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How to Grow Johnny Jump Up Flowers ~ Plant Care Guide

Perennial, Viola Tricolor

Johnny Jump Ups are a popular viola. They are called “old fashioned” favorites. These perennials are often grown as an annual, especially in northern parts of the country.

Johnny Jump Ups are native to Spain and the Pyrennes Mountains. Easy to grow, you may find them growing in the wild in fields, and along the road.

Small plants produce a wealth of dainty, fragrant blooms. Johnny Jump Up blooms are a combination of bright yellow and deep purple. They bloom early in the season.

Johnny Jump Up  plants are popular, easy, and fun to grow. Fill an area or entire bed with Johnny Jump Up for a striking effect! They also are great in windowsills and containers.

Johnny Jump Ups are grown from seeds. They like full to partial sun. Johnny Jump Up can be directly seeded into your flower garden or seeded indoors for transplanting later. For spring blooms, you need to start your Johnny Jump Up in pots and containers indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost.

Sow Johnny Jump Up seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/8″ soil. Water thoroughly once. They germinate slowly. We recommend using a heated germination mat.

Transplant Johnny Jump Up into your garden after the last frost date for your area. Space them 6″ apart. They will tolerate a little crowding. If you are creating a flower bed, you may want to create a pattern or color scheme prior to planting. Or, use mixed varieties.

How to Grow Johnny Jump Up:
Johnny Jump Up prefer cool to warm climates, and wilt a bit in mid-summer heat. In warmer areas, we recommend partial shade. They tolerate a variety of soils. Add a general purpose fertilizer when planting them, then once a month after that.

Once your Johnny Jump Up are established, they should grow well, even if left unattended. Soil should be moist, but not wet. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. Keep them well weeded.

Remove/dead head spent blooms to promote additional blooms and extend the blooming period. This will also keep the appearance neat and beautiful.

Johnny Jump Up seldom have problems with insects and disease. If insect or disease problems occur, treat early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicide.


Edible Landscaping


Sweet violets, violas, and pansies are annual or perennial flowers that are mostly grown for their beauty. The flowers and leaves are edible and can be used in a variety of dishes — not just for a garnish or to top a salad. Sweet violets (Viola odorata) can be candied or used in violet tea, violet cake, and violet syrup. While commonly added to salads, you can also use violet flowers to make vinegars, butters, spreads, and jellies. Sweet violet flowers are as beautiful as they are edible. Their white, pink, blue, or lavender blooms have a sweeter, more perfumed taste than the more colorful blooms of annual violas and pansies. Sweet violet leaves are slightly tart.


Sweet violets and annual violas and pansies grow best in cool weather. Sweet violet is a clumping perennial that is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9 and blooms in early spring. It spreads readily and grows best in partly shaded areas. Annual violas and pansies bloom throughout the growing season as long as the temperature stays cool. All are among the earliest flowers to bloom in spring in cold climates and will bloom throughout the winter in milder climates (USDA zone 7 and warmer), such as California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida. They often over winter in cold climates with snow protection or if mulched in fall. Some, such as ‘Johnny-Jump-Up’, self-sow readily, spreading throughout the garden.

Here are some varieties of sweet violets, colorful hybrid annual pansies, and violas to try in your garden.

Sweet Violet (Viola odorata) — Also known as the English violet or common violet. Most people are familiar with the wild sweet violet but you can also get named varieties of this perennial such as ‘Mars’ and ‘Queen Charlotte’. The plants grow 4 to 8 inches tall and form 1- to 2-inch-diameter leaves. Violets grow best in slight shade and can easily become a weed in lawns or when grown under shrubs and trees.

‘Johnny Jump Up’ viola (Viola tricolor) — This widely grown viola features smaller, but more abundant flowers than pansies, and is more heat tolerant. The traditional ‘Johnny Jump Up’ has purple, lavender, and yellow flowers, but newer varieties feature apricot and red blooms, as well.

‘Majestic Giant’ pansy (Viola wittrockiana) — This hybrid pansy series features large, 3- to 4-inch-diameter flowers in a variety of colors that bloom two weeks earlier than other pansies.

‘Padparadja’ pansy (Viola wittrockiana) — This is a rare, brilliant orange pansy that can tolerate heat.

‘Skippy XL Plum-Gold’ viola (Viola cornuta) — This new, award-winning viola features flowers with a unique color combination. Plants have excellent heat tolerance.

‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ pansy (Viola hybrida) — These flowers open white, gradually turn light blue, then darken. Plants bloom early and uniformly, and tolerate both heat and cold.


Violets grow best in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil high in organic matter. They thrive in the sun while the weather is cool and in part shade as the weather warms. Amend the soil with a 1/2-inch-thick layer of compost before planting.


Pansies are known for their large flowers and ability to grow almost anywhere — even in the snow!

Showcase violets in the vegetable garden, flower garden, or let the perennial violet naturalize under trees and in wooded areas. Violets are easiest planted as transplants since the seeds are small and take many weeks to grow into a transplantable size. Plant perennial or annual violet seedlings in spring a few weeks before your last frost date. Plant annual violas again in fall for autumn color and to over winter in mild winter areas.

If you want to plant seeds, sow them 8 to 12 weeks before transplanting. Keep the soil and air temperatures cool (60°F) for best germination and growth.


Violets have few pest and disease problems. In wet areas slugs may feast on the leaves and flowers. Spread slug bait, such as iron-phosphate, or protect plants in pots by wrapping the container lip with copper strips to prevent damage. If aphids attack new growth, spray plants with insecticidal soap.

Fertilize in spring and again in fall with an all-purpose product to stimulate lush growth and plentiful flowers. Cut back violas and pansies in early summer when warm weather causes the flowers to fade and plants to struggle. Often, when cool fall weather arrives, the plants will perk up and bloom again. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blooms.

jju22‘Johnny-Jump-Up’ violas self-sow rapidly in gardens providing lots of colorful, tasty flowers.


Harvest freshly opened flowers in the morning when the oils are most concentrated and blooms look their best. The more you harvest, the more blooms will form. Harvest the sepals (base of the flowers) with the petals for added flavor.



3 responses

  1. Pingback: Wild Geranium and a very wild violet |Photomiser

  2. in answer to question regarding “Can You Grow Indoors?”

    not really unless you provide adequate artificial lighting or have greenhouse. if you do not have a garden they do well in containers, planters etc, try mixing with some other yellows or reds and maybe lobelia, make a pretty container arrangement. keep dead headed and will bloom all season.

    May 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm

  3. Pingback: Wild Geranium and a very wild violet | The Miserly Photographer

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