Plant of the Month: November 2014
by Jenny Wegley
Viola x hybrid ‘ColorMax’ series
AT A GLANCE
Latin name: Viola x hybrid ‘ColorMax’ series
Common name: Johnny jump up
Mature size: 5” tall by 10” wide
Hardiness: Winter annual
Exposure: Full sun
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Local nurseries or mail order
It goes without saying that fall is my absolute favorite time of year. The cool winds start to blow, the night air turns crisp, and with that, it is time to start thinking seasonal fall color. When we make our weekend treks to our favorite garden centers, we can be overwhelmed with options that await us. Ornamental cabbage, snapdragons, pansies, violas, not to mention all the veggies — where do we start?
I tend to lean towards violas, or what we commonly refer to as Johnny jump ups — those cute little plants that put on quite the show! I have said for years that violas tend to perform better than larger flowering pansies, both in regard to cold tolerance and flower power.
If you like large flowering plants, violas are probably not what comes to mind, of course. But just wait a minute! A new series is in town that provides the toughness of a viola, and a flower size that resembles a half dollar. The ‘ColorMax’ series is a true Viola hybrid that comes in a number of colors and has shown tremendous cold tolerance, as well as the ability to flower heavily in cold temperatures.
There are several that have stood out in the Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials. My favorite cultivars are ‘ColorMax Berry Pie’, ‘ColorMax Icy Blue’ and ‘ColorMax Lemon Splash’, all of which have been awarded the Arboretum Approved Award. Plant ‘ColorMax’ in the landscape or in a container. If you go the container route, mix it with kale or snapdragons, and add a little punch with a lettuce or bok choi.
You will have the chance to see these beauties on display at the Dallas Arboretum this fall. Please Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Have fun and garden strong!