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Seed Starting: Pansy And Viola


January is the tale-end of the seed starting season for Pansy and Viola seeds. At least it is for me since I typically start them in November. I like to give the seeds of these two varieties plenty of time to germinate, grow and flower. Ideally I want mine in bloom and hardened off by the end of March. These are some of the first flowers I plant in the garden – and in window boxes.

In fact, here in Indiana, USDA Hardiness Zones 5 and 6, I often get them to overwinter outdoors and bloom throughout the winter months. They do die back during the hardest part of winter, but typically come back to life as the weather warms up. Sometimes they set seed. I allow this to drop into the garden or window box because I know when the time is right, the seeds will germinate and I will have a surprise flower in the garden.

Pansy and Viola are ideal seeds for winter seed sowing. The seeds germinate best when the soil temperatures are between 65 and 75 degrees F. The seeds need darkness to germinate, so cover them with 1/4 inch soil, seed starting medium or vermiculite. You do not need to worry about covering the seeds that fall into the garden on their own. Let nature take care of that. The average germination time is 10 to 21 days.

Here are the varieties I am growing this year and a little bit about them:

Pansy Swiss Giants Mixed Colors:

Fragrant, extra-large blooms make this particular variety of pansy popular with gardeners. The plants reach a mature height of 6 to 8 inches. Space plants 4 to 6 inches apart.

The average time for germination is 10 to 20 days. This variety does tolerate light frost. Deadhead – or remove – the faded flowers to encourage continual bloom. A good companion plant is the low-growing annual babies breath.


Viola Helen Mount:

What can I say? I cut out the name of the seeds and threw the rest of the tag away. I’m not sure why I did that.


Viola cornuta Painted Black:

Disclaimer: This was a trial packet of seeds given to me for review by the seed company. All opinions are my own and are honest.

There was no information that came with this packet of seeds about this particular plant. I will germinate the seeds using my own knowledge.

Other varieties of Pansies and Violas I have grown include:

Pansy – white with dark purple face

Pansy ‘Banner Daffodil Mixed Hybrid’

Pansy ‘Black’

Pansy ‘Cello Violet Face’

Pansy ‘Chalon Formula Mix’

Pansy ‘Flambe Red Hybrid’

Pansy ‘Flameco Hybrid Mix’

Pansy ‘Flamenco F1 Hybrid’

Pansy ‘Flamenco Hybrid Mix’

Pansy ‘Light Strawberry Sundae Hybrid’

Pansy ‘Mixed Colors’

Pansy ‘Paper White’

Pansy ‘Petite Bronze Hybrid’

Pansy ‘Purple Rain’

Pansy ‘Rhine Gold’

Pansy ‘Rippling Waters’

Pansy ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Pansy ‘Springtime Lemon Splash Hybrid’

Pansy ‘Swiss Giant’

Pansy ‘Ultima Morpho’

Pansy ‘Universal Citrus Hybrid Mixed Colors’

Viola – seed saved from the garden

Viola ‘Baby Lucia’

Viola ‘Bambini Mixed Colors’

Viola ‘Blue on blue’

Viola ‘Bowles Black’

Viola ‘Cuty’

Viola ‘Jewel Yellow’

Viola ‘King Henry’

Viola ‘Miniola Purple Heart’

Viola ‘Prince John’

Viola ‘Satin Bou doir’

Viola ‘Velour Blue Bronze’

Viola ‘Victorian Posy Pansies’

Viola ‘Violin purple and white’

Viola ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’

Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Orange Duet’

Viola cuculata ‘Striata Alba’

Viola koreana ‘Sylettas’

Viola tricolor – Johnny Jump Up

Viola variegate v. nipponica

Viola x wittrockiana ‘Flamenco’

Viola x wittrockiana ‘Satin Boudoir Pansies’

Viola xwilliamsii ‘Angel Black’

Viola xwilliamsii ‘Angel Frosted Yellow Blotch’

Viola xwilliamsii ‘Angel Tiger Eye’

Are you interested in knowing even more about seed saving and starting? Check out my book The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Seed Saving & Starting! 

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