baby pansies

brandymulvaineMarch 3, 2008

I have started some pansies inside under lights and they have sprouted!! I am so excited:-) They are just run-of-the-mill mixed(Giant Fancy though) I also have some Pansy Trimardeau Mix that I will start soon. One package says annuals and the other isn't labeled are they truely annuals?


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stefanb8(z7 MD)

Congratulations on the babies! They are all wonderful plants no matter what the variety. Whether they are really annuals or short-lived perennials depends on each individual plant, how hot it gets in the summer and how cold it gets in the winter (there could be other variables, but these are the most important). At best you might hope for two or three seasons, although it may be possible to root them from cuttings to keep a particular clone going longer (but I've never been successful doing it, personally). Within a single batch you might find some that die after one year, and others that live longer. They don't like summer heat but will survive as long as they don't get too much sun or get too dry - but they do enjoy sun in the cool of spring and fall. They can take moderate winter cold, but in the northern states they do best with plenty of snow cover to protect them from the elements. Some of them may be able to reseed, but you will probably find that any seedlings have smaller flowers than their parents did (because the parents were likely F1 hybrids themselves, and that hybrid advantage breaks down in the second generation). For some of the pansy charm and color range but greater garden longevity/reseeding ability, you might look into their smaller cousins, the violas.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 9:22PM
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Thanks Stefanb8! They have just started getting their true leaves and will need to be transplanted into their own pots soon. I have seed for viola(Cornuta) and another pansy called Trimardeau. I wintersowed the viola a couple of weeks ago and we still have snow so not much to report there! I might try some viola inside. The Trimardeau said it needed darkness to germ but I didn't on the other pansy, does that sound right?? I am also ordering from Canyon Creek Nursery: Clives Groves,Fair Oaks,Priceana,and Alice Witter. Has anyone heard of Viola Valley Wildflowers? They have birdsfoot violets, which I want to order but I don't have any feedback about them. Thanks for any info!!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 11:29AM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

Sorry, I hadn't been checking back here! Yes, I think it might help to keep all the pansies in the dark until they germinate. Those are nice violets from Canyon Creek - the Priceana and Alice Witter may stage a rapid takeover in your garden ;) Never heard of the third nursery; bird's foot violets can be relatively difficult to grow because they have different requirements from most other violets. They tend to like rather acidic, dry/well-drained/rocky soils in quite a bit of sun.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 7:27AM
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Greetings Stefanb8,
I have transplanted the pansies to bigger pots(66 of them!) Two of them seem to have varigated leaves,I'll report more when they have more than two true leaves!
I started some others inside but forgot to label them
(thumping of head on desk) Maybe viola princess mix??
Nothing to report on the Viola Cornuta, other than it's still a frozen block of dirt!LOL! I will start the Trimardeau inside as soon as room permits.
I ordered viola pedata, canadinsis, pubescens, and blanda from viola valley wildflowers. So will keep everyone posted on how that goes. I expect them between May 15th to April 1st. I hope to have my rose garden done by then so I can plant violets in there(sans the pedata)or maybe just in pots until the roses can provide enough shade.-B

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 11:24AM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)


I think your idea sounds wonderful! Roses and violets make great companions (pedata excepted, as you noted) in my experience. The violets will take much more sun than you might think as long as they get plenty of water, mulch, and perhaps food if you're feeling generous. They'll certainly let you know if they aren't happy well before they decide to croak. Viola canadensis is another of those very aggressive types, in fact, maybe too large and aggressive for roses. Try it in a patch all on its own for a while, then see if you think the other plants will be up for trying it as a companion. I've seen it grown with nothing but tough foundation shrubs to good effect, but I'd worry for any roses in its company. Viola blanda is a sweetheart, definitely a cool, moist shade lover in my experience (unlike most violets that are more adaptable), but still fairly easy to grow and with a delicious fragrance if you bundle up enough flowers into a mini-posie. The light green leaves are refreshing in any season and look wonderful with moss, which it likes growing with anyway.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:04PM
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Thanks for the tip V. Blanda. every day I can see more and more dirt and brown grass, soon the bulbs will be coming up, I can hardly wait!! I have noticed that all the stuff I have started from seed are pansies even though it says viola. I have so much to learn! Are there any clues in the latin name as to what they are? Thanks -B

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 2:54PM
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stefanb8(z7 MD)

It's actually partly a human categorization issue, and partly real science - because pansies, violas, Johnny-jump-ups, and violets (or any other names you like) as we loosely know them are all members of the genus Viola and their various common names are governed by little more than linguistic convention, certainly no formal rules. The species they are generally considered to belong to or were bred from come from different botanical sections of the genus (it may help to think of some species as siblings, others as cousins, even though they may share the same last name); generally speaking, species from different sections of a genus tend to be incapable of hybridizing (although it is also true that not all species within a section can hybridize, they often can, although in the wild there is usually some factor in play that prevents it from happening).

Pansies, for instance, are hybrids that are generally referred to with the Latin name Viola x wittrockiana. I don't know that we are even certain which species make up the complex hybrid, but it probably includes the likes of Viola tricolor, Viola lutea, and maybe Viola altaica if not others as well.

All, however, can arguably be called violets, since they are members of the genus Viola and that is considered a reasonable (if somewhat imprecise) common name for any species in it. But not all violets are pansies, or Johnny-jump-ups, in most peoples' minds. An analog might be the genus Rhododendron; all members of the genus can be referred to as rhododendrons, but only members of certain sections of that genus are conventionally called azaleas. You could call any of them azaleas, and you could even call a violet an azalea, but nobody would know what you were talking about and some people might look at you funny. :)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 9:49PM
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