Height 20-30cm (8-12in)
Planting distance 20cm (8in)
Flowers early summer to early autumn
Any good garden
This South American plant (Browallia speciosa) is a popular greenhouse and house plant, but it can also be grown outdoors as summer bedding. It is prized for its profusion of violet-shaped white-eyed, up to 5cm (2in) wide, handsomely offset by bright green, slender and pointed leaves. Hybrid varieties are more often seen than the species and include dwarf types for growing in window boxes, pots and hanging baskets. ‘Blue Bells’ has violet-blue flowers with prominent white centres; ‘Blue Troll’ is bright blue, and ‘White Bells’ is pure white.
Sow seeds under glass at a temperature of 18°C (64°F) in early spring. Prick out the seedlings into pots. For outdoor plants, harden them off in a cold frame before setting them out in their flowering positions when all danger of frost is past. Browallias thrive in loamy soil, but will grow in well-drained, even poor soil. They need full sun.
Pests and diseases