Violas are very similar to Pansies in their flower shape, except they don't have a face and the blooms are a lot smaller (about the size of a 10˘ coin). They come in a very wide variety of colours from Apricots, Reds, Yellows, Blues, Whites and many more, so they make for great displays and are very well suited to mass displays of striking colour patterns.

Violas grow into a plump little bush to about 15 - 20cm. This makes them ideal for most situations as they are compact and produce a tight display of vibrant green foliage and stunning colours.
Choose a position situated in the full sun. Violas will grow in semi shade but for best results and an abundance of flower they prefer a sunny spot. The soil should be prepared with Searles® Real Compost or 5 IN 1® Organic Plant Food. To give them an extra kick, add a couple of handfuls of Kickalong® Organic Complete Garden. Violas love good drainage so a raised bed is ideal.

Pansies can also be grown in pots or hanging baskets and they look wonderful when grown this way. When planting them, be sure to use a premium potting mix. For outdoor pots and tubs, use Searles® Pots & Tubs Potting Mix. For outstanding results with hanging baskets, use Searles Peat 80 Plus® Potting mix.
Violas are easily grown from seed. Two terrific varieties that are sold by Searles® are "Johnny Jump up" and "Large Flowered Mixed". Sow seed in Autumn & Winter, using Searles® Seed Raising Mix. Keep the mix moist and once the seedlings are at the stage of having 2 - 3 leaves, transplant them into the garden or pot them into small pots to grow on to a more advanced plant before planting out.

Violas are also available in seedling form (punnets) from your local Garden Centre. Being a plant that flowers at a young age they can give you an instant affect in the garden.

Plant the seedlings about 15 - 20cm apart and water them in with SeaMa® Fish & Kelp Soluble Fertiliser.
A good deep drink twice a week will be sufficient for most gardens. More may be required for pots & baskets, especially as they come into flower.
Once plants are established, to prolong and boost flowering, use Searles® Liquid potash every 1-2 weeks. Searles® Liquid Potash contains both Potassium and Phosphorus and promotes more flowers, brighter colours and longer flowering.
Remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms and once plants become long & lanky dig them out to make space for new season flowers.

Violas love sun and are basically pest free. They are an extremely long-lived easy to care annual that flowers for months. With lots of new varieties being added to the huge range each year there is sure to be a colour to suit everybody.

Try some new releases like Harbour Lights & Baby Face, and keep an eye out for the Black Viola. Yes it is actually black.

Violas will also self seed and will keep coming back year after year.

Happy Gardening with Searles from the Searle family.

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