Viola grypoceras var. exilis 'Sylettas'

Common Name: violet 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Violaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.00 to 0.25 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Light purple
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade, with a preference for dappled shade to full shade in hot and humid summer climates of the deep South and for full sun to part shade in cool northern summer climates. Generally prefers moist, humusy, moisture-retentive soils. Will self-seed in the garden in some environments. Hardy to USDA Zones 4-8.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Viola grypoceras is an herbaceous mounded perennial violet that is native to grassy slopes and thickets in eastern Asia from China to Korea and Japan. It typically grows on upright stems to 3-6” tall and to 8” wide. Purplish to white, 5-petaled violets (each less than 1”) bloom from the leaf axils in April-June. Flowers may not appear every year. Rounded, normally unvariegated, dark green leaves (to 4” long) are ornamentally attractive.

This species is synonymous with and formerly known by a number of different botanical names including Viola sylvatica var. grypoceras.

Var. exilis is shorter than the straight species, having creeping, nearly procumbent stems rising to only 2-3” tall with a slightly larger spread. The variegated silver-gray leaves of this variety are decorated with bold, distinctive, ornamentally attractive, cyclamen-like deep green markings. Although this variety has been recognized by some authorities, it has also been considered by a number of different authorities to be simply a synonym of the species (variegated leaves are not recognized to be a basis for classifying it as a variety).

Genus name comes from the Latin name for various sweet-scented flowers.

Specific epithet is in reference to a person’s or family’s surname.

‘Sylettas’ features exceptional leaf variegation. This cultivar is the only plant likely to be sold in commerce at this time.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for slugs and snails. Powdery mildew, leaf spot and rust may appear.


Mass in shaded areas of crevices, screes, edging, woodland gardens, or partially-shaded beds/border fronts. Ground cover for small places. Often grows well in containers.

‘Sylettas’ attractive feature is its variegated foliage not the flowers. It may not bloom every year.