Some Irish landscapers think Pansies have an old fashioned look about them. But, they are in fact a 19th century creation, developed from the wild flower v. tricolour. In mid Victorian times the varieties with large multi coloured faces were popular and have remained popular in Ireland ever since. In the late 1860s V. cornuta was crossed with the Garden Pansy and the result was the Viola (V.hybrida). The dividing line between the Pansy Viola is not a clear one for some landscapers. In general the Viola is more compact and not as easy to grow and the flowers are smaller and often single coloured. Both Pansies and Violas are short lived perennials which are usually grown as annuals or biennials. The plants are used by landscapers in Ireland for bedding, edging and window boxes and the flowers are cut for use indoors. Some landscaping tips would be to dead head regularly, protect from slugs and greenflies and water in the dry Irish weather.
There are a multitude of Pansy varieties available to Irish landscapers. The winter flowering group blooms in late August is sown in late spring. Varieties include Floral Dance, Celestial Queen and Helios. The large flowered groups include the Roggli Giants, Azure Blue, Majestic Giants, Queen of the Planets, Sunny Boy and Jumbo. The range of Viola varieties is smaller. A few known ones by Irish landscapers are Arkwright Beauty, Yellow Bedder, Chantreyland, Blue Heaven and Avalanche. For smaller flowers choose Bambini.
1) Any reasonable garden soil will do. Plant in sun or partial shade.
2) The average hight will be between 6 and 9 inches. The spacing should be between 9 inches and 1 foot. The flowering period is from January to December depending on what variety you use.
3) The biennial technique is usually recommended for the best results., but Pansies and Violas can be grown as annuals using either the Hardy Annual or Half Hardy Annual Technique.