How To Grow and Care For Colorful Johnny Jump Ups

Viola (vy-oh-LAH), nicknamed Johnny Jump-Up, is a vast and sweeping species of flowering annuals and perennials in the Violaceae (Violet) family of plants. These small, bright, pansy-like wildflowers are naturalized throughout much of the United States.

Some Viola varieties hail from Eurasia, and some are native to North America. They pop up happily in lawns, fields, and flower gardens alongside rivers, streams, railroads, and roadsides. Violas are smaller flowered than pansies and more persistent.


Other common names include, but are not limited to:

  • California Golden Violet
  • European Field Pansy
  • Miniature Pansy
  • Yellow Pansy
  • Heart’s Ease
  • Grass Pansy
  • Field Pansy
  • Wild Pansy
  • Viola

Johnny Jump Up

Johnny Jump Ups Care

Size and Growth

Depending upon the species, these plants can range in height from 3″ to 16″ inches with a similar spread.

Bright green leaves grow low to the ground on tall, slim branched stems. The rounded leaves are nearly an inch long and are irregularly scalloped.

Flowering and Fragrance

Wild Violets are among the earliest wildflowers to appear in the springtime. In a natural setting, they may tend to die back in the heat of the summer. 

They may bloom sporadically throughout the summer and into the autumn in a tended garden bed or flower bed.

Sweetly scented, pollinator-attracting blooms come in a variety of colors ranging from white or yellow with purple centers to purple or purplish-blue with yellow or white centers depending upon the variety and on soil conditions.

Some blooms are bicolored with petals of purple and yellow in one flower. Some have contrasting veining in the petals. There are also pale pink, fuchsia, and lavender varieties.

Light and Temperature

Most violas will do well in cool weather with partial sun, but other varieties thrive in partial shade. 

In scorching climates, full morning sun and afternoon shade will work well. Avoid direct sunlight when temperatures rise.

Dappled sunlight in a woodland setting can also work very well.

Ensure to provide lots of heat to help your plant grow faster, as insufficient sunlight will result in fewer or no blooms.

Ideal temperatures range from 40° to 70° degrees Fahrenheit.

Watering and Feeding

When naturally occurring, these hardy little beauties will not need watering. They should thrive on native rainfall.

Water well, about two gallons of water per week when cultivating in the garden and when you sow seeds or transplant seedlings. However, be careful with excessive watering because it will lead to decay.

Keep the soil slightly moist until the plants are established, and then transition to soak and dry watering.

Little or no fertilizer is needed. However, you may use a balanced organic fertilizer or a 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer for the soil before planting to encourage fast growth.

Feeding a balanced liquid fertilizer bi-weekly every three weeks will also help develop strong plants and prolong blooming.

Just make sure to follow the timing directions and manufacturer’s rate found on the product label.

Soil and Transplanting

These plants thrive in soil temperatures between 45° and 65° degrees Fahrenheit in rich, fertile soils but are likely to spring up naturally in open, disturbed soil.

Generally speaking, light, airy, well-draining soil that has been amended with organic compost will produce robust growth and flowering. More acidic soil produces more intense bloom coloration.

Amending the soil with organic matter, such as peat moss, manure, or compost, will also help create a nutrient-rich environment.

When planting in ground beds dig a hole wider then the root ball. Keep the planting depth level with the crown of the plant.

Grooming and Maintenance

These compact flowering plants need little or no maintenance. If growing in a lawn or other grassy setting, mow high during the early spring to allow them to grow and bloom.

If you do not want the plants to self-sow, you may wish to deadhead the flowers, but this is entirely optional.

In addition, you can cover the ground with mulch before winter come, especially when you’re Johnny jump-up is planted outdoors.

How To Propagate Johnny Jump Ups

Johnny Jump Up plants self-sow easily. However. it’s also possible to purchase seed and direct sow it into prepared garden soil early in the springtime.

When sowing seeds during late summer, it’s important always to keep the soil moist and the seeds warm. You can sprinkle a thin layer of vermiculite to help the pansy seeds germinate, especially in hot weather.

It’s also important to provide excellent drainage after the seedlings germinate.

You can also propagate them by division if you have a large, thick stand of Johnny-Jump-Ups. Just dig up clumps, get a generous portion of the plants’ long tap roots, and relocate them to a conducive setting.

Fall Sowing Johnny Jump Up Violas and Pansies In Zone 6

Johnny Jump Ups Main Pest Or Diseases

When grown in light, loose, organically rich, well-draining soil in a setting that receives good air circulation and moderate sunlight, Wild Pansies should not experience pest or disease problems.

However, insect pests may occasionally attack them. These include:

  • Aphids
  • Spider mites
  • Slugs or snails

What you can do to control these insect pests is to introduce beneficial insects. Rabbits and deer may eat them, and they do provide a food source for some butterfly caterpillars.

You can also apply organic insecticides or synthetic insecticides for a more serious infestation.

Examples of insecticides you can use include:

  • Bifenthrin
  • Carbaryl
  • Permethrin

Another way to minimize these pest problems is to keep good growing conditions for your healthy plants.

They may also be susceptible to plant diseases, including:

  • Black root rot
  • Violet gall midge
  • Powdery mildew
  • Leaf spots

It’s also necessary to remove all infected plants and dispose of them off-site to prevent disease spread.

Is the plant considered toxic or poisonous to people, kids, and pets?

Grass Pansies are entirely non-toxic, edible, and tasty.

Is the plant considered invasive?

In the areas where these wildflowers are native, they cannot be considered invasive. Some varieties (e.g., Viola tricolor) that are not native to the United States are considered invasive in areas where they have taken hold and literally run wild. 

When choosing a variety of Johnny Jump Up for your setting, seek out a type that grows naturally where you are.

Suggested Johnny Jump-Ups Uses

With its pretty flowers, Johnny Jump Ups are an excellent choice for window boxes and planters, bringing vibrant colors to your flower beds and garden. Look for compact plants when purchasing Jump Ups and the garden center.

You can also cultivate these pretty plants as ground cover or bedding plants. With its unique color scheme, create an eclectic collection of wild violets, or mix them with similar low-growing, blooming plants, such as pansies.

The plants are very attractive to butterflies and their caterpillars, making a nice understory for your butterfly and pollinator garden.

All Johnny Jump-Ups have edible flowers, making them a tasty addition to your herb garden. You can use the blooms and the leaves in salads.

In addition, Wild Violets have a long history of use in folk medicine.

JOIN Our FREE Plant Care Newsletter 

By entering your email address you agree to receive a daily email newsletter from Plant Care Today. We'll respect your privacy and unsubscribe at any time.