Native to moist woodlands in Canada, northern United States and Greenland, Labrador violet does well even in much of the South. It is a low growing herbaceous perennial and spreads by creeping rhizomes and self-seeding. The heart shaped leaves are one inch across and tinged with purple. The mauve flowers are ¾ inch wide and suffused with purple. They appear in spring and fall and sporadically all summer long in regions with cool summers. Labrador violet can be used as a ground cover, is an excellent choice for a rock garden and can also be grown in a container. This plant is thought to be the same as Viola riviniana Purpurea. It is in the violet family, Violaceae, that also includes pansies. The genus name, Viola, is the Latin name for various sweet scented plants. The specific epithet, labradorica, referfers to Labrador, one of the places where the plant is native.
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Bloom: Mauve flowers, ¾” wide, suffused with purple in spring
Size: 1-4” H x 12” W
Light: Part shade, but tolerates full sun in northern part of its range if moisture is sufficient
Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 3-8
Care: Shear back after first flowering to encourage rebloom in fall
Pests and Diseases: May be attacked by slugs
Propagation: Seed, division
Companion plants: Hosta, barrenwort (Epimedium) bleeding heart, lungwort (Pulmonaria).