Violet, Heartese, Pansy

A large genus of annuals and herbaceous perennials. They either have leafy stems or no stems at all. The flowers are showy and nodding with one spurred petal below and four other petals above, in two dissimilar pairs.


Rockeries, garden beds, borders, woodland gardens, occasionally pots or window boxes. Those with smaller violet type flowers suit alpine gardens and rockeries.


They will grow in soils with average texture, but do best in a fertile, moist soil. Prefers light shade to moderate shade, or full sun. Mulch with organic material over the summer.


They are usually propagated from seeds sown in spring through to summer; or by division/separation. Seedlings should be raised out of direct sunlight. Cuttings of non-flowering shoots taken in the summer also work well.


Approximately 500 species plus many named cultivars, including:

V. cornuta – a relatively delicate prostrate plant to 15cm tall, scented violet to purple flowers. Can be short-lived.

V. hederacea – a creeping Australian native plant that can be very hardy once established. Can produce white and purple flowers all year round.

V. odorata (Sweet Violet) – with rosettes of heart-shaped leaves forming on trailing stems. To 10cm tall. Flowers are commonly fragrant and purple, but there are many named cultivars developed from the species with lots of different colours. Some have little or no discernible scent

Plant Health

Healthy plants are relatively pest and disease free, but the following have at times been reported on Violas: spider mites, aphids, slugs and snails, anthracnose, root rots, stem rot, crown rot, leaf spots, rust on leaves, powdery and downy mildew, and scab.

More info

Pansies that are grown as annual flowers are a type of viola. The genus is diverse and occurs naturally across most parts of the world.

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