Violas are just great, aren’t they? These self-seeding annual flowers bloom beautifully in the Summer and sometimes (if we are lucky) even rebloom again during Autumn! Hence, their small, vibrant petals bring vibrance to our gardens for a considerable portion of the year, and we love them for it!
Better yet, they bring color to our plates too! Violas are fit for human consumption and are often used as a garnish.
But, unfortunately, it’s not just humans who eat them.
Viola flowers are the beloved prey of several animals and bugs. But which ones exactly? Let’s find out, shall we?
So, what is eating my viola flowers? Viola flowers are often eaten by various animals, including rabbits, squirrels, and deer. Insects such as aphids, slugs, and spider mites commonly consume them too.
We’ve explored each of these pests in more depth below, as well as how to deter them from your violas moving forward.
So, read on to learn more.
What Is Eating My Viola Flowers?
Deer love sweet food, and viola flowers have a subtle sweet taste. Hence, they’ll happily devour them.
In the first instance, they’ll go for the flower heads, but they’ll soon move on to the rest of the plant.
Deer do their most damage during Autumn.
When most other flowers have dried up, it’s at this point that violas often rebloom and stand strong. Until they’re eaten, that is.
As soon as a rabbit so much as smells a viola, it’s pretty much guaranteed to hop on over.
Rabbits are heavily drawn to their sweet smell, and from the flowers to the leaves to the stem, they will eat the entire plant without hesitation.
In fact, for rabbits, violas are on par with pansies.
They’re a delicacy, and they just can’t get enough of them!
Squirrels are omnivores and notorious ones at that.
They eat most things that they come across, and unfortunately, violas are no exception.
They’ll either eat them as soon as they encounter them or stash them away for the colder months to come.
They may also dig up the plant’s roots, albeit unintentionally, in a search for hiding places to stash their winter fuel.
Essentially, in the presence of squirrels, your beloved violas are certainly not safe.
Aphids are prime garden pests.
They suck the sap out of plants, reducing the plant’s nutrients and, in turn, depleting its energy.
They pose the most threat when they are present in abundance, which tends to be the case given the swift rate at which they reproduce.
Side effects of an aphid infestation include discolored leaves and a generally wilted plant, and the more severe attacks can be fatal.
Spider mites work in the same way as aphids. They’re sap suckers.
Only, they’re so small that they can’t be seen with the naked eye. Instead, you’ll usually only come to realize that they’re residing on your violas by the state of your violas themselves.
Their otherwise unexplained ill health will be apparent in their overall aesthetic.
Slugs may have a reputation for their slow nature, but when it comes to devouring viola plants, they’re shockingly speedy.
When it’s dark out, these nocturnal creatures will come out in full force and eat every part of your violas, paying special attention to their soft flowers.
Worst of all, they unashamedly leave behind evidence of their presence in the form of slimy trails.
How Do I Stop My Violas From Being Eaten?
Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. Your violas are perfectly capable of thriving.
But first, you’ll need to keep them safe from predatory pests. Read on to find out how!
You can successfully remove both aphids and mites from your viola plants through the use of water.
A powerful water stream directly from your hose pipe is all that you need to do so.
The little pests will fall right off. It’s an extremely effective solution and, of course, one that is best when actioned as soon as you suspect an invasion.
As mentioned previously, aphids reproduce quickly, and the more aphids you have, the more damaged your viola will wind up.
With Slug Pellets
Pellets are a fairly hands-off way to get rid of slugs.
Simply scatter a few around your violas, and leave them be. The pellets contain both attractants and poison.
The attractant will draw the slugs to them, and they’ll begin munching on them. Then, the poison will kill them.
However, pellets are a pretty risky business. Their poisonous nature is non-discriminatory and threatens not just the slugs but any insect, animal, and even human that encounters them too.
Many gardeners opt against using them for this reason, so before you proceed, it’s worth giving some thought to the environmental risks.
Instead of slug pellets, why not use your hands?
This approach is a tad more labor-intensive, but all in all, it’s straightforward enough.
Simply don a pair of gloves and pick the slugs right off your violas. Drop them into a bucket of soapy water to be sure that they won’t return.
What better way to get something done than to do it yourself?!
It’s worth noting that you’ll need to carry out this operation in the evening.
Slugs are nocturnal, and you won’t come across them until it’s dark outside.
With Scent Deterrents
A popular solution amongst gardeners, scent deterrents are both effective and environmentally friendly.
Many animals and insects have certain smells that they dislike. Arming your garden with these smells, particularly in the vicinity of your violas, will repel them from the area, thus keeping your plants safe.
For deer, cayenne pepper works a treat, whilst insects tend to be repelled by both citrus and lavender aromas. It’s worth investing in a spray or two!
Another option is to purchase insecticides.
These are available in most garden stores and can offer prevention as well as intervention.
However, much like slug pellets, many insecticides are toxic in nature, so you’ll want to take extra care if you have children or pets running around outside.
With Neem Oil
Neem oil is a product derived from the medicinal neem tree.
Hence, it’s a natural solution by which you can kill all sorts of insects and salvage your violas.
The idea is to apply it all over the plant. The insects won’t suspect a thing, only to crawl directly into it and shortly begin to suffocate.
How Do I Get My Violas To Flower Again?
Violas may look delicate, but they’re from it. In fact, they’re extremely resilient in nature and can usually be relied on to return to your garden year after year like clockwork.
However, as with any plant, when a viola finds itself subject to a severe bout of damage, it may find it difficult to recover well and continue thriving.
Fortunately, with the right care, there is hope!
Ensure Pests Are Removed
First, you’ll want to make sure your viola is free from pests.
Use neem oil, scent deterrents, and the other solutions mentioned above to ward unwanted animals and insects off.
The methods don’t require much time or effort and are well worth undertaking.
Optimize Growing Conditions
Next, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got the growing conditions for your violas right.
They are best in substantial sunlight coupled with a little shade during Spring, with a need for more shade when the Summer heat becomes more extreme.
Plus, it’s important to keep their soil moist. Nutrient-rich soil is best, and I recommend enlisting a slow-release fertilizer to help you out.
Deadhead Your Violas
Finally, violas require deadheading on a weekly basis or so. This will allow you to remove older, tired flowers, and make way for new healthy ones!
The truth is, looking after violas couldn’t be easier. With these tips in mind, I an sure that yours will live a healthy life.
Related guides you may want to check out: