Prepping for the pansy hunt


Deeply Rooted
Jan 17, 2021
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Northern Ontario, Canada
Yes, I DO sometimes start from seed. However, doing it from seed is a LITTLE harder, since the seedlings are VERY tiny and VERY delicate, too delicate to transplant. That basically means that the only way to grow them from seed is to basically scatter the seed over wherever you want the plants to grow, and hope for the best. So there is little control over exactly where the plants will show up, and you end up wasting a LOT of seed in thinning (which is not a great thing when you don't have that much seed to begin with and really want to maximize how many actually make plants).

There IS a pansy (or rather, a pansy series) called Jester, but the pictures don't seem to match. What you had sort of SOUNDS like Jolly Joker, but Jolly Joker doesn't have any white.
Actually that might be it; I thought there was some white in it too, but that looks so close to what I remember maybe the white wasn't in there after all. I just poked around looking for Jolly Joker photos & I saw some other gorgeous varieties, like Cool Wave Morpho and Delta Premium Marina. Would be nice to get some of those.


Garden Addicted
Apr 18, 2014
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Lower Hudson Valley, New York
Well, Jolly Joker has been around for a fairly long time, it is entirely possible that there is a version with white in it as well. One of my favorites, Blackberry Sorbet (purple tops, black bottom) has a white variant, Blackberry Sorbet a la Mode.

It's a pity that you weren't at the nursery yesterday, they had LOTS of Jolly Jokers (in contrast I haven't seen Blackberry Sorbet for going on five years.)

Generally, however, the ones I like tend to not fit into any official named type. that's WHY I have such a tough time getting enough each year, I demand everything be more or less unique.

When I save seeds, I HOPE that they will prove true to type, and I will have the start of a variety of my own. So far, it hasn't worked out that well (either the ones I am interested in produce few or no seeds, or when they do, none of the seeds come up*) The closest I got was when I re-planted the seeds from the Blackberry Sorbet (which, since I had bought the better part of a flat of the plants I had a LOT of). And even THEN, only about 25% actually came back true to type (the rest either reverted to Johnny Jump up colors, or became solid purple)

Other could have beens included Cosmic Eclipse (nearly pure black, but with a sort of red-yellow x-ray effect around the center), Cat Whiskers (my general term for any pansy that is all white except for purple lines on the veins). Wine Dark Seas (a deep pinkish purple that showed up in a six pack of pale pink ones). Little star (the very FIRST pansy I ever grew successfully from seed, had a yellow flower with a black blotch, but both flower and plant shrunk down to the size of a wild field pansy).

My best hope for this year so far is a sort of purplish crimson.

* I have gotten LOTS of pansies to grow and make flowers (including a few that managed to overwinter their seeds and come up spontaneously in the garden. It's just that none of those were the ones I WANTED to re-seed and come back.)