Big Pansies: Rethinking a 1960s Bedding Plant

Giant Pansies Floral Arrangement Mimi Giboin.jpg
Giant Pansies Floral Arrangement Mimi Giboin.jpg

Pansies are a flower that growers by no means have been ready to withstand attempting to “enhance.” Over the previous century, hybridizers in France, Germany, and Switzerland have all tinkered with old school Viola x wittrockiana.

Nevertheless it wasn’t till 1965 when a Japan-based breeder named Sukeo Miyazaki created an enormous—a four-inch flower on a tiny pansy physique—that these diminutive spring flowers hit the large time. Quickly after the Sakata Seed Company introduced Miyazaki’s breakthrough, the large pansies received an All-America Picks award from a commerce group of US seed growers in 1966.

Majestic Giants Combine pansy seedlings quickly turned ubiquitous bedding vegetation, planted in nice swaths on the edges of shopping center parking heaps and public parks throughout America. And just like the petunia, the impatiens, and all the opposite bedding vegetation that got here earlier than and after, the large pansy suffered a tragic destiny: It turned frequent.

How unfair. Have you ever regarded these days at an enormous pansy? The little fellow has the identical whiskered face as his extra delicate cousins—and if something, is much more expressive, with droopy jowls. Some say the large pansy seems to be cranky. I say the flower has the look of somebody who’s under-appreciated. Let’s supply some well-deserved applause.

Images by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista.

Giant pansies dwarf their diminutive cousins.
Above: Big pansies dwarf their diminutive cousins.

Planting tip: Combine giants with smaller pansy varieties. Interplant them tightly and it’ll look as in the event that they’re mingling at a crowded cocktail celebration.

 A packet of Mammoth Viva La Violet Pansy seeds is $3.25 from Stoke Seeds.

Above: A packet of Mammoth Viva La Violet Pansy seeds is $3.25 from Stoke Seeds.

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