Winter Color Guide

Winter Color Guide

 PANSIES

Pansies are one of the most popular and recognizable cool weather annuals across the country. Pansies offer charming round flowers that create a pop of color from fall till spring. Pansies and violas have edible flowers frequently used to add unique color to salads or cakes. There are an abundance of varieties all with an array of colors and mixes. Pansies flowers can come with what we gardeners like to call a “face” or blotch. This is a usually a dark colored pattern in the middle of the bloom that gives each flower even more character. Here at the Tallahassee Nurseries we routinely carry 4-7 different varieties in as many different colors as possible, giving you the best selection for your garden.

Temperature: It is important to wait to plant pansies and violas until evening temperatures produce a nip in the air and summer’s heat dissipates. Planting while it’s warm forces plants into stress creating lanky, weak plants susceptible to insect and disease damage.

Sun Needs: Plant your pansies in afternoon sun with well-drained soil for best results. With less sunlight in the winter due to shorter days it’s best to give most of your winter annuals a good dose of sunlight preferably during the middle of the day.

Fertilization: Fertilize every 3-4 weeks with Flower Tone and remember to keep your new planted pansies well watered for the first several weeks to get your plants off to a strong and healthy start. Deadheading or pruning off spent flowers will keep your plants looking better and blooming more.

Lastly, you don’t need to worry about frosts or freezes with pansies. Grown as far north as Minnesota and southern Canada, these plants don’t mind our cold and will not need winter protection.

NOTABLE PANSY SERIES:

  • Majestic Giant Series
    • Characteristics: Larger blooms reaching 4” in width. Traditionally, each color features a blotch in the center, but newer versions also come in solid colors.
    • Colors: Blue, Purple, Rose, Scarlet, White, Yellow, Marina Shades, Mix
  • Frizzle Sizzle Series
    • Characteristics: Medium-sized flowers that are highly ruffled.
    • Colors: Multi-colored
  • Delta Series
    • Characteristics: This series has one the largest and some of the most unique variations in colors of any pansy series. They have short stems, which keep the flowers held up right. Medium bloom size.
    • Colors: Pure Colors Mix, Pure Light Blue, True Blue, Beaconsfield, Citrus Mix, Pure Lemon, Orange, Red, Rose
  • Trailing Pansies
    • Characteristics: Trailing pansies have the same large flowers as traditional pansies but they stay low and spread. They’re perfect for hanging baskets or spilling out of patio containers. These pansies grow faster and hold up better through rain and weather. 
    • Colors: Shades of Blue, White, Yellow, Purple, and Rose
 
 

VIOLAS

Appearing much like pansies, violas sometimes known as Johnny Jump Ups have smaller blooms than their larger flowered cousins but make up for it by producing more blooms per plant. These little flowers come in even more colors and mixes than pansies with new varieties coming out each year. This gives you the opportunity to find the perfect color for your garden. Violas flowers are edible and can be used as a delightful garnish for any number of dishes most commonly on baked goods.

Temperature: Like pansies, wait until appropriately cool weather approaches to plant your violas. Planting during warm, summer-like weather creates weak stretched plants that are not as healthy in the long run. Once established, violas handle warmer temperatures pansies and their bounce back faster from rain.

Sun Needs: Plant your violas in a sunny location with well-drained soil. Violas look great in containers, hanging baskets or in the landscape. Fertilize every 3-4 weeks with Flower Tone. Violas are one of the easiest cool season annuals to grow but give you some of the biggest color. As with pansies no need to worry about violas during icy nights. Frost and ice may knock back the blooms but established plants should have no problem.

NOTABLE VIOLA SERIES:

  • Penny Series
    • Characteristics: Blooms tend to be larger than most varieties. An extremely large array of colors and mixes. Cold and heat tolerant.
    • Colors: Blue, Citrus Mix, Deep Blue, Denim, Jump Up Mix, Marina, Mickey, Orange, Primrose Bicolor, Violet, White, Winter Mix, Yellow, Yellow Jump Up, and more
  • ColorMax Series
    • Characteristics: Heavy bloomers. An abundant mix of colors! Heat tolerant. Larger flower.    
    • Colors: Blue, Yellow, Orange, Purple, Pink, White
 
 

SNAPDRAGONS

Snapdragons offer bright colors on tall stalks with a light fragrance. There are several different series that offer varying heights ranging from 6” to 36” giving you options to find the snapdragon best suited for your garden. Snapdragons are also gorgeous additions to fresh cut arrangements and bouquets.

Sun Needs & Care: They should be planted in afternoon sun during the fall or early spring and with the right conditions, they can last right up ‘til summer. Cutting back spent bloom stalks is recommended to encourage better branching on the plant giving you sturdier plant with more color. Taller varieties look great at the back of bed and might require staking especially after rain. Lower growing varieties are a good choice  for hanging baskets or at the front of a boarder or container.

Fertilization: Fertilize in the spring and fall once every 3-4 weeks with Flower Tone to keep your snaps looking beautiful. Hard freezes and frosts can brown open blooms and newly set buds. Light cloth can be used to insulate and protect your snaps. Snapdragons are listed as deer resistant.

NOTABLE SNAPDRAGON SERIES:

  • Low-Growing (Montego, Snapshot, Floral Showers)
    • Characteristics: These snaps only reach between 6-10” tall. They’re short and bushy plants that bloom more often than taller varieties and don’t require any staking. Looks great planted in a mass. Easy care.
    • Colors: Bronze, Pink, Rose, White, and Yellow. They also come in exciting and unique bicolored flowers.
  • Medium-Growing (Sonnets, Liberty, Snaptastic)
    • Characteristics: Most commonly used, these grow between 12-18” tall. Benefit from occasional pruning. Flower stalks are often used in cut floral arrangements. Plant in the ground or in a container.
    • Colors: Bronze, Crimson, Pink, Magenta, Rose, Yellow, and White.
  • Tall-Growing (Rocket)
    • Characteristics: The tallest growing snapdragon reaching between 2’ and 3’ tall. Benefit from occasional pruning. May require staking. It’s long flower stalks make for stunning cut flower arrangements. Their flowers also have a stronger spicy aroma that you’ll love in the garden or in a cut arrangement. Best grown in the ground.
    • Colors: Crimson, Rose, Magenta, Yellow, Bronze, White. Other selections and colors may be available in seed.

  

PETUNIAS

One of the most popular annuals grown around the country. Petunias come in a very large range of colors and styles. What makes them so popular is the fact that they can be grown so easily and produce seemingly endless amounts of color. They are most commonly used in hanging baskets or in containers as an element to spill over the edge of the pot. Some varieties stay mounded and compact while others are intended to trail and ramble. Recommended planting distance is one plant every one square foot.

Temperature: Petunias here in Tallahassee grow the best fall through spring. Our relentless summer humidity and heat tend to be too much for most petunia varieties.

Sun Needs: They’re best planted in afternoon sunlight but can handle some shade.

Maintenance & Care: Newer varieties of petunias, including the ones we carry are labeled as self-deadheading. This means each blooms falls off the stem on its own and requires less work from you. However, it is recommended that you do trim back plants throughout the season to encourage branching and to keep your plant looking healthy. Fertilize every 3-4 weeks with Flower-tone. If you’re growing petunias in a hanging basket we’d recommend fertilizing with Osmocote which can last several months with just one application. New colors and patterns of petunias come out each year so it is always a good idea to check back into the nursery and to see what’s come in! Petunias can handle light frosts but for harder freezing conditions it’s best to protect your plants.

NOTABLE PETUNIA SERIES:

  • Wave Series
    • Characteristics: These are a great trailing variety that come in several bright colors. They impress in hanging baskets or on the edge of a container to spill over the side. If used in the landscape, they stay low and spread up to several feet around. 
    • Colors: Red, White, Pink, Purple
  • Supertunias
    • Characteristics: The most popular choice by far among petunias here at the nursery. These workhorses are bred to handle the heat and humidity better than any variety. Bubblegum Pink, the original color is still our favorite. It’s a vigorous plant with profuse amounts of soft pink flowers that will simply astound you. Supertunias are robust enough to be planted in the ground. Quickly fills out a patio container, window box, or hanging basket.
    • Colors: Bubble gum, Bordeaux, Black Cherry, Royal Velvet, DayBreak Charm, Silverberry, White.
  • SuperCals
    • Characteristics: These sturdy plants have superior weather durability holding up better and bouncing back faster after rain. SuperCals have larger flowers that come in many unique and vibrant colors. They work well as trailing elements or as a mounding filler option in a container.
    • Colors: Various
 

ALYSSUM

These beautiful small white flowers make a delightful addition to mixed beds, hanging baskets and containers or make a graceful impact by themselves. Alyssum has a sweet delicate fragrance and is very attractive to many types of pollinators. It comes in a small but charming color range of white, purple, and pink. They give you an eye-catching professional look without the effort. New varieties appear almost yearly. Make sure to check in each season to see what’s come in! Try them with trailing petunias and snapdragons for an easy and great-looking display.

Sun Needs & Care: Alyssum in our climate grows best in the spring and fall. During periods of ice and frost, it is best to move alyssum into a protected area if in a pot or cover it with a breathable cloth if planted in the ground. Plant them in full sun particularly in fall while day length is shorter. Towards the onset of summer you can try giving alyssum a bit more shade to extend its season into our warmer months.

Fertilization: Fertilize in the spring and fall once every 3-4 weeks with Flower Tone to keep them looking beautiful. Hard freezes and frosts can brown open blooms and newly set buds. Light cloth can be used to insulate and protect your cool-weather annuals.

NOTABLE ALYSSUM VARIETIES:

  • Snow Princess: This plant, by our standard, is the best performing and heat-hardy alyssum on the market. It grows full and large quickly with an abundance of white flowers. A favorite among our container designers and local landscapers. Excellent addition to a mix patio container as a spiller that works well with lots of colors and flower combinations. Definitely give this plant a try!
  • White Knight & Dark Knight: Cousins of Snow princess, the Knight series offers superior performance but in a slightly smaller size. The flowers are ever so smaller than ‘Snow Princess’ but stays more compact as the plant matures. Its eventual smaller size makes it easier to use in smaller containers or window boxes. Dark Knight performs and grows similarly but instead offers a rich purple flower to your garden or container.
  • Stream Series: Another choice that has excellent garden performance and heat tolerance. Its flowers are slightly smaller than Snow Princess but they still show up in mass. Another great choice for a raised bed, patio container, hanging basket, or window box.
 
 

DIANTHUS

If you’ve been gardening for a while you might know these as Sweet Williams or Pinks. But whatever you may call them, dianthus is a low-maintenance and versatile performer in the garden. During the fall and spring, dianthus is a great butterfly attractor. We consider dianthus to be an annual in our climate but with the right conditions and care it can perennialize. Dianthus comes in an incredibly varied color selection, many types even have a multicolored pattern. Some varieties have only one bloom per stalk while others can have a cluster of flowers. It is best to deadhead spent bloom stalks to keep your plant looking clean and to promote more color in the future. Like snapdragons, dianthus comes in varying heights depending on the selection. They can range in height from around 4” up to a couple of feet tall. Lastly, be sure to check out our seed selection for even more unique and harder-to-find selections. New selections and improvements come out every year so be sure to come by and check out what’s come in. Dianthus blooms are also edible. Try them as an exciting and colorful garnish to your baked delicacies.

Sun Needs & Care: Here in Tallahassee, dianthus thrives in our cool seasons but tends to suffer through our humid summers. Dianthus can take cold weather but we still recommend protecting your dianthus before a hard freeze. Tolerant of full sun to partial shade they can be planted in a container or your landscape beds. They prefer soil that is well drained and respond quickly to fertilizing.

Fertilization: Fertilize in the spring and fall once every 3-4 weeks with Flower Tone to keep them looking beautiful. Hard freezes and frosts can brown open blooms and newly set buds. Light cloth can be used to insulate and protect your cool-weather annuals.

NOTABLE DIANTHUS VARIETIES:

  • Jolt Series: This award-winning selection has superior heat tolerance and tremendous flower power. The flowers are vibrant shades of pink and purple that keep on going well into the summer. It’s a very durable dianthus that’ll be a good addition to any cottage garden, perennial bed, or container. Taller growing reaching 16- 20” tall.
  • Telstar Mix: This selection has been around a while and for good reason. Telstar dianthus has exceptional outdoor performance. Its blooms have a carnation-like appearance and they come in many fun bright colors. This is a lower growing variety only reaching 8-10” tall making it a great choice as a boarding planting or at the edge of a container.
  • Coronet: Blooms on this dianthus are much larger than other varieties reaching 2-3” across. Each bloom is highly fringed giving it a very lacy appearance. The colors in this series are very bold and include red, white, purple, and pink. The coronet series is another low-growing variety topping out around 8-12” tall. It’s a great choice for a container or even a rock garden.
 

CYCLAMEN

If you’re looking for a shade loving flower that grows well in the shade or as a houseplant, Cyclamen is one of the best options available. They have an intricate pattern on their leaves and the flowers are incredibly bright and showy. They don’t grow very large, only reaching 8-10” tall and grow well in small containers. These spectacular looking plants are best used in patio containers, window boxes, or set inside and grown as a houseplant.

Sun Needs & Care: Finding flowers that bloom in the shade can be difficult especially in the winter but Cyclamen is our top choice. Shade to part sun are ideal conditions. Take care not to over water your cyclamen especially if they’re growing in deep shade or in a dim room. Left in damp condition too long, its bulb could begin to rot.

Fertilization: Cyclamen can put out a lot of flowers during its blooming season. The best way to keep your plant healthy and while continuing to flower is to fertilize. You can use a liquid feed every couple weeks while it’s blooming or use a slow release fertilizer at the time of planting.

Temperature: Cyclamen prefer our cooler fall, winter, and spring temperatures. During the summer, the foliage will die back to the ground and go dormant.

DUSTY MILLER

This fantastic plant has velvety white foliage that adds a bright clean impact to your garden. Often used in large commercial beds, arrangements in amusement parks, as well as residential plantings. It’s a robust plant that isn’t very picky and holds up well through all kinds of weather. By mid summer, clusters of small frilly flowers appear. Easy way to add bold texture to your garden bed, patio container or window box.

This versatile annual looks great planted in mass or as an accent in a mixed container. It performs just as well in full sun or partial shade.

Sun Needs & Care: Dusty Miller does well in full sun to part shade. If planted in deep shade plants become leggy and lose their silvery cast. They are drought tolerant once established, don’t require much pruning or fertilizing, and don’t experience many pest problems.

Temperature: Dusty Miller is best planted in spring and fall. Our mild winters generally don’t require any winter protection. Plants that are established before summer time can often perennialize in the garden.

NOTABLE DUSTY MILLER VARIETIES:

  • Silver Dust: This selection has deep cut foliage that adds a fern-like texture to your garden or container. Its unique foliage can pair well with big broad leaves or shine by itself.
  • Cirrus: In contrast to Silver Dust, Cirrus has broad fuzzy leaves. Works just as well in containers or the landscape. Pairs well with many colors and leaf shapes.

 

All the varieties listed are what we generally have on-site, not an exhaustive list. Come visit us Tallahassee Nurseries to see our current, wide selection of all cool weather annuals!



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