Appearing first in early spring, sweet violets are known for their everlasting beauty. When you grow violets, they attract all kinds of pollinators, including bees and hummingbirds, and some kinds of violets appear again in the late summer or early fall.
These gorgeous blooms not only make your landscape look absolutely beautiful, but they’re filled with all kinds of symbolic meaning, too. If you’ve never given any thought to the deeper meaning of violet flowers, now is the time to do so.
What Are Violet Flowers?
Before we dive into what the violet flower symbolizes, let’s take a closer look at some interesting facts about this plant, a member of the Violaceae family (a large plant family with more than 500 species).
Primarily grown for aesthetic reasons, violets have a deep symbolic meaning both in Ancient Greece, the Christian tradition, and more. Yet the violet meaning starts with looking at this plants’ many uses in the garden.
The violet flower, as you might expect, is a faithful blooming plant all over North America. It grows well in cooler climates, producing gorgeous purple petals early in the spring in temperate regions. Also known as Viola odorata, this plant typically comes in a violet color, but also can be found in three primary colors, including blue violet, lavender, and white.
These plants, which have a variety of health benefits, grow best in temperate climates with full sun and consistent moisture. The best time to plant violets is in the early spring. Be sure to apply a moderate amount of fertilizer and mulch liberally during the growing season as well.
What Does Violet Mean?
The word “violet” is a derivative of the Old French word, “violet” or “violet.” Its scientific name, genus Viola, refers to a large genus of flowering plants in the violet family, Violaceae. The violets group encompasses dog violets, sweet violets and wild pansies. These beautiful flowers can be found all over the world, but most are in the Northern Hemisphere. Violets are also often mistaken for African violets from East Africa. The violet is the state flower of Illinois, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island and can be used as edible decorations.
Often used to sweeten foods, these purple flowers are popular herbal remedies. They are high in vitamin C and were traditionally used to alleviate inebriation, prevent drunkenness, and were even used in love potions! Though these uses are mostly debunked, we have also used violets in the past as a calming agent. Today, they are mostly used as decorations, with violets typically serving as the perfect gift for friends and family as well as for funeral decorations.
What Does a Violet Symbolize?
Violets are most commonly associated with love – and if you’ve ever seen a violet, that probably makes a ton of sense. These beautiful flowers give off a heady, sensual fragrance that will make you want to fall in love all over again.
However, the violet plant has other meanings, too. They can symbolize honesty, protection, dreams, healing, remembrance, determination, and even the idea of setting goals. In the middle ages, monks called these violet plants ‘the herb of the trinity’ due to their three distinct colors of purple, yellow and green.
The color violet is reminiscent of the Sahasrara, a crown chakra whose energy focuses on matters of enlightenment and awareness, too.
Therefore, purple violet flowers with their stunning violet hues can also be associated with growth, expansion, and peace. They are often viewed as symbols of mental clarity. They are also the birth flower of February.
What is the Cultural Significance of a Violet?
Depending on the culture, violets have tons of symbolic meaning. In Native American tradition, there is a Haudenosaunee legend that claims that the violet is a child born of both sky and earth. Therefore, it is often considered to be a symbol of harmony, balance, and opportunity.
Let’s take a closer look at the symbolic reference of the violet across cultures.
The violet is also found in many Christian traditions. In the Christian tradition, this beautiful flower is often viewed as symbolic of baby Jesus and when the Angel Gabriel told Mary that Jesus would be her baby.
They are also compared with Christ’s ability to be an intermediary, or someone who strove to live the balance between heaven and earth. These asymmetrical flowers also represent spiritual passion and the Virgin Mary’s humility, or Mary’s humble nature overall. They are the ultimate symbolic reference of everlasting love and spiritual wisdom.
This beautiful flower is often viewed as symbolic of Jesus and compared with Christ’s ability to be an intermediary, or someone who strove to live the balance between heaven and earth.
According to Victorian traditions, violets were viewed as symbols of good fortune, humility, and restfulness. There were several superstitions related to violets. One was that carrying violets could keep evil spirits at bay, while another more humorous tradition said that wearing violets on your head could keep you from getting too inebriated!
What the Violet Flower Symbolizes to the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans
Violets were also used outside of the Victorian era. They were prized by the Ancient Celts, but more often appeared in other areas of human history, such as in religious art from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. They represented mystical awareness and healing.
Violet tea also has medicinal properties often used to cure headaches. They are also very popular in the perfume industry. In Rome violets were also often used at funerals.
What is the Symbolism of a Violet Tattoo?
Violet tattoos tend to be full of symbolic meanings. Most of the time, violets are used to represent modesty and virtue, but they can also have broader meanings when used as tattoos, too. Some of these include innocence, affection, care, and love (any kind, and not just romantic love).
When Should You Give Someone a Violet?
Now that you know the violet meaning, when is a good time to give one of these flowers?
It is most appropriate to give someone a violet when they are celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, as the symbolism of the flower has connections to that date in particular.
Violet is also February birth flower. Violets can also be given on spiritual events, as it has strong connections to a number of religions. Since they are seen as romantic flowers, violets can, of course, be given on any romantic occasion as well. You can also simply grow bedding violets to brighten up your garden with their delicate petals and heart-shaped leaves.
*Photo by kisinnka/depositphotos