Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Woolly Blue Violet, Sister Violet
Viola sororia

Family: Violaceae (vy-oh-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Viola (vy-OH-la) (Info)
Species: sororia (so-ROR-ee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Viola papilionacea

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

27 members have or want this plant for trade.


Unknown - Tell us

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full 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
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 21 photos.
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9 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive plant_it On Jun 6, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

A native perennial plant. The flowers are about " across, and consist of 5 rounded petals. There are 2 upper petals, 2 lateral petals with white hairs (or beards) near the throat of the flower, and a lower petal that functions as a landing pad for visiting insects. The flowers of this form of Viola sororia are medium to dark violet. The inner throat of each flower is more or less white, from which slightly darker veins radiate outward along the petals (particularly the lower one). There is no noticeable floral scent. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring, and lasts about 1-1 months.

Positive tabasco On May 28, 2012, tabasco from Cincinnati (Anderson Twp), OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Viola sororia and several other violets serve as host plants for the Fritillary butterflies in our region.

If you want these beautiful fritillaries floating through your property beg, borrow, or steal a few of these little beauties and start a patch in your shady garden.

Of course many lawn lovers hate the little common violet so they are often happy to part with your booty!

Positive Erutuon On Apr 26, 2011, Erutuon from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

These violets are somewhat invasive. Their rhizomes rapidly grow and branch, and they produce many seeds, even in summer from tiny closed (cleistogamous) flowers under the leaves. But rhizomes are usually near the surface and fairly easy to dig or chop out, so they can be controlled.

And the flowers are pleasant in spring. It's nice to have at least some of them. I would prefer a species that has smaller leaves in summer, so that I can grow something else in the same location while it's not in bloom, but I'll have to make do with what I've got.

Positive EffieH On Apr 26, 2010, EffieH from Amston, CT (Zone 6b) wrote:

I love violets -- I started out with purple ones in my lawn, then some white ones appeared, and now I have patch of hybrid ones that are white with purple hearts -- I have moved some into my flower beds, and they are extremely well behaved there, they do spread but extremely slowly and are easy to control -- it's almost like they are so grateful to be there that they behave themselves! They also grow in places that are hard to mow, and keep out other weeds, so my husband loves them and encourages them grow along our rock wall so he doesn't have to weedwhack there . . . and even when they are not blooming they have beautiful foliage -- what's not to love about them??

Years ago my mother-in-law lived on the edge of a woodland and she moved wild violets from the woods into her lawn and they grew twice the size of the violets I have in my garden -- the leaves were huge and they formed clumps almost the size of hostas -- I'm wondering if those were a different type of wild violet? Is anyone familiar with those?

Neutral CaptMicha On Apr 9, 2010, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I admit that this plant is pretty and has benefits like providing a source of food to many animals, including as a host plant to species of caterpillars, but I do find it annoying how it pops up everywhere, especially in my flower beds. You can't just pull it up because it has tuberous like roots that stubbornly anchor it to the ground, you need to pry it up and this becomes tiresome with all the many, many plants that pop up everywhere.

Positive Zone6aPA On May 4, 2009, Zone6aPA from Central, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

These are common in town, meadows, and woodlands in my area. I transplanted quite a few purple flowering violets from a field and into my flower bed many years ago and they've spread slowly but surely. They've been showing up in the lawn somehow, which I love, but I no longer enjoy them in my flower bed, so I've been digging them out and moving them into the lawn. In my flower bed they seem a bit too "casual" or "common" - like a somewhat attractive weed. In the lawn, however, they add some character (more "meadow" and less "golf course"). They are shorter than the height we mow so they look just beautiful dotting the green grass. This year I spotted a few white ones in the lawn as well.

Positive GreeneLady On Mar 31, 2009, GreeneLady from Oak Island, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I absolutely love these flowers. The dainty little blooms are early bloomers and look great around spring bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. According to the USDA, these flowers are considered a noxious weed in the eastern half of the United States. . However, they fill in the bare spots of the garden so nicely! After the blooms fade, the heart shaped leaves stay bright and robust. I have found that violets will flourish in full sun, provided they have daily moisture.

Neutral Gabrielle On May 28, 2008, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Blooms mid April to mid May in my yard ... a wild flower.

Positive IrisLover79 On Aug 15, 2006, IrisLover79 from Westchester, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I love violets. They blanket the ground in the forest preserve and also grow wild behind my house. I took several from behind my house and planted them in my tree box. They spread, but they are controllable. Where my mom has removed them, they haven't come back. They like a lot of shade. Mine seem to like a bit more water than average, also.

Positive PurplePansies On Oct 6, 2004, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Viola sororia is a beautiful native..... New jersey's state flower..... Purple flowers atop attractive heart shaped foliage..... very cut and endearing look overall....... evergreen or partially evergreen in some zones..... easy to grow.... considered a weed by some...... makes a good ground cover and general garden plant where pretty blossoms., shade tolerance, US nativity, short stature and larvae for butterflies are desired...... like many native violas provides forage for native butterflies (their larvae)...... Hates to really dry out and be in fulll sun....... :)

Positive plantguru On May 15, 2002, plantguru wrote:

Great ground cover in deep shaded areas. Blossom is edible with a slight peppery flavor, decorative on early summer dishes.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Huntington, Arkansas
Malvern, Arkansas
Magalia, California
Amston, Connecticut
Clearwater, Florida
Deland, Florida
Harlem, Georgia
Newnan, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Valdosta, Georgia
Westchester, Illinois
Valparaiso, Indiana
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Brookeville, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Laurel, Maryland
Linthicum Heights, Maryland
Pinconning, Michigan
Saginaw, Michigan
Warren, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cole Camp, Missouri
Tilton, New Hampshire
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Vincentown, New Jersey
Yorktown Heights, New York
Henderson, North Carolina
Louisburg, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Hamilton, Ohio
Lewis Center, Ohio
Massillon, Ohio
Norman, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Clarksville, Tennessee
Crossville, Tennessee
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
North Richland Hills, Texas
Herndon, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Black Earth, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mukwonago, Wisconsin
Onalaska, Wisconsin
Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin

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