At Last! An Easy Way to Kill Violets

November 3, 2016 | By | Comments (12)
commons wikimedia org At Last! An Easy Way to Kill Violets

Photo: commons-wikimedia-org

Never abandon hope is the lesson I impart today. On a recent Grumpy Gardener page in Southern Living, I sadly broke terrible news to a reader whose lawn and garden was submerged with violets. There is no spray to kill violets, I said. The only control is getting down on your hands and knees and digging nonstop for approximately 18 years.

I can hear the chorus coming from dismayed readers. “Why would anyone want to kill violets? They are beautiful and charming native wildflowers.”

That they are. But common dooryard violets (Viola sororia) are one other thing too. Extremely invasive. In the lawn or the garden. In the sun or the shade. If you see one this year, next year you’ll see a dozen. Then a hundred. Then a thousand. Then a veritable sea of violets will fill your yard from shore to shore. The fiends nearly choked out my beautiful lawn of native mosses. I dug up buckets of them.

These violets spread so quickly because they’re sneaky. They don’t just develop seeds from the pretty, blue, purple, or white flowers you admire in spring. Most seeds come from weird, pale flowers resembling mung bean sprouts that hide at the soil line under the foliage. They sow seeds all summer without the need for pollination.

Each seed that sprout grows a thick root that looks like a tiny horizontal carrot. Even if you dig it, any piece of the root left in the ground grows another violet. This root also makes the violet resistant to weedkillers available for home use.

Until now.

519sl0bphvl At Last! An Easy Way to Kill Violets

Meet the violet killer.

I recently received a communique from Monterey Lawn & Garden Products about a weedkiller called Spurge Power. In addition to killing tough weeds such as spurge (duh), oxalis, ground ivy (creeping Charlie), and many others, Spurge Power actually KILLS violets!

What wonderful news. If Grumpy could cry, he would.

You can order Spurge Power from Monterey website (click on the link above) or buy it at garden centers. As always, follow label directions carefully. And no, I received nothing from Monterey for alerting you to this product.

Violets, meet your Kryptonite! Laugh at us no longer. For so long, you held our gardens hostage. Now freedom is at hand!






  1. Anne

    So happy to learn about this product – thank you! Yes, violets are pretty little flowers, but they have taken over my entire front yard, and when they aren’t blooming (after the spring), the yard is not attractive at all – it looks like a weedy mess. I’d be happy to share the violets with those who prefer them to grass, but so far I’ve had no takers.

    January 11, 2017 at 2:28 pm
  2. Carol

    Why in the world would I want to kill violets???? They’re beautiful and I’d love to have some.

    December 1, 2016 at 4:03 pm
  3. Marian Folinsbee



    Round-Up also KillsThe EARTH’s healthy Microbes which contribute to healthy earth !
    Birds can Eat Seeds Poisoned by Weed Killers .

    Wild Violets are used as Face Wash and Acne Remedy.

    November 7, 2016 at 12:47 pm
  4. Marian Folinsbee



    AND ALIVE !! IN NANAIMO British Columbia Canada , ‘Weed Killers are BANNED’ ! Pesticides ! which KILL HONEY BEES and BUTTERFLIES.

    If you don’t like Dandelions Dig ’em up wash em off and chop and roast the roots as a coffee sub.They Pull up Minerals from the soil , The leaves are chopped into salad stir fry or Tuna Sandwich .They are hundred of times more nutritious ,than lettuce or spinach !
    Come on people use your ingenuity recognize the gifts the earth has given us .Did you know that Wild Violets are an excellent Skin WASH Revitalizer and used to rid Acne .

    Stop Poisoning the EARTH ; ROUND-UP KILLS Soil and mini-CREATURES that build it . IT POISONS SEEDS THAT BIRDS EAT.

    Remember Honey Bees Nest in EARTH !!


    Its EARTH’S Natural Plan, WITHOUT BEES WE DIE.

    November 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm
  5. Marcia

    Our lawn is covered in Muscari ( I guess someone thought it would be beautiful) andfor one week in the spring (maybe) but this time of year it looks just awful but is also dangerous as it’s hilly and if wet the lawn is very slippery and after they bloom in the spring…..another round of dangerous lawn…..ugh! We have a bermuda lawn in southern MO. Is there any hope for us?

    November 7, 2016 at 8:55 am
  6. Brynn

    @Jo Ann Stone
    This is a pre-emergent killer, so you’d be better off with RoundUp, since that’ll travel down to the roots to kill it. I recommend the gel RU that’s out now; easy to control, doesn’t go where you don’t want it, etc.

    November 4, 2016 at 1:10 pm
  7. Chrisbinnc

    Hallelujah!! I’m too old to get down on my knees and dig. Yippie yippie yippie

    November 4, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Will this product kill English ivy? If not, what will? Getting invaded from a neighbor who doesn’t care.

    November 3, 2016 at 2:59 pm
  9. joyinthearts

    Oh, How TERRIBLY sad. I grew up LOVING the violets my grandfather introduced me to. They made/make me feel safe and blessed. Maybe transplant each one to a reserved and special spot in your yard for a beautiful show of color and happiness Plus “18 years” of the joy and celebration of doing so.

    November 3, 2016 at 12:08 pm
  10. Brynn

    It also kills pansies and violas (and mint, which might come in handy if you have an invasion) and lots of other things, just so you know. It’s like a lot of other broadleaf weed killers in that it doesn’t target grasses (well, most of them) and just lays waste to everything else.

    Another thing that kills violets is unrelenting drought. I didn’t mind them where they grew, as we don’t have much in our yard that is really grass and they covered the bare spots in the deep shade, but they’re pretty much gone.

    Btw, RoundUp has a new (to me anyway) gel that is great for brushing on cut-back wisteria/privet stumps. Super easy to use with one of those throw-away foam brushes from the paint store.

    November 3, 2016 at 11:54 am
  11. Susan Gailes

    Hallelujah! Wish it could kill the chipmunks too!

    November 3, 2016 at 10:45 am
  12. Kathleen

    You’re probably tired of hearing this, but I think violets are prettier than grass & wish I had more in my lawn. They’re actually my favorite flower. Especially the native white violets. I’ve only come across those once in the wild, but the fragrance was amazing.
    I hear what you’re saying, though. Any plant growing in the wrong space is annoying.

    November 3, 2016 at 10:10 am

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