NC State Floriculture

1998 Winter Annuals Summary

Douglas A. Bailey
Department of Horticultural Science

Appreciation is expressed to Bernadette Clark and Paul Lineberger and his staff at the Horticultural Field Laboratory for all of their technical assistance. In other words, they did the work! If you would like a copy of the entire report in PDF format (requires Acrobat Reader), click here.


Pansies have become the most popular annual for mid-autumn to late-spring color in the Southeast. Intensive breeding programs selecting for unique flower colors, large flower size, greater flower number, and temperature tolerance have led to many new and exciting cultivars to choose from for use in the landscape. With all the different cultivars available, selecting which ones to grow for customers (and which ones to plant in the landscape) can be a difficult task. During November 1997 through April 1998, we evaluated 152 pansy selections, 31 viola entries, and two English daisies; and recorded how well they performed in the North Carolina landscape.

The trial gardens are located at the North Carolina State University Horticulture Field Laboratory, 4301 Beryl Road, in Raleigh. The site is located on lat. 35°47'N, long. 78°42'W with an elevation of 400 feet. Transplants grown in 2.5" x 2.2" containers were planted in the trial garden on 4 November 1997, and plant spacing in the trial was 10" x 12" (in-row x between-row spacing). Twelve plants of each entry were used to evaluate the performance of single-color cultivars, and 24 plants (two rows) were evaluated for each mix.


Table 1. Solar energy, temperature and precipitation from November 1997 through April 1998 and 30 year temperature and precipitation averages for Raleigh, NC.


Daily average solar radiation received (Langleys/day)

Daily average temperature (°F) and percent change from 30 year avg

30 year average daily temperature (°F)

Monthly precipitation (inches) and percent change from 30 year avg

30 year average monthly precipitation (inches)



48.6 (-6%)


3.43 (+1%)




43.2 (+1%)


3.21 (-4%)




45.2 (+12%)


8.01 (+111%)




46.3 (+10%)


5.29 (+41%)




50.6 (+1%)


7.42 (+77%)



59.9 (-1%)
3.24 (-4%)

With the exception of November, weather during the winter and spring of 1998 was extremely mild . Temperatures in December (+1%), January (+22%), February (+12%) and March (+1%) were above normal (Table 1 and Figure 1). November (-6%) and April (-1%) were below normal. Overall, the seasonal daily average temperature was 49.0, 2% above (1.1 °F above) the 30 year average of 47.9 °F for the same time period.


Figure 1

Figure 1. Daily minimum and maximum temperatures for Raleigh, NC from 1 November 1997 through 30 April 1998.

Precipitation fluctuated during the six month trial with three months well above average, one month with average precipitation, and two months slightly below average (Table 1 and Figure 2). Overall, we received 30.6 inches of precipitation, which is 40% above our 21.8 inch average precipitation for the six month period. It was an extremely wet winter.

Figure 2

Figure 2. Rainfall received in Raleigh, NC from 1 November 1997 through 30 April 1998.

The fertilization program for the plants consisted of a preplant incorporation of 17-17-17 and monthly broadcasts of 15.5-0-0 through March. No pesticide applications were made during the evaluation in order to document major pest problems, and no major pest or disease problems were noted throughout the trials.

Plants were given a visual rating by the same individual once a week for 21 weeks beginning 26 November 1997 (week 48 of 1997), three weeks after planting through 15 April (week 16 of 1998). Entries were evaluated for plant size, flower number, flower size, and attractiveness of flowers (consistency between plants in an entry, whether flowers are borne upright and easily visible, and attractiveness of flower color). The rating scale used ranged from 1 (very poor) to 5 (excellent), with 0.5 unit increments; a 0 rating indicates all plants of the cultivar died. Weekly ratings were averaged to provide an overall rating for the entire season. We used the seasonal average ratings to select the N.C. State Leaders of the Pack and the NCSU Exceptional Performance Winners.

Sources of Seeds and Plants

We are indebted to the following companies for supporting our 1997-98 winter trials. The companies are acknowledged in the ratings tables by the abbreviation that appears to the left of the company name:

«» BALL -- Ball Seed Co., P.O. Box 335, West Chicago, IL 60185
«» BEN -- Ernst Benary of America, Inc., 1444 Larson Street, Sycamore, IL 60178
«» BG -- Bodger Seeds Ltd., 1800 North Tyler Avenue, Lompoc, CA 91733 3618
«» FN -- Floranova, 106 Third Street, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045-1362
«» GOLD -- Goldsmith Seeds, Inc., P.O. Box 1349, Gilroy, CA 95020
«» NOV -- Novartis Flower Seeds, Inc., 5300 Katrine Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515-4095
«» PA -- PanAmerican Seed Co., P.O. Box 438, West Chicago, IL 60185
«» SAK -- Sakata Seed America, Inc., 105 Boronda Road, Salinas, CA 93907
«» WALL -- Waller Flowerseed Company, 400 Obispo Street, Guadalupe, CA 93434

N.C. State Leaders of the Pack

The following were selected in 1998 on their ability to survive our tragically wet winter this year. "Leaders of the Pack" were selected for consistent, dependable full-season performance as a source of color and beauty in the landscape. The cultivar source is shown in parenthesis.

  • Pansies
    • White--Blotch: 'Rally White Blotch Improved' (BALL), 'Skyline White' (S&G), 'Fama Dark-Eyed White' (BEN), 'Accord/Banner White Blotch' (GOLD)
    • Yellow--Clear: 'Baby Bingo Yellow' (BALL), 'Clear Sky Primrose' (S&G), 'Accord/Banner Clear Primrose' (GOLD)
    • Yellow--Blotch: 'Fama Dark-Eyed Lemon' (BEN), 'Delta Primrose w/ Blotch' (S&G), 'Skyline Yellow' (S&G), 'Universal Plus Yellow Blotch' (GOLD), 'Rally Yellow w/ Blotch' (GOLD), 'Rally Yellow w/ Blotch' (BALL), 'Happy Face Yellow' (BG), 'Majestic Giants Yellow w/ Blotch' (SAK)
    • Rose--Blotch: 'Accord/Banner Rose Blotch' (GOLD), 'Majestic Giants Rose Shades' (SAK)
    • Red--Clear: 'Delta Pure Red' (S&G)
    • Red--Blotch: 'Accord/Banner Red Blotch' (GOLD), 'Skyline Red' (S&G)
    • Red / Yellow: 'Accord/Banner Red Wing' (GOLD)
    • Blue--Clear: 'Baby Bingo Denim' (BALL), 'Rally True Blue' (BALL), 'Fama Silver Blue' (BEN), 'Accord/Banner Clear Blue' (GOLD), 'Clear Sky True Blue' (S&G), 'Atlas Blue Splash' (BG)
    • Blue--Blotch: 'Rally Light Blue w/ Blotch' (BALL), 'Rally Deep Blue w/ Blotch' (BALL), 'Bingo Blue w/ Blotch' (BALL), 'Happy Face Blue' (BG), 'Delta Blue w/ Blotch' (S&G), 'Accord/Banner Blue Blotch' (GOLD), 'Super Majestic Giants Ocean' (SAK), 'Super Majestic Giants Blue Cap' (SAK), Majestic Giants Blue Shades' (SAK)
    • Purple--Clear: 'Baby Bingo Midnight' (BALL), 'Fama Purple' (BEN), 'Universal Plus Lavender' (GOLD), 'Ultima Lavender Shades' (SAK)
    • Purple--Blotch: 'Rally Lilac Cap' (BALL)
    • Purple / White: 'Baby Bingo Beaconsfield' (BALL)
    • Black--Clear: 'Clear Black' (PA), 'Springtime Black' (FN)
  • Violas

NCSU Exceptional Performance Winners

Each year, the best of the best, those cultivars that exemplify outstanding performance during the trials, will be recognized as Exceptional Performers. The winners are judged on full-season performance and are recommended as outstanding selections for our region. Growers, retailers and landscapers are encouraged to consider these cultivars first for their color needs. Only three cultivars were selected from 185 entries in the 1997-1998 winter trial:

  1. Viola, 'Sorbet Blue Heaven' (WALL)
  2. Viola, 'Alpine Summer' (NOV)
  3. Viola, 'Penny Blue' (GOLD

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