How to Grow Viola odorata Plants

Guide to Growing Sweet Violet and English Violets

Viola odorata are hardy perennials that range from 10 to 20 cm in height (4 to 8 inches).

They bloom from winter through to spring, when they carry fragranced violet, purple, or white flowers on stems.

Foliage is of heart shaped leaves. Sweet Violet is a common name for Viola odorata.

Sweet Violet Foliage

Viola odorata Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Sweet violet, English violet, Banafsa. Violet: Wood, Common, Florist's, Garden.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
  • Height: 4 to 6 inches(10—15 cm).
  • Native: Europe, Asia.
  • Growing Region: Zones 6 to 9.
  • Flowers: Winter through to summer (Location dependent, blooms earlier in warm areas).
  • Flower Details: Purple, white. Highly aromatic.
  • Foliage: Herbaceous. Basal rosette. Cordate.

  • Sow Outside: Cover seed. Autumn. Germination time: 6 to 8 weeks. Seeds should be sown into flats in the autumn. Sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Keep an eye on the flats to ensure that the soil remains moist and to check if seedlings have emerged. Transplant the seedlings after the last frost or in the autumn. Space at 8 inches (20 cm).
  • Sow Inside: No.
  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight (cool areas) or partial shade. Deep moist soil. Slightly acidic to neutral pH 5.5 to 7. Rich soil enhanced with rotted manure. Regular watering. Liquid fertilizer at the beginning of spring. Mulch. Cut back to the ground once flowering has completed. Propagate: by dividing at the beginning of spring.
  • Family: Violaceae
  • Closely Related Species:
  • Miscellaneous: Due to its delightful scent has been used used in perfumes since Victorian times. Also has a culinary use where traditional French violet syrup is used to flavor and add aroma to scones and marshmallows. Water extracts from leaves have antibacterial properties.

How to Grow Viola odorata Species such as Sweet violet

It is best to grow sweet violets and other Viola odorata outdoors from seed.

The seeds should be sown into flats in the autumn, and lightly covered. Next, sink the flat into a shady part of the garden, and cover with glass, and keep the soil moist.

It should take from one to two months for Viola odorata to germinate.

Transplant the young plants with a spacing of 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) into a partially shady area of the garden. Plant out after the last frost of spring.

The soil that the Viola is planted in should be organically enriched. Plants like a soil that is of pH 5.5 to 7, deep, and moist.

Viola odorata
Viola odorata – Sweet Violet by Amandabhslater

Caring for Viola odorata

It is fairly easy to care for Viola odorata: they like a moist soil so supply with a mulch, and water them regularly.

At the start of spring, give them a feed using a liquid fertilizer.

Once flowering has finished, cut back sweet violet to the ground.

Common Questions

Is Viola odorata its own genus?

Viola odorata is not a genus but a species within the Viola genus.

Do members of Viola odorata make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Viola odorata is often grown for its fragrant, purple-blue flowers. It's great for borders or woodland gardens.

Are Viola odorata plants fragrant?

Yes, Viola odorata, or Sweet Violet, is known for its sweet, strong fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Viola odorata?

Viola odorata thrives in partial to full shade with moist, well-drained soil. It's perfect for woodland gardens or shaded borders.

Is Viola odorata invasive in the USA?

Currently, Viola odorata is not known to be invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Viola odorata plants from my garden?

To remove Viola odorata, uproot the entire plant, ensuring all root material is removed to prevent regrowth.


Viola odorata, known as Sweet Violet, is a species in the Viola genus. Native to Europe and Asia, this perennial plant is cherished for its fragrant, purple flowers.

Viola odorata thrives in part shade to full shade and well-drained soil. It can be propagated from seeds sown in autumn or spring, or by division in summer. It's often found in woodlands or under shrubs and trees.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Viola Odorata plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Zinnia elegans and Echinacea plants.