Make more from cuttings
A great way to propagate violas is to take cuttings. It also guarantees that you’ll get identical plants to the original, as most varieties won’t come true from saved seeds. Cuttings tend to be easy to root, taken either in spring from vigorous young plants or later in summer when established plants are growing back again, having been cut back and tidied up. soon as possible, clumps can be pulled apart into smaller sections, each with their own roots, and replanted straight away. For the most intense perfume, you can’t beat the so-called Parma violets, which have a fragrance just like the sweets of the same name. These cultivars are not reliably hardy though, and need to be protected under glass during winter, especially if their flowers are to remain unsullied. Among the most famous Parma violets are ‘Duchesse de Parme’, a double-flowered cultivar with exotic scent, and ‘Marie-Louise’, which is said to have the most powerful perfume. Whether it’s native violas, winter bedding pansies or old-fashioned hybrids that you want to grow, they all respond to the same treatment. A cool root run, with compost or soil that is rich in organic matter. They will benefit from an occasional feed with a balanced organic fertiliser, and constant deadheading will encourage them to keep producing their lovely cheery flowers from spring right through to early autumn.
Carol adores white Viola odorata for its sweet fragrance and edible flowers
2 Trim each cutting at the base, just below a leaf node to give a neat end. Remove the bottom leaves.
3 Nip out the growing tip to encourage sideshoots to form. Keep doing this to create bushier plants and more flowers.
1 Look for short stems, without flowers or buds, and cut with a sharp knife. They’ll lose moisture quickly, so place in a plastic bag.
4 Fill small pots with gritty compost. Make holes at the edge of the pot and pop in the cuttings up to their bottom leaves.
6 Place in a cool, sheltered spot. Re-pot into individual pots when you see new growth and roots poking out the drainage holes.
5 Cover the surface of the compost with grit. Water carefully from above to help settle the cuttings in the compost.