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A picture of a Sweet Violet

Sweet Violet

Viola odorata

Also known as

Pansy, Violet, Papma violet, Garden violet, English violet

Viola odorata fg01 by Fritz Geller-Grimm (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Sweet Violet

A close up of a Viola odorata plant with green leaves and purple flowers
A photo of Sweet Violet

Sweet Violet Overview

Viola odorata is a perennial plant from the Violaceae family. Commonly known by many names including Sweet Violet and English Violet. It produces kidney to heart-shaped leaves and attractive scented purple or white flowers measuring around 2cm across. This is a spreading, rhizomatous plant which grows about 8cm tall. The leaves are dark green, pointed and heart to kidney-shaped with shallowly toothed edges. Viola is a large genus of approximately 500 species. They are mainly annuals, biennials, deciduous or evergreen/semi-evergreen perennials. Most species are found in diverse habitats in temperate regions all over the world. Most of the popular cultivars - often referred to as Pansies or Violas - are complex hybrids, some of which are lightly scented, many of which are bi-or multi-coloured. There is a Viola species suitable for just about every garden situation - from rock gardens to summer bedding to spring-flowering bulbs - and they are popular for year-round container gardening.

Common problems with Sweet Violet

May also be affected by mosaic virus.

Sweet Violet Companion Plants

How to harvest Sweet Violet

Flowers can be picked when open, for use in salads.

How to propagate Sweet Violet


Seeds to be sown in spring, scattered lightly over the desired area, then either compressed or lightly covered with top soil.


Best divided in Summer, after the plant has finished flowering. This is when the plant will start developing new roots. Plant immediately in moist soil.


Special features of Sweet Violet

Attractive flowers

Ground cover

Sweet Violets make an excellent groundcover in semi-shaded areas.

Winter colour

Pot plant

Other uses of Sweet Violet

Ground cover, containers, walls and rock gardens, culinary, medicinal, perfumery


The leaves and flowers have expectorant properties, helping ease coughs and colds.


The flowers make an attractive addition to salads, with a very mild sweetness. The leaves can also be used in salads if harvested when young.

Plants for Rock Gardens

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