This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
The name "Tufted Pansy" has been given to a popular race of plants formerly recognized in catalogues and books as "Bedding Violas", and which had their origin in Viola cornuta and one of the older types of so-called bedding Pansies. But by whatever name we call them there is no getting away from the fact that they are among the indispensables of the flower garden, as much because of their great variety and charm as for a flowering which closely approximates to perpetual. Massed in the garden there is a freshness about their spreading carpets of green, and a coolness even in the height of summertime which cannot be denied, and which, in conjunction with perfect hardiness and simple cultural requirements, have rendered them immensely popular with all those who engage in outdoor gardening (fig. 253).
The Tufted Pansy may be grown to perfection in almost all classes of soils save those abounding in chalk or much sand, and while delighting in cool soils and a cool rooting meeting abhor those of opposite extremes. Hence any good well-cultivated garden soil that will grow a cabbage or potato to perfection is well suited to them; albeit, generally speaking, they are far happier in northern than in southern districts.
Grown on a large commercial scale for the disposal of the plants, the only rational method of increase is by means of cuttings, while the only rational cuttings are youthful ones. Old flowering stems are valueless.
To secure cuttings of the right stamp, the old plants should be cut over with knife or shears about the middle of June, when the first flush of flower beauty has gone. A light stirring of the soil among the plants, a rather free mulch, half-soil half-manure, finely sifted in and around the plants, followed by a few copious waterings, and all will be well.
At the end of a fortnight or thereabouts the old stems will be seen to be bristling with young shoots, which at 3 in. in length are ideal for the purpose in view. Such shoots may be made into cuttings in the ordinary way and inserted in a cold frame in sandy soil; or, by leaving them a while longer on the parent plant, it will be found that they will be freely rooted at the base, and may be at once transferred to a shaded border of prepared soil. Where this latter method is contemplated, a little line soil should be early sprinkled into the tufts of young shoots, and by frequent waterings encourage an abundant rooting.
Fig. 253. - Violas or Tufted Pansies.
Some Good Varieties are: Ardwell Gem, Bullion, Mrs. E. A. Cade, Moseley Perfection, yellow; Admiral of the Blues, Admiration, Lady Agneiv, and Archie Grant, rich blue; Florizel, lilac: J. B. Riding and ,/. H. Watson, purplish; Bridal Morn, heliotrope; Maggie Mott, mauve: and Blanche and Niobe II, white. [e. h. j].