Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Heath Dog Violet
Viola canina

Family: Violaceae (vy-oh-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Viola (vy-OH-la) (Info)
Species: canina (kay-NEE-nuh) (Info)

Alpines and Rock Gardens

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Baa
Thumbnail #1 of Viola canina by Baa

By trilian15
Thumbnail #2 of Viola canina by trilian15

By trilian15
Thumbnail #3 of Viola canina by trilian15


2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive anelson77 On May 26, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

volunteers here and there as ground cover, but doesn't interfere with other plants.

Positive ViolaMike On Feb 1, 2003, ViolaMike from Polis
Cyprus wrote:

Unlike many similar-looking violets, V. canina is quite happy growing in sand (acid or alkaline) and in full sun; in some localities it grows in sand dunes by the sea. The greenish-yellow spur is one of its most useful distinguishing characters, though until you have seen V. riviniana, whose spur ranges from white to purplish to creamy, you might not be sure about the distinction. it can also be distinguished from Vv. riviniana and reichenbachiana and rupestris by its seeds - which are almost black (the others are mid-brown). The flower colour is also much bluer than the other species, which tend to be more purplish or greyish.
It sometimes grows with V. lactea, from which it is less easily distinguished, and with V. riviniana - and it hybridizes with both of those, though not that readily.

Neutral Baa On Aug 30, 2001, Baa wrote:

Small European native with smooth heart shaped, toothed leaves and small flowers which range from blue to white, bearing small purple whiskers on the lower petals. The lower petals bear a greenish spur.

Spreads happily by seed in wood/heath gardens and flowers April - June. Although a perennial it can also be a reoccurring annual.

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