Top 16 early-flowering pansies

Andrew Eames picks his favourites from the 914 varieties at the Meadowcroft pansy and viola festival. More Violas than ever were on display as breeders have worked hard to select early-flowering varieties.

Pansy Dynamite SM5-255. Image: Andrew Eames
Pansy Dynamite SM5-255. Image: Andrew Eames

Orange colours were once a nuisance, but Pansy Carrera Tangerine from Rudy Raes has good colour. It is a good size, flowers in step with others in the series and holds its flowers well.

Pansy Dynamite SM5-255 from Sakata as a good pedigree and these bright colours stand out of the series. Good plant habit and expected to give a good garden performance.

Part of a series from Ball Colegrave, Pansy Fizzy Raspberry has overcome the late flowering problem. Despite growers' suspicions the public still love frilly varieties.

Pansy Mariposa Peach Shades may be an acquired taste, but other colours in this series from Goldsmith have performed well and we can expect this one to grow and flower well too.

Pansy Frizzle Sizzle Blue from Kieft has solid flowers that stand up well. A good series with seven colours on show, these would make an unusual line for more discerning retail customers.

Pansy Promise White Blotch is part of a different series from Kieft, with 12 or more colours in 'shades' or 'blotches.' White blotch is particularly attractive with a large flower held up well.

Though growers may find it a weak plant that doesn't hold its flowers well, Viola Valentine has consistently proved popular with the public, always scoring well in the trials.

The 'Xp' series of Sorbet are being selected for even more uniformity than the original series. Viola Sorbet Xp Deep Orange from Ball Colegrave will flower early and has a deep solid colour.

Another unusual colour from Kieft, Viola Skippy Carmine Rose is more like a real rich raspberry shade. It is another colour that members of the public are likely to be attracted to.

Viola Penny Orange Jump-Up is a long-term favourite with the public who love the 'Jump-Up' types, especially this unusual colour combination. Part of Goldsmiths very successful and very extensive series.

Listed by breeders Farmen as a Pansy, Viola Pandora Purple with White Face has unusual flowers and illustrates the appeal of the variable flower patterning and colour - and lots of them, too.

Viola Pandora Azure with Lemon Face has many small bicolour flowers of the type attractive to retail customers. Early flowering, it gives lots of flowers by early March when the trial was held.

Not very white but extremely pretty little plants Viola Floral Power White Rose Wing from Sahin is an extremely early flowerer and had already peaked by the trial.

Viola S&G Upright Rose (experimental) will be unpopular with growers but has a sought after colour for the retail customer. It has whiskers in the face of the flower which is held up well.

Viola Sahin Gold Purple (experimental) is likely to prove popular with the public for its variable flower colour and patterning.This early flowering variety is very prolific.

With plenty of two-coloured flowers with interesting markings Viola trailing Floranova Purple White (experimental) is the latest of numerous trailing Viola varieties now being introduced by breeders.

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