Vital violas for winter and spring

November 8th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Viola 'Sorbet Mixed'

There are two kinds of violets. Some are propagated from cuttings and although the flowers are very pretty and come in a wide range of colours and combinations their season tends to be short and the plants become straggly. But they’re hardy perennials and last for two or three years in the garden.

And then there are the seed-raised types which are more compact, more prolific, flower in winter and spring and come in a wonderful range of colours, with new ones added almost every year. But after spring, when they’re done, they really need to go on the compost heap.

Most of us have room for both types but at this time of year it’s the winter and spring flowering varieties that we need to get ordered and planted, they’re ideal for containers by the front door, and there are three lovely new colours released this season. All are from the Sorbet Series, by far and away the best of the neat and bushy violas.

‘Sorbet XP Yellow Blue Jump Up’ has yellow flowers with purple-blue tips to the tops of the petals and a neat little purple-blue chin. ‘Sorbet XP Neptune’ has a slightly more rounded white flower, whiskered in the centre and with a bold deep blue edge. ‘Sorbet Honeybee’ is a blend of pale terracotta, honey, gold and rich yellow with black whiskers. If you prefer a more traditional mixture ‘Sorbet Mixed’ is the one to look for.

The plants are often in bud when they arrive, plant them straight away and they’ll flower through the winter hitting their peak in the spring. The Sorbet violas are the best bushy violas on the planet. Give ‘em a try.

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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