are part of the same family as pansies & violas - all of which are a welcome harbinger of spring.
The ancient Greeks prescribed violets as a cure for chest congestion (their blossoms are still used in modern herbal cough syrup formulations), while in
Japan violets have been admired solely for their delicate beauty for centuries.
Today, violets are a part of many a homemade love poem which begins... "Roses are red, violets are blue," ...but the most common violet color is well - violet - along with deep purple, white, yellow and blue-violet.
A good addition to rock gardens, viola odorata or sweet violets are also widely grown in containers with their small size making them a popular favorite of windowsill gardeners.
Slow to germinate, violets are usually grown from seed indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost and transplanted to the garden in full or partial sun in early spring. Violets do best in cooler weather and may wilt in the summer's heat if not properly
Once established violets are a generally a hardy lot and need only light mulching to survive a winter frost ...
On the Web - How to plant & grow violets :
Flower Expert - Violets - History, folklore, information on traditional herbal & medicinal uses, list of popular varieties, along with tips on growth, watering, fertilizing, mulching & plant division and related advice.
Violets - Historical associations as well as information on the plant's herbal and medicinal uses throughout the centuries, plus culinary uses and a related recipe.
Violets: Favored Floral Emblem of Four States - Feature story at GardenGuides.com with a history of how the flower became the official floral emblem of Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode
Island & Wisconsin with more on the most popular varieties including violas & pansies.