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What is a Bush Violet?

By Pamela Pleasant
Updated May 16, 2024
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A bush violet, or browallia speciosa, is a flowering plant. It is an annual and it can grow to reach a 30 centimeters (about a foot) in height. This plant can be used as a hanging potted plant or it can be added to a perennial flower garden to fill in any empty spaces. When it is placed next to trees or a trellis, it has a tendency to attach itself and grow upward. The bush violet is hardy enough to withstand cooler temperatures.

In the middle of summer this plant produces colorful blooms. They are surrounded by oval leaves with deep, thick veining. These blooms can come in an array of colors that range from milky white to a burgundy or purple shade. Each bush violet flower has five petals that are attached to form a star shape. There is an indent in the center of the flower, which is often highlighted in a lighter shade.

The bush violet originated in Africa where it is used as an herbal medicinal plant. Only the roots are used and they are dried and ground into a fine powder. It is used as a cure-all drug and it is thought to help with all sorts of diseases and conditions as well as impotence in males. This plant can also be used as a form of spiritual protection and it is thought to help with certain curses or spells. Bush violet flowers and leaves can be cooked and added to certain foods.

This plant requires at least six hours of sunlight a day to remain healthy. It can also benefit from a bloom-boosting fertilizer. Excess water can damage the roots, so it should be planted on a slight hill to allow water to drain away from the roots. Extreme weather or windy conditions can cause the fragile stems to break or snap. The violet bush should be placed in an area protected from wind.

When planting a bush violet, it should be kept away from other plants. If these plants are smaller than the violet, it can steal essential sunlight, water, and nutrients from them. The bush violet can also spread out when it grows and this makes it a bit invasive. It can quickly turn into a thick ground cover and take over neighboring plants. This can be avoided by planting it three feet (about 90 cm) away from other plants or trees.

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