Bush violet is an old fashioned plant that looks just right in my secret garden with other old fashioned plants that are right at home in a cottage garden. It lends charm and nostalgia to the scene, blooming from spring into fall unless the temperatures get high for long periods of time. Alas, it is one of those plants that looks it best in cool temperatures but grew well in Annapolis, Maryland for years. In North Carolina it can poop out in mid summer when the temperatures rise for long stretches of time. In hot climates they do best with morning sun and afternoon shade but in cool temperatures they thrive in full sun. Given rich well drained soil and plenty of water so that they do not dry out they will provide a great companion for many other plants. The blue color is nice with almost any other color in the garden and is especially pretty with lemon yellow flowers such as the French marigold ‘Lemon Gem’ or Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’. Cultivars also come in white and several shades of blue. Bush violet can stand upright in a border or cascade over the edge of a container depending on the cultivar. In fall they can be cut back and taken indoors where they will be an admirable houseplant until spring when they can be put back in the garden. I don’t see browallia plants or seeds for sale often but this is an annual well worth trying of you are lucky enough to have a source.
Type: Tender perennial usually grown as an annual.
Bloom: Five lobed, 2” diameter blue flowers with white eyes from spring to frost in cool areas; to mid summer in hot areas.
Size: 1-3’ H x 3’ W.
Light: Full sun in areas with cool summers; morning sun/afternoon partial shade in areas with high summer temperatures.
Soil: Rich, moist, well drained.
Hardiness: Zones 9-10.
Care: Pinch plants to encourage branching; cut back in fall and bring indoors for houseplant.
Pests and Diseases: No serious problems; Susceptible to aphids, leafhoppers and whiteflies.
Propagation: Seeds; cuttings.
Companion plants: Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’, daylily ‘Happy Returns’, French marigold ‘Lemon Gem’ or other lemon yellow flowers; hostas especially those that take some sun; fringed bleeding heart (Dicentra exima).
‘Blue Bells’: cascading; (white, pale blue, and deep indigo blue offered in ‘Bells’ series.)
‘Blue Troll’: upright.
‘Major’: large sapphire colored flowers