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Viola and pansy seeds

I bought some viola and pansy plugs last autumn and they flowered really well for months on end - really impressive!

I saved seeds in late spring as I hoped for the same again but was confused as to how to get them to grow!  I have heard a few different opinions on how to get violas to germinate, so about 4 weeks ago I sowed some outside in my mini plastic greenhouse, and some inside on my south facing kitchen windowsill. So far only the pansy seeds in the greenhouse have geminated, no sign of anything else.

I am doing something wrong, and I guess it is too late in the year now to get any plants grown in time for this winter (or is there anything I can do?!).  But for future, when is the best time to sow for a winter show, do they need sunlight, dark, cold or warm conditions to germinate?  I just can't seem to find any definitive info for the UK!




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  • Hi Caz11, my summer violas have been spreading their seeds all over the garden this summer. I am now finding little plants growing every where. I have uprooted them and put them in cells and over wintering them in a cold greenhouse. There are to small for this winter but hopefully will be ready for spring.

    I think you will have to sow seeds in the summer for the winter? I'm going to have a go myself next summer for a winter display

  • Hi Caz 11, I have just read again your last paragraph about germination. I live in the North-East of Scotland, I can only tell you what works for me and what I have found out about violas.

    I germinate my seeds indoors to have a steady warm enviroment. Once germinated and true leaves have appeared I take them to cool but bright area of the garden, I use the north side of the garden, to grow on. I have found that in the early days they do not like it too hot, so keep them out of direct summer sun.

    If sowing for a summer display I grow them on in the spring in a cool greenhouse when the spring sun is bright but not to hot.

    Hope that helps

  • I planted some violas and pansies back in late july or so, maybe a bit later and they are flowering now. I just potted them up outside and let nature take its course (I did water them and that, sometimes a little feed). Hoping they keep going for me. 

  • caz11caz11 Posts: 25

    Thanks for the replies, I should have sowed these seeds much earlier in the year for a display this winter, I'm annoyed now as I completely forgot!

    marklikesbees, you say you are overwintering your little plants in a cold greenhouse, but I am guesing summer flowering ones aren't as hardy?  My winter ones last year kept flowering all through the snow and hard frosts and they were all in containers so I know they are tough little things!

    I feel dumb for asking this but is it true that in general all seeds need warmth (but not direct sunlight) to actually get germination going or do some need cold?

    I guess it's an experiment to see what works as I have got some seeds sowed everywhere!

    Fingers crossed

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  • caz11caz11 Posts: 25
    I only have viola and pansy seeds going, I also have some pelargonium still flowering I'd like to take seed from too. I also have cuttings of lavender and penstemon and plan to plant some bulbs at the weekend. I'm new to growing from seed and division having only bought ready grown plants up until this year, I plan to grow lots more from early next year, unless there is anything more I can start now?
  • Hi Caz11, like you I'm quite new to growing viola and pansies from seed I have been collecting. What info I'm picking up from seed packets and books, is that you can start sowing them any time of the year, depending when you want them to flower. I could be wrong. The ones I'm overwintering are the ones that self-seeded themseleves during the summer. I only started seeing them around the garden about September. They are about 3cm high now so i doubt they with mature for the winter. So hopefully they will be flowring in the spring.

    I'm going to be sowing my summer flowering ones around the end of February, indoors, untill germination. then once true leaves appear, grow on in cooler conditions. For me, in the North-East of Scotland, thats my unheated greenhouse.

    What I want to know is, are all viola and pansy seeds the same or are there winter, spring, summer and auturm seed types. I have a paper bag with seeds I have been collected and going to experiment with growing them different times of the year image

  • caz11caz11 Posts: 25
    Hi marklikesbees, yes that's what I'm going to do, keep sowing them at different times of year! There is still nothing coming up so far, apart from the 1 pot of tiny litle pansy sprouts in the mini geeenhouse, I am wondering if I need to brig them inside for brig them on hmm... all part of the fun!
  • caz11caz11 Posts: 25
    *bring them inside to bring them on rather!
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