December 5, 2015
December 6, 2015 Are you looking for some cold weather color besides pansies? I’ve got the answer for you. Voila! The viola. Pansy and viola are close cousins. The pansy flower is bigger, but the viola certainly matches the pansy in color. So why plant viola instead of pansy? One good reason is in my experience, the viola is more cold tolerant. The viola can easily thrive from Thanksgiving all of the way through Easter. Violas come in many colors. Check out this sea of color with sorbet yellow. Like colorful sunsets? Try sorbet orange. Need to brighten up your entire bed? Sorbet white is almost blinding bright. There are even some really nice multi-colors like Sorbet Jump Up Mix as well. Other colors include Blue Heaven, Carmine Rose and Icy Blue. Botanically, these are called viola cornuta. But most gardeners I know call them by their common name… Johnny jump-up. They get this name due to the fact they are prolific seed producers. This allows them to re-seed themselves and jump up year after year. The flowers are produced in prolific numbers, and displayed high above the compact lush-green foliage in a way that says, “Hey…look at me!” For the best landscape performance and display, always plant viola in big masses. Most violas will only spread about 6 inches, so spacing is important. So if you’re looking for some cold tolerant color, don’t be a pansy. Plant some violas in your gardens this winter. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman, and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.