Violets are some of the first flowers of spring and are both edible and medicinal along with being quite lovely with a delightful fragrance. There are many varieties, from pansies to perennial violets to the wild violets that like to infiltrate lawns and moist cool spaces.
They will grow in sun to medium shade and prefer a rich garden loam and moderate watering. Purchase dense, sturdy-looking plants with lots of healthy, green leaves and buds. If they have been in a greenhouse, harden them off by putting them outside for a few nights tucked up close to the house. Don’t forget to remove the stems of faded blooms to keep them bushy and full of flowers.
Violet and pansy syrup has been used to ease sore throats and as a digestive tonic. A poultice of pansy or violet leaves, made by mashing leaves with aloe vera to make a paste can be applied to inflamed skin to soothe irritation and reduce inflammation. Violets have an affinity for the breast and are used to soothe mastitis, infections, pain, and cysts.
Unsprayed leaves and blooms are edible and can be used in teas, salads, smoothies, soups, stews, butters, vinegars and more. Leaves are rich in Vitamin A, C, and trace minerals. You can candy the flowers for lovely garnishes.