Plant of the Month for January, 2013


General Information:

Violets are darling little plants for the spring garden, but some are little devils that seed all over the place and become a weed. Viola ‘Dancing Geisha’ is not a devil. I find no seedlings in my garden.

Viola  ‘Dancing Geisha', photo by Robert Pavlis

This Japanese violet has foliage unlike any other violet. The plant forms nice tight clumps that are showy all summer long. The leaves are maple-shaped with streaks of green, pewter and silver. The flowers are larger and rounder in shape than most North American violets. All of the flowers open at the same time providing an exceptional pinkish display.

This is a small plant that makes a great edging in a perennial bed or a great addition to the rock garden.

Viola  ‘Dancing Geisha', photo by Robert Pavlis

Dancing Geisha, also known as the Fanleaf Violet, is an interspecific hybrid. The Japanese have been breeding violets for a long time and I suspect this plant is a result of that work. I found no reference for the actual parents of this clone.

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 15cm (6inches)

Bloom Time: spring

Natural Range: probably Japan or China

Habitat: unknown

Synonyms: none



Light: part shade to full shade 

Soil: not fussy, but prefers humus rich soil

Water: average moisture

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 - 9

Propagation: division

Seedex availability (ORG&HPS annual Seed Exchange): no



We have incomplete information on the germination of this species. Sometimes we offer an educated guess about which approach you could try. Let us know what is successful.


Sow immediately. The viability of these seeds is short or the species propagates best with fresh seed. Stored seed might be coaxed into germination with temperature cycling and patience.


This species needs special care as described.
Parentage is unknown but Viola eizanensis or chaerophylloides are good prospects and germinate well. Sow immediately. The viability of viola seeds is short and both possible parental species propagate best with fresh seed. Expose to fluctuating outdoor winter temperatures including freezing for 3 months. Gradually increase light and temperature in spring.
Viola 'Dancing Geisha' grown by Robert Pavlis
Robert Pavlis