Wonderful Pansies and Violas. First let me tell you the sooner you get these planted this spring the better they will do for you.
We like the penny and sorbet series for violas. For pansies most series are good but we are partial to Sky, Maxim, and Bingo. The large flowered series do not take the heat and weather as well.
The pansies that overwinter seem to do so much better in the spring.
Pansies are the number one bedding plant in the south. They are planted in mass in lots of ground beds for winter cover. If planted here in the early fall, pansies will bloom up until December. When they are covered with snow they will start blooming again in the spring.
The true hardy viola is viola tricolor or cornuta. It will come back every year in a perennial garden. It is also called Johnny Jump Up as they seem to jump out of the ground over night and bloom.
The 500+ species of semi hardy types have a lot of different breeding work with Viola tricolor, Viola altaica and others. They have been written about in literature by Homer, Virgil, and Shakespeare. There are clear faces and blotched faces. They perhaps have the most variation in flowers than any other species.
There is nothing botanically different between violas and pansies.
When the temperatures are consistently above 75 degrees they should be removed and replaced with more heat tolerant plants.
Violas in general are hardier and have smaller flowers, usually one inch or less. Pansies have flowers two inches or larger.
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