Violas, pansies and sweet violets are great bedding plants. Find facts and info on growing and caring for for viola, pansies, and sweet violets. They have been developed from violas to be more adapted for planting in more formal places than the original wild species. All of this group makes great bedding plants.
In climates where summers are relatively cool and moist, bedding violas are invaluable plants for providing broad masses of color throughout the summer. They are useful in formal beds, mixed flower borders, as ground cover under roses and for other purposes.
They are less rich in color than pansies, but will have a longer flowering season if the weather is agreeable. They are not well adapted to hot, dry summers. Whereas pansies may start the season with very large flowers, they will soon grow smaller as the temperatures increase.
Violas, on the other hand, maintain their size, quality, and their abundant flowers from spring until autumn in a truly remarkable manner.
Among the bedding violas there is a wide range of colors, from white through pale yellow to deep gold, pale lavender, violet, mauve-purple and rose-lilac, as well as many fancy bi-colors.
Pansies are very popular for their flowers of rich and varied colorings and their handsome markings. A few varieties of pansy, or special merit, such as Arkwright’s Ruby, which has blood-red flowers, are sometimes propagated from cuttings, but the usual way with pansies is to raise them annually from seeds, unless you choose to buy plants from a nursery. An interesting curiosity is the black pansy, which comers fairly tru from seed and in its best forms is probably the blackest flower there is. It is a beautiful velvety black that sometimes has shading to a deep violet-black center.
Sweet violets represent another section of the genus Viola. This group is a universal favorite. They are grown chiefly to produce flowers for picking and bunching, and are cultivated both in greenhouses and outdoors.
Pansies and bedding violas are most commonly propagated from seeds. However, in the case of pansies, like bedding violas, they can be increased by cuttings. Bedding violas, in climates where summers are cool enough to be adapted to their culture, are usually propagated by cuttings but are easily raised from seeds. So you have a choice of methods to choose from. If you have a potting bench, chances are you enjoy potting and growing your plants from seeds.
If you decide to plant seeds of pansies and bedding violas, it is important to have fresh seeds and to select suitable dates for sowing them. In many places late July or early August is the best time to choose. The seeds may be planted either indoors or in a well-ventilated cold frames. In either case, the soil should be made to be of a fine texture with plenty of peat moss, humus added.
You should sow the seeds and keep the seedbed shaded and evenly moist, but not constantly saturated. Gradually reduce the shade as the seedlings develop and, when they are big enough to handle conveniently, transplant them to nursery beds outdoors or in cold frames. Keep the soil free of weeds and don’t let the soil dry out if the weather gets dry.