Viola cornuta 'Huntercombe Purple'



Common name/s ?

Violet 'Huntercombe Purple'

Skill rating


Type of plant ?

Evergreen, herbaceous perennial.

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone


EGF zone


USDA zone


Eventual size

10-15cm height by 15-30cm spread.

Growth rate ?

Moderate, will reach full size in 2 to 5 years.

Shape it grows into

Clump forming ground cover plant.

Season/s of interest

Flowers from spring to late summer.

Where to grow it

Happy in full sun or part shade.
Prefers well drained to moist soil.

Happy in soil of any pH and type, but prefers fertile, humus-rich soil.

Viola 'Huntercombe Purple'


Clumps of oval, mid-green foliage with striking, deep violet flowers that have tiny white centres.

What to use it for

While many violas are annuals, or grown as such, this is a perennial viola which is well suited to beds and borders (especially as edging) or rock/scree gardens and alpine houses. It can also be used in containers and for under-planting shrubs and roses.

How to look after it

Deadhead regularly to keep it flowering for as long as possible.

Clumps should be lifted and divided every three years to maintain the plant’s vigour.

How to prune it

In addition to deadheading, when it’s finished flowering you can trim it back to keep it compact if required.

How to propagate it

Divide clumps in autumn or late winter, or take stem tip cuttings from spring to summer from fresh, new shoots (older ones which are or have flowered become hollow and won’t root). Cuttings should root within 14 days. Mound layering can also be done to encourage the stems to root into compost piled over the plant – in 5-6 weeks the shoots should have rooted and can be detached from the parent plant for growing on.

Common problems

Common pests include slugs, snails, aphids, two spotted spider mites and violet gall midges. May also suffer from powdery mildews, leaf spots, viruses and rust.

Other useful information

This cultivar was developed at Huntercombe Manor (in Buckinghamshire, UK), by gardener Jesse Folke for the Hon. Mrs Cavendish Boyle (also known by her initials EVB – Eleanor Vere Boyle); a well known garden illustrator and writer of the Victorian Era, who re-designed the ‘Evelyn’ Garden at Huntercombe Manor. Viola ‘Huntercombe Purple’ has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Violas have been revered throughout history. A Muslim saying states that ‘the excellence of the violet is as the excellence of Islam’ and the Romans drank violet-flavoured wine. Napoleon was nicknamed ‘Caporal Violette’ after his favourite flower and died wearing a locket of violets taken from his wife Josephine’s grave.