Skip to Content

Do violets like full sun or shade?

Do violets like full sun or shade?

Quick Answer

Violets prefer partial shade to full shade conditions and do not thrive in full sun. The ideal location for violets is an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight for 3-6 hours per day such as under a canopy of tall trees or on the east side of a house or garden. Direct hot afternoon sun should be avoided as it can scorch leaves and cause root damage. Violets appreciate some morning sun or dappled sun throughout the day.

Violets Prefer Partial Shade Over Direct Sunlight

Violets are understory plants native to woodland environments and naturally grow beneath the canopy of trees. They thrive in bright, filtered light and moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. While violets can tolerate a couple hours of morning sun, they should be protected from intense midday and afternoon sun exposure.

Direct sun often leads to leaf scorch, sunscalding, wilting, and drying of the soil. The foliage and blooms are sensitive and can rapidly discolor and fade when subjected to hot sunlight and heat. Violets grown in too much sun will become stunted and have burnt looking leaves. Dappled sunlight or partial shade creates the ideal balance of light and shade violets need to flourish.

East facing locations are excellent for growing violets. An east facing site receives gentle morning sun but protection from the harsher afternoon sun. A location under deciduous trees also provides lovely filtered shade as the leaves filter the sunlight creating bright shade. The shifting sun angles throughout the seasons ensure the violets receive their preferred amount of sun.

How Much Sunlight Do Violets Need?

Violets grow best with 3-6 hours of direct or dappled sunlight per day. Filtered sunlight that has passed through tree branches or a shade structure is ideal. During the hottest months of summer, provide more shade while increasing sun exposure during the cooler months of spring and fall.

Here are some general sunlight guidelines for violets:

Time of Day Sun Exposure
Early Morning (before 10 am) 1-2 hours of direct sun
Mid-day (10 am – 4 pm) Bright indirect light or dappled sun
Late Afternoon/Evening Shade

Aim for a maximum of 2 hours of morning sun unless temperatures will be exceedingly hot. Afternoon sun should be avoided to prevent leaf scorching. Bright shade under a high canopy of trees or a patio cover is ideal during the hottest part of the day.

Signs Your Violets Are Getting Too Much Sun

It’s easy to tell if your violets are receiving too much direct sun. Here are a few key signs to watch for:

– Wilting, drooping, or curling leaves
– Leaves appear burnt, yellowed or bleached
– Dry, brown spots or scorched areas on leaves
– Rapid flowering followed by faded blooms
– Lackluster growth and small leaves
– Soil dries out very quickly

If you notice any of these issues, move your violets to a shadier spot. Add a shade cloth if needed to diffuse the sunlight. Water immediately and remove any crispy, damaged foliage. The plant should perk up within a few days once given proper shade.

Ideal Violet Growing Conditions

In their native woodland environments, violets thrive in well-drained, nutrient rich soil and bright dappled sunlight. Here are the optimal growing conditions:

Light: Dappled or partial sun (3-6 hours daily)

Soil: Moist, humus-rich, slightly acidic (pH 5.5-6.5)

Temperature: 65-75°F

Water: Moderate, allow soil to dry out between waterings

Fertilizer: Balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-4 weeks during growth

Humidity: Average to high

Aim to replicate these conditions as closely as possible. Site violets where they’ll receive bright indirect light from an east or west facing window or under deciduous trees. Water when the soil is slightly dry to the touch taking care not to oversaturate.

How to Grow Violets in Full Sun Gardens

If you must grow violets in a full sun landscape, there are a few tricks to help them thrive:

– Plant in partial or dappled shade. Site near taller plants, trees, or structures that provide shade.

– Use shade cloth to filter intense sunlight. Drape over plants or construct temporary structures.

– Grow heat tolerant varieties bred for sunnier locales like ‘Freya’ and ‘Sorbet XP’.

– Provide afternoon shade using shade sails, patio umbrellas, or garden fabrics.

– Use heavy mulch to keep roots cool and soil moist.

– Water frequently in hot, dry conditions. Avoid wet foliage.

– Mist plants on very hot days to lower temperatures.

– Monitor for signs of stress like wilting. Move if issues arise.

With a little extra care, it’s possible to grow violets successfully in sunnier areas. Dappled light, shade cloth, and attentive watering will help counteract the challenges. Select more heat-loving varieties and be prepared to move plants if they show signs of scorching. Morning sun is safest while afternoon shade is a must.

Where to Place Violets Outdoors

When situating violets in the landscape, look for spots that offer bright, indirect light throughout much of the day. Here are some ideal outdoor locations:

– Under deciduous trees – Maple, oak, honeylocust provide dappled shade.

– Beside taller plants or trellised vines – Position near sunflowers, tomatoes, pole beans.

– Against the east side of house, garage, or shed – Avoid hot western sun.

– Under overhangs or roof eaves – Roof projections offer shade.

– Near a patio cover, pergola, or gazebo – Structures filter sunlight.

– Against a latticework fence or hedge – Open structures provide speckled light.

– At the edge of a wooded area or tree line – Receives morning sun.

– Under decking or elevated porches – Cover protects from direct sun.

Check sunlight patterns before planting. Avoid western exposures and full sun areas. Dappled light through vegetation or structures is ideal.

Where to Place Violets Indoors

When growing violets as houseplants, they do best in an east or west facing window where they’ll receive gently filtered light. Here are some suitable indoor locations:

– East facing window – Receives morning sun, avoid hot afternoon light.

– West facing window – Gets gentler afternoon sun and shade in mornings.

– North facing window – Low light, need supplemental artificial light.

– 5-6 feet from a south window – Bright shade, diffuse light with sheer curtains.

– Under skylights or frosted windows – Provide diffused natural light.

– Open porch or enclosed sunroom – Offer bright, indirect light.

– Near an interior frosted window or glass block window – Filter intense sun.

Avoid placing violets in southern windows where they’ll get too much direct hot sunlight. Sheer curtains can help diffuse the light. Rotate plants weekly to ensure even growth towards the light source.

Using Artificial Light for Violets

Violets will need supplemental fluorescent or LED grow lights if not grown near a window. Place plants 6-12 inches from full spectrum bulbs, providing 14-16 hours of daily light. LED panels and strips designed for indoor gardening also work well. Avoid hot, intense incandescent bulbs that could overheat violets. Grow lights help compensate for darker indoor conditions.

Best Varieties of Violets for Sun or Shade

Violets come in a diverse range of flower colors, leaf types, and growth habits. Some are more sun tolerant than others. Here are a few top violet varieties to grow in sun or shade:

For Shade:

– Classic Saintpaulia – Rounded leaves, purple blooms. The traditional African violet.

– ‘Pink Beauty’ – Pale pink double flowers, ruffled leaves.

– ‘Jolly Dot’ – Mauve flowers with red center dots. Compact variety.

– ‘Optimara Little Suzie’ – Profuse white blooms on a petite plant.

For Sun:

– ‘Sorbet XP’ series – Outstanding heat tolerance and sun resistance.

– ‘Freya’ – Vigorous trailing ivory white blooms even in sun.

– ‘Baby Ruth’ – Dwarf variety with candy pink flowers.

– ‘Peppermint Cream’ – White blooms with pink centers.

– ‘Blizzard’ – Lush trailing snow white flowers. Tolerates more light.

Consult local nurseries to find the best violet varieties for your specific growing conditions. The flowering trailer types generally appreciate more sunlight. Choose compact varieties for smaller spaces.


While violets prefer shadier conditions, they can thrive with 3-6 hours of morning or dappled sunlight and afternoon shade. Direct hot sun frequently causes leaf scorch and fading blooms. Filtered light under trees or shade structures provides an ideal balance of sun and shade. With proper siting, heat tolerant cultivars, and vigilant watering, it’s possible to successfully grow violets in sunnier gardens. Strive to recreate the natural woodland environment violets relish with bright, indirect light, rich soil, and reliable moisture.