce more leaves. As a result, it has little energy to devote to blooming.
Not only that, but over-fertilizing can lead to some severe damage. Fertilizer burn is a genuine issue that can make your flowers look wilted and dead.
So, how much fertilizer is right for Violas? Generally, all you need is a light dose of organic fertilizer once a month. That’s it.
Organic fertilizers are light enough to avoid major burn issues. However, they provide the kick of all-natural nutrients your plant needs to reach its full potential.
If you plan on going the synthetic route, your plant will need even fewer fertilizer treatments. Standard water-soluble formulas are quite powerful and can provide long-term effects for the plant.
So, the best course of action is to provide a single treatment once in the spring before the blooms appear. You can also feed the plant again in the late summer if you want another fall blooming period.
Sometimes, the culprit is the growing medium you’re using. Violas are hardy and can develop in most soils. But, the plant will only go so far if the soil doesn’t meet their exact needs. Some plants will die off once they reach a certain point because the soil can’t support them anymore.
These flowers require well-draining soil that’s filled with organic nutrients. Nutrient-rich soil can do a lot of heavy lifting to establish the plant. Not only that, but it can decrease its fertilizer needs in the future.
Another important factor is acidity. Violas prefer a pH balance somewhere between 5.5 and 6.0.
Take your time to prepare the soil before planting. Utilize a nice loamy base and infuse it with some organic compost. The nutrients in the compost will integrate well while also improving the texture of the loam.
Next, add some peat moss. Peat moss will naturally decrease the pH level over time. Work it into your soil a few months before you plant and test the pH balance to ensure things are just right.
Pests love to attack Violas. The vibrant flowers produce a sweet aroma that naturally attracts insects. Some bugs, such as butterflies and bees, are beneficial. But others can wreak havoc on the plant’s structure.
The most common pest to plague Viola plants is aphids. The soft-bodied insects will burrow holes in the leaves and stems, sucking the plant dry. They produce quickly, making them quite difficult to take care of.
The same goes for slugs and snails, which attack Violas in the dead of night.
There are many ways to kill aphids. You can use a simple solution of soapy water for a quick fix. Neem oil and natural pesticides work, too.
Some gardeners like to introduce natural aphid predators like ladybugs and lacewings into the mix.
Generally, a balance of techniques will help manage aphid populations and avoid life-ending damage to your plant. For all other pests, try using natural pesticides and hand-picking.
Violas can fall prey to a few different diseases as well. Most are fungi-related.
For example, Anthracnose is a fungus-caused disease that turns the leaves brown and brittle. Meanwhile, Blight results in white-like fungal spores developing on the leaves and stems.
Root rot can cause trouble, too. It attacks the base of the plant and can quickly spread throughout the plant.
To prevent the spread of disease in the first place, pay close attention to how you water your Violas.
Many fungus-caused diseases only appear when there’s standing water on or nearby the plant. You may have moist debris around the base that quickly rots and encourages spore growth. Or, it may be a lack of circulation that’s to blame.
Fungi will develop quickly in damp and humid environments. Let the plant breathe and dry out to prevent problems from taking hold.
If you’re already dealing with disease, try using some fungicide and disease treatments. Sick plants will need coddling, so watch them closely and address changes as they come until its back to good health.