Annuals A - Z: All About Annual Flowers & Plants, by Graham Rice

Discovering Annuals, by Graham Rice

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Annuals A-Z

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Viola (Pansies and violas)
Growing guide

Pansies and violas are amongst our most colourful and prolific of annuals. What's more they're so adaptable that they can be in flower in every month of the year in many climates.

Pansies have large flamboyant flowers, violas have larger numbers of smaller flowers. New varieties are appearing all the time and small-flowered violas for winter and spring are becoming increasingly popular at the expense of larger flowered summer pansies. Perhaps the most attractive feature of the whole group is the vast range of colours and colour combinations &endash; there's a variety for every taste.

Type Hardy biennial or half hardy annual.
Garden conditions When pansies and violas are grown for winter and spring colour, they all enjoy plenty of sunshine. When grown for summer, they appreciate shade in hotter areas. Any reasonably fertile soil which is not too wet suits them well. They thrive in containers of all kinds.
Sowing indoors Sow in fresh seed compost and cover the seed lightly. Keep the temperature below 75F/22C or the seed may germinate poorly.
Pricking out Prick out into trays as soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle.
Growing on Grow on cool to prevent lank growth.
Planting out Plant out in autumn for winter and spring flowering, in early spring for spring and early summer flowering and in late spring for summer and autumn flowering.
Sowing outdoors Seed of cheaper varieties, where packets contain lots of seeds, can be sown outside in a partially shaded place in summer.
Care in the garden Plants in containers appreciate regular feeding; dead-heading will encourage them all to flower for longer.
Pests and diseases Greenfly is the main problem, use a soap spray; leaf spot can be damaging in damp seasons, look out for a suitable fungicide.

Pansy 'Universal Plus'

Viola (Pansy) 'Universal Plus'
Ruffled pansies
Viola 'Moonbeam'
Viola (Pansy) 'Can Can Colette'

Variety guide
Viola (small flowered, all season)
: Sorbet Series (13 colours), Penny Series (9 colours).
Viola (large flowered, all season): Velour Series (10 colours)
Viola (small flowered, summer): Princess Series (6 colours)
Viola ( small flowered, trailing, summer): 'Moonbeam' (yellow), 'Starbeam' (blue), 'Purple Rain' (purple).
Pansy (medium flowered, all seasons): Universal Plus Series (19 colours), Ultima Series (26 colours)
Pansy (medium flowered, summer): Imperial Series (6 colours)
Pansy (large flowered, summer): Majestic Giants (6 colours)

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