Collecting Wild Blue Violet Seeds
Wild violets may be considered a weed by many, but I like. Unfortunately, they don’t spread in my garden like I wish they would. I know many gardeners battle to eradicate them from their lawns in order to maintain a perfect carpet of grass. It’s unfortunate that wild violets don’t grow a prolifically in my grassy area like they do in my neighbor’s yard. So I collect wild violet seeds and sow them in parts of the garden I want them to grow.
Wild blue violets spread aggressively through underground rhizomes. Pulling up some of these underground roots and transplanting them will help spread them if they grow rather anemically in your garden as well. I know there are probably some gardeners who will look at this and wonder why I want wild blue violets in my garden. Well, for starters, wild blue violets are the state flower of Illinois. They also happen to be beautiful and make a fantastic ground cover that attracts many bees to the garden in early spring.
When violets are pollinated they lower the flower head to the soil surface, and months later the seed pods, now formed, start to rise up off the ground. Here is a picture of the basil grown of violets in the fall in my garden. You can see that there are seed pods in various stages of development.
If you look closely, you can see the forming seeds pressing against the walls of the seed pod in the picture on the left side. When the seeds in the pod are mature, the pod stands straight up and splits open, revealing three valves containing about two dozen seeds. As the pod dries, it constricts and sends the tiny seeds flying across your garden.
A rainy fall makes collecting wild violet seeds easy because the pods don’t dry too readily and disperse the seeds. If you want to be really meticulous about collecting violet seeds you can place a jewelry bag, coffee filter, piece of muslin cloth or even a tea bag, around the forming pods to capture the seeds when you see the pods start to stand straight up.
Unlike other seeds I collect, I don’t bring these seeds in to dry. Instead, I’ll direct sow the seeds in the garden where I want them to grow in the fall because direct sowing is the easiest and most cost effective way of starting seeds.
Collecting seeds from other members of the Viola genus, Johnny Jump Up, for example, is just as easy.