Pansy vs Viola Edible Flowers

Pansy and Viola edible flowers are a couple of our top sellers here at Nurtured in Norfolk. These edible flowers are very similar, but do have their differences. We like to call these flowers best friends, not sisters!

As its National Best Friend Day today, we thought we’d show you the similarities and differences between these flowers. Pansy and Viola edible flowers look and taste similar, but to us at Nurtured (and to any keen gardeners!) they do have their differences.

What are Violas? 

New to using edible flowers? We’d always recommend trying our Violas! Viola flowers have small heads and velvety petals. Their flavour is subtle and vegetable-like.

You can shop Viola edible flowers in 4 gram and 8 gram punnets. The punnets are mixed colours of yellow and purple, cream and blue, orange, and maroon – just to name a few! Violas vibrant colours and muted flavours make them great decorations for sweet and savoury dishes. In the summer months, we love to see them on cocktails and frozen into ice cubes too!

If you’re worried about the shelf life of our Violas though, fear not! You can shop Pressed Violas now, which last 6 months. Why not give our Miniature Pressed Violas a go too.

What are Pansies?

Just like Violas, Pansies have velvety petals and vegetable-like flavours. Pansies average 6cm in diameter, meaning they are bigger than Viola edible flowers, which average 3cm in diameter. Can you use Pansy flowers on sweet and savoury dishes? Of course you can! Their muted flavours but striking colours mean they add drama to a range of dishes, without interfering with the flavours. We love to see Pansy flowers on big bakes and cocktails. You can shop fresh Pansy edible flowers in a 6g punnet. Or, if you’d prefer a flower with a longer shelf life, why not try our Pressed Pansy flowers.

What’s the difference between Pansies and Violas?

  • Tates of Sussex note that Pansies were derived from Violas. Meaning, all Pansies are Violas, but not all Violas are Pansies. The Latin name for Pansy flowers (Viola x Wittrckiana) helps to explain this.
  • Pansy and Viola flowers are different when looking at the number of blooms they produce. Viola plants have more flowers compared to Pansy plants. As Pansies are larger, they ‘fill out’ a flower bed (and our greenhouses!) just as well as Violas, however, they do in fact produce less flowers. The Violas are smaller, but grow more blooms compared to Pansies. This is great for us, considering how many Viola punnets leave our doors each day!
  • The petals of these edible flowers also help to show their differences. Pansies have four petals pointing upwards, and one pointing down. Violas are different though, with three petals pointing up, and two pointing down.
  • At Nurtured in Norfolk, it feels like our Violas are available in more colours than any other flower, but this isn’t true. Instead, Pansies come in the largest variety of colours! It’s the ‘blotched cultivators’ – the Pansies with a ‘blotch’, or ‘face’ of colour in the middle, that means Pansies have the biggest variety of colours. But with so many colours to choose from, whats your favourite?!

Did you know?

Pansies and Violas prefer cooler weather. So, this delayed summer has actually been great for our greenhouses! – Not so much for our greenhouse team though!

Our pressed Pansies and Violas came about during lockdown. To prevent wasting all our flowers, we pressed the fresh edible flowers. You can read about this on our blog, ‘How we Pressed Edible Flowers to Stop Food Waste’.

If you’re cooking or baking for your best friend – or with your best friend! – today, don’t forget to tag us in your wonderful creations. Pansy and Viola edible flowers can be used to dress cakes, brownies, canapés, desserts, drinks and ice lollies, so be sure to tag us on social media so we can see how you’ve used them! You can tag us on Instagram and Facebook, or drop us an email with photos of your creations.

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