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Polyanthus "Crescendo Mixed"

March 06, 2010 19:46

 

Polyanthus

It's not easy finding different plants to provide winter colour. You're basically restricted to winter pansies, violas and polyanthus. Of the three I find that pansies and violas can be knocked out by a wet winter and they also don't grow too well in my mostly shady garden. Hence why I plant polyanthus every year for my winter colour.

Maybe describing them as winter colour is a bit too much. They tend to stop flowering during the coldest, darkest days, but they will flower reliably from early spring and, if you plant them early enough they will also give some colour in the autumn.

Polyanthus are similar to a primrose with a rosette of dark green ridged leaves. But, whereas primrose flowers are held tightly in the center of the plant, a polyanthus holds it's flowers at the top of a 6-8in (15-18cm) stem. They also tend to be hardier than primroses.

Flowers are available in white, blue, red, yellow and orange. You can often buy each colour separately but prefer to go for maximum impact and plant a mixture. Plant them 6-8in (15-18cm) apart for good coverage and maximum colour.

They are not overly fussy about soil conditions, as long as it is not overly dry (hardy a problem in an English winter). I like to mix in a little composted horse manure or similar when I'm planting them. Aftercare simply consists of removing the fading flower heads to prolong flowering.

Photo by Gitaz Vlogg

 

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