Euro-Style Violas

Viola Spreading MainViolas outsell pansies in Europe by huge numbers. Hardiness is certainly a factor—their winters are cold and wet, and the survival rate on violas is higher. Other factors are style and design. Violas favor a European look that emphasizes large blocks of clean colors. Even better: the viola can hold that color in place for a long, long time.

European breeders have responded to the demand by emphasizing violas with, frankly, phenomenal holding power. Violas will bloom before the pansies start, and they keep blooming consistently well after the pansies have petered out. The color pretty much lasts until the heat kicks in, around late spring and early summer. Our new cultivars have excellent landscape performance—they spread further and bloom earlier, longer and hardier than traditional varieties.

Viola Sorbet Purple
Viola ‘Sorbet Purple’

Then of course, there is the color. Bear in mind, Europeans favor color coverage over the size of the bloom. In their minds, violas cover a garden bed like house paint covers the side of a house. Because of this “color right now” demand from the European designers, the breeders have worked very hard to get the timing consistent among the shades. In the past, blue violas might bloom ten days before the yellow ones; now they all bloom together naturally.

Viola Sorbet Purple Yellow Delight
Viola ‘Sorbet Purple’ and ‘Yellow Delight’

Our Sorbet series is especially strong with consistent, even bloom times. We offer a wide selection of Sorbets, and we have noticed that they all bloom on cue, right when they are supposed to. This makes them an excellent choice for “ColorScaping” commercial beds rather than just planting some pansies.

Viola BlueHeaven
Viola ‘Blue Heaven’

Europeans are fussy about their colors, so we also see some of the purest, cleanest colors in the viola range. As you can see in these photos, you can plant solid blocks of clean colors using violas, side-by-side, for crisp lines and soaring arches through the landscape bed. They offer the best blues in the business—especially the light blues.

Viola en masse
Viola en masse

For a strong Euro-Style landscape, violas are your choice—although lately we’ve been noticing a change.

Viola AntiqueShades
Viola ‘Antique Shades’

American landscapers have been picking up on the strengths of violas, and we are seeing flower colors and styles offered to match American tastes. For example, if you like the traditional pansy or johnny-jump-up look, turn to the Babyface series—they look like pansies in miniature.

Viola Babyface
Viola ‘Babyface Mix’ Close

For interesting bi-color mixes, look at the Duet series. They have strong light/dark contrasts between the face and the brow of the flower.

Viola Sorbet Orange Duet
Viola ‘Sorbet Orange Duet’

And nothing is more American than a Halloween Mix.

Viola Panola Halloween Mix
Viola ‘Panola Halloween Mix’

In total, we have a large range of violas to work with.They are particularly effective for drive-by beds—gardens near traffic areas or locations where a good view from the car is important. Their color is instantly visible from a distance, and they blend well with pansies; plus, they go longer in the fall and come back earlier in the spring than pansies. Available in 804, 1801L, 6-inch and 8-inch color bowls, violas are strong, versatile performers as color plants for both fall and spring designs.

Pansy Viola
Pansy and Viola