Plant ID: garden mystery plant
September 22, 2018 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Asking for my parents: this plant has sprouted in their front garden and covered the open dirt. They’re not too worried about removal, but would like to know what it is. Leaf shape details Thank you in advance!
posted by lesser weasel to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Best answer: Those are violets, a great adddition to any lawn. If you let them grow out a bit in the spring they should put out a lovely bloom. You can toss the flowers in salads, candy them, or make violet syrup.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:30 AM on September 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Looks like violets to me. Some people love them, some people hate them. The flowers are edible, so there’s that.
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 10:30 AM on September 22, 2018

Best answer: PlantNet is good for this.
posted by WCityMike at 11:54 AM on September 22, 2018

I love violets, but the things are tenacious. They will take over everything, so if your parents want a lawn that's grass and not violets, they'll have to take measures to restrain the plants to the garden bed
posted by sardonyx at 12:56 PM on September 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Whether violets or grass wins depends on location, soil type, sun exposure, mowing regimen, etc.

In most situations, grass and violets (and clover and a few others) will hover around a loose equilibrium of cover proportion after settling in for a few years.

If violets are going to outcompete grass, my advice is to let them: they have almost no disadvantages compared to all grass, and why fight uphill battles?

In a garden bed (eg veggies, other flowers) light violet cover can act as as a green mulch, keeping down weeds and shading the soil. Dense mats of violets are worth thinning once a year or two if you want to maximize garden yield, because at very high density they will inhibit growth of more prized species.
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:17 PM on September 22, 2018

I've successfully grown a weed-suppressing polyculture of violets with strawberries and a nz native called leptinella, as SaltySalticid states mixtures can suppress grass quite well, not perfectly but without much management. I much rather have useful things like violets and strawberries any day rather than grass.
posted by unearthed at 1:33 PM on September 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

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