Viola glabella

Viola glabella Growing And Care Guide

Viola Glabella, or the Pioneer violet, is an attractive and large yellow pansy-like flower with leaves shaped like a heart. It is native to the northwestern US and parts of Asia and found in riparian areas and moist open forests.

What is Viola glabella?

The 4 to 8-inch flower is one of the most recognizable native ground covers in the Pacific Northwest is perennial and inhabits fairly damp woods, or the banks of forest streams, the reason it is also called the stream violet. The Viola glabella flowers are generally in April and May. These hermaphrodite species are pollinated by insects.

  • Latin name: Viola glabella
  • Other names: Smooth yellow violet, pioneer violet, stream violet.
  • Native to: Northwestern part of North America and northeastern Asia
  • Invasiveness: Generally, not invasive but it may reseed and can propagate fast.
  • Tenderness: N/A
  • Sun: Partial Sunlight, maximum 4-5 hours. Move to a shady location when summer temperatures cross 70℉
  • Water: Normal watering. Avoid waterlogging.
  • Soil: Prefers moist well-drained, nitrogen-rich soil. Grows in all sandy, loamy, and clayey souls.
  • Hardiness zone: 4-8 USDA
  • When to plant: Best grown in autumn in a cold frame.
  • Spacing: 8 to 12 inches.
  • Plant height: Grows from 2 to 12 inches (5 to 30 cm).
  • Bloom period: April to July
  • Time to maturity: Viola glabella flowers after growing for 9 to 10 months
  • Container friendly: Growing viola glabella in containers is easy.
  • Fertilizer: Best in organically rich soil with compost or well-rotted manure. A balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer is an alternative to well-rotted manure or compost.
  • Toxicity: flower buds and young leaves are edible both raw or cooked. But yellow flowers can lead to diarrhea.
  • Drought tolerant: Viola glabella is drought tolerant.
  • Deer resistant: Resistant to deer.
  • Pest resistant: Attracts mollusks such as Snails and slugs.

How To Grow Viola glabella

You first need to determine the alkalinity or acidity of the soils with a test kit before preparing a garden bed. Check soil drainage and clear out debris and weeds. Around a week after planting, add 2-4 inches of compost or aged manure and work it into the soil. This increases both drainage and water retention.


Prepare the soil before planting. Remove the plants from the packs or containers gently while retaining sufficient soil around the root ball. Plant at a depth they were inside the container. Gently pat the soil around without cutting off air to the roots. Water well.


Growing Viola glabella In Containers

Growing in containers adds a riot of color to the front yard. It also allows you to move them around whenever necessary and place them all around the house. This adds a few more weeks to the growing season, as you can protect them by bringing them in when it gets too warm or cold. And you do not have to worry about them getting trampled.


A light-colored container that will not absorb heat and is of any size and at least 4-inch deep will do. Plant one every 6-8 inches. This will give the plants ample space to mound and bloom. Or you can plant one each in a tiny, 4-inch pot.


For deeper pots, fill the bottom inch with pebbles or gravel and prevents water accumulation at the roots.


Fill either well-matured compost or potting mix with a balance of 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. The pH level should be between 5.4 and 5.8


When To Start Viola glabella Seeds

The tiny brown seeds of the Viola glabella are produced in summer. If you collect seeds from hybrid varieties or if you are growing several varieties there is a chance of some cross-pollination and the colors might change in the new blooms.  After it is pollinated and the flower petals die off, you wind up with tiny green balls that are full of seeds.


At this stage, the green pods contain non-mature seeds but once they mature the pods will open up and reveal tiny golden-colored mature seeds.


When To Plant Viola glabella

Sow seeds indoors for cooler temperatures and plant them 8-12 weeks before the average last frost date. Sow them either in permanent pots or seedling trays.

How To Collect Viola glabella Seeds

As the Viola glabella seeds have explosive capsules, the seeds will carpet the ground. seeds do not need dormancy breaking, a period of change in the seed coats, or with the embryo state itself. You should start collecting seeds from the dry, open pods that still have seeds in them.

Once the pods remain open for a couple of days, they spray the seeds all around and this is the time to collect them. So you need to keep an eye on the pods every day and watch for signs of change in color from green to brown.

You now have to scrape the seeds off the pods and dry them out for a couple of weeks before you put them away.

How To Propagate Viola glabella

The easiest method for propagating the Viola glabella is through rooted pieces of the stem. Wait until autumn or just after flowering for the division. The larger division can be planted directly into their permanent beds. Smaller divisions should remain potted and grown in light shade in a cold frame or a greenhouse till they are bigger. Wait until spring or summer next year to plant them out in the open.

Through seeds. It is best sown in autumn inside a cold frame. The stored seeds can be sown in early spring too. Place the seedling in individual containers after they are grown enough to handle. Plant them outside during the summer. Divide in autumn or after they flower. The larger the divisions can be directly planted in their permanent positions.

It is best to place small divisions in containers and grow them in cold frames or a greenhouse in the light shade till they are grown. Place them out in the summer or spring.

How to Get a Viola glabella to Bloom

By early spring buds begin to form and blooms begin to appear just as the world turns green with the first signs of spring. If you live in warmer climates, you can also directly plant the viola glabella seeds in containers outdoors or wait for the temperatures to drop consistently below 70F. the plants will gift you with blooms well into late winter and even early spring.

Some varieties of the Viola glabella will give perennial blooms all around the year while others die out after a year.

Wildlife attracted by Viola glabella

Butterflies and other pollinating insects are attracted to the Viola glabella. Does not face attacks from pests.

Common Problems

The Viola glabella does not face serious disease or pest issues. But you need to look out for snails and slugs. Try to keep the plants free from leafhoppers, aphids, and thrips. These plant-feeding insects can spread viruses. Fungi and rust are other common problems.

Snails and slugs create holes in leaves and strip the entire stems, and devour seeding. Keep your garden clean and eliminate debris, tarps, and overturned pots. Look out for eggs and destroy them in spring in shady places. Use fungicide that is suitable against rust and fungi.

Mayukh Saha
Freelance Writer
Mayukh is a Content Marketer and Social Media Manager with over 5 years of experience in the industry. Mayukh believes in the power of content; how it can positively impact lives, scale businesses and touch people. In his spare time Mayukh likes to read about latest tech trends and loves to travel in the nature. You can reach him at [email protected]