Shire Plants has one of the largest ranges of Violets for sale in the United Kingdom. Some are only available in small numbers and tend to sell out quickly, while others are available all year round. Spring is the time when the widest choice is available. Scroll down for the full list. To filter the list to see only the violets in stock now, click here.

Sweet Violets and Parma Violets

Known variously as Sweet violets, Devon violets and English violets, these wonderful plants have been grown for over 2000 years and were the symbol of ancient Athens. The ancient Greek poet Sappho often wrote about violets in her poems and was described as having ‘violet hair’. 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.


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