Botanically speaking, violas, pansies, and almost all violets are perennials belonging to the genus Viola.
However, violas and pansies are usually treated as annuals, invaluable for winter and spring bloom in mild-winter areas, for spring-through-summer color in colder climates.
Typically used for mass color in borders and edgings, as covers for spring-flowering bulbs, in containers. Violets are more often used as woodland or rock garden plants.
Violas and pansies take sun or partial shade; violets grow in part or full shade (except as noted), but most are natives of deciduous forests and bloom best with at least some sun during the flowering season.
Violet of song and story. To 8 in. high, 1/2 ft. wide. In cool, mild climates, can spread widely by seeds and runners, possibly becoming a pest. Dark green, heart-shaped, 2 1/2 -in.-long leaves with toothed margins. Fragrant, short-spurred flowers 3/4 in. or wider in deep violet, bluish rose, or white.