Spring 2019 Update: A number of our current stock of Sweet Violets (Viola odorata types) have now sold out, but we are growing more and these will be available in the Autumn. There are still quite a few varieties available in small numbers and as much as possible we are keeping the website up to date, although we apologise if you order a variety which turns out to be out of stock.
Shire Plants has one of the largest ranges of Violets for sale in the United Kingdom.
Sweet Violets and Parma Violets
Sweet violets have been grown for over 2000 years and were the symbol of ancient Athens. Violet flowers were frequently used in cookery in medieval times and also scattered about in rooms to disguise unpleasant smells. They have long been welcome in gardens, with many used as cut flowers, to bring the delightful scent indoors. In Victorian times, violet flowers where worn in buttonholes, in brides posies and used to mask the unpleasant smells of the time. In addition to the scented flowers, violet leaves are used to make a sought-after violet perfume (it takes one tonne of leaves to make one kg of oil!).
Parma violets are a different form of Violet with glossy leaves and very strongly scented flowers. They first appeared in Italy in the 16th century. In the 19th century there were many Parma varieties, but few remain now. Essential oil is extracted from the flowers and is still used today in the perfume industry.
Many of the Sweet and Parma varieties in our range are sadly now very rare.
Perennial Tufted Violas
If you are looking for Victorian Violas (Perennial Tufted Violas), please click here.