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How to Grow Browallia Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Bush violet, Amethyst flower and Sapphire Flower

The Browallia Plant genus features many attractive garden ornamentals. Due to their lack of tolerance to low temperatures they are often grown in containers, as a house plant, or as annuals in many regions.

If you live in the right area then they can make a great wildlife garden plant as they attract hummingbirds.

Browallia can either be annuals, or are half hardy perennials often treated as half hardy annuals by gardeners.

Common names include Bush violet, Sapphire flower, Amethyst flower, and Jamaican forget-me-not.

They make great plants for containers, and as part of flower borders that are in shaded areas of the garden.

If you plan to grow in containers you may wish to look into varieties and cultivars such as 'Troll', which are more compact dense and rounded than wild-type. For Hanging baskets consider 'Bell' varieties, which are trailing, and have star-shaped flowers.

Description of Browallia

Browallia are bushy plants, they usually reach an height of around 30 cm (12 inches); some species may reach 60 cm (24 inches) in height.

Members of the genus can bloom from the spring until the autumn.

Natively, the flowers are trumpet shaped, and of a white or purple color; they have exuberant green leaves.

Browallia speciosa
Browallia speciosa

Browallia viscosa
Browallia viscosa. Both Bush Violet photographs by Tim Waters.

General Information on Browallia

The Browallia genus is part of the Solanaceae family, and is a native plant of Central and Northern America.

Plants usually have dark green foliage and a shruby nature. The leaves are around two inches (5 cm) in length, and plants showy trumpet shaped flowers of blue, purple or white.

As a member of the 42 genus Solanaceae family, Browallia is closely related to many important agricultural plants such as Tomatoes, Aubergines and Potatoes (Solanum); Chili (Capsicum) and Tobacco (Nicotinia).

It is also related to plants such as the Trumpet Flower (Datura), Angel's Trumpet (Brugmansia) and Lycianthes.

Some of the Browallia members that are often seen in gardens and fields include:

Browallia speciosa: Sapphire Flower; (Half Hardy Perennial)
Browallia americana: Jamaican forget-me-not; Amythyst flower; Bush violet (annual)
Browallia eludens: Bush Violet (annual)
Browallia viscosa: Bush Violet (annual)

Commonly Grown Garden Species and Tips on growing Browallia

Browallia americana

Browallia americana

Amythyst flower photograph by Dick Culbert.

Browallia americana: Jamaican forget-me-not; Amythyst flower; Bush violet (annual)

This annual species of Browallia reaches a height of 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm), and blooms in midsummer with blue or violet flowers. Plants prefers to grow in a slightly acidic and moist soil.

Sow out seeds inside first, about 8 weeks before putting out.

Do not transplant outdoors until temperatures do not dip below 40°F (5°C) as plants will not tolerate frost.

Space out at about 10 to 12 inches (20 to 25 cm), or grow in containers or even as an house plant.

Pinch back young shoots to encourage a bushy growth, and supply with a mulch to protect from the sun. Lightly fertilize.

Browallia speciosa

Browallia Photograph

Sapphire Flower with white petals by 阿橋 HQ.

Browallia speciosa: Sapphire Flower

These Half Hardy Perennials are usually grown as annuals in the garden due to their tenderness.

They can reach an height of one to two feet (30 to 60 cm) and prefer to grow in a slightly acid soil of pH 6 to 7.

Unless you live in a warm area it is best to initially sow Browallia speciosa seeds indoors, about eight or nine weeks before transplanting out in mid spring, when there is no chance of a frost.

Ideally space the plants about 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) apart in a partially shaded, or sunny part of the garden.

The plants will bloom from early Summer through to the first frosts of late autumn. Browallia speciosa carry delightful 2 inch (5 cm) wide flowers, which can be violet, blue or white.

How to Grow Browallia Species

Outdoors, Browallia should be sown on the surface after the last frost of spring.

Bush violets should first be grown indoors in cooler areas, they should be started about seven to ten weeks in advance. Ideally the seedlings should be planted out after the last frost of spring.

Browallia plants will take from one to three weeks to germinate in the light, at a temperature of 19 to 23°C (65 to 75°F).

Bush violets and other Browallia seedlings should be planted out with a spacing of about 20 cm (8 inches) for smaller species, and 40 cm (16 inches) for larger species.

They prefer sunny or partly cloudy areas of the garden, and enjoy a moist soil with an acidity of pH 6 to 7.

Caring for Browallia in the Garden

Browallia Care: Plants should be watered regularly during dry spells. When plants reach about 15 cm (6 inches) in height they should be pinched back; this will encourage bushy growth.

Browallia Video Growing Guide

Browallia Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Bush Violet, Sapphire Flower, Amethyst Flower, Jamaican forget-me-not.
Life Cycle: Half hardy perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm).
Spread: 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm).
Native: Central America.
Family: Solanaceae.
Growing Region: Annual in zones 3 to 10, or as a perennial in zones 9 to 10. UK Hardiness H3; Hardy in mild areas.
Garden Use: Containers, House Plant, Hanging Basket. In warm areas it looks good as part of a bed or border. Also does well as a shade tolerant woodland plant.
Blooms: Spring, summer, and autumn.
Flower Details: Purple, violet, blue, white. Trumpets. Up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter.
Foliage: Green. Ovate to lanceolate.
Sow Outside: Surface. Following the last frost. Spacing 6 to 18 inches (15 to 45 cm).
Sow Inside: Requires light. Germination time: one to three weeks. Temperature 65 to 75°F (18 to 23°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors a few weeks after the last frost; temperature should not drop below 41°F (5°C).
Requirements: Full sunlight or partial shade. Good drainage. Soil pH 5.5 to 7. Moist soil. Light feed. Mulch. Regular watering. Pinch tips.



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