Pansies and violas are a fantastically versatile flower for spring. There are very few flowers that come in such an incredible range of colours. Their tolerance of cold temperatures makes them a great choice for the earlier spring months when the weather can still be too chilly for other bedding flowers. Now is a great time to pick some of these beauties up!
Pansies and violas can flourish in a variety of sites; be it flower bed, window box, containers or even hanging baskets. Whether you purchase them already planted up in a container, or pot up your own, they can provide months of colour in a sunny or partially sunny spot. If you do pot up your own, just be sure that the container you choose has adequate drainage and that you use a good potting mix.
In order to prolong flowering there are a couple of things you can do. One is to ensure you are keeping your plants adequately watered. Pansies should never be allowed to dry out completely, or they will cease flowering. This is especially important in containers, as potted plants dry out faster than ones planted in the ground.
Deadheading is also a good way to encourage more blooms. By pinching off faded flowers, the plant is made to put its energy into more blooms instead of seed production. Deadheading also has the added benefit of tidying up the plant’s appearance.
Pansies and violas are very durable plants; they can withstand light freezes and cold temperatures better than most others. However it is best to protect them from extreme cold and frosts for the best results. Our weather can be unpredictable in the spring and so if we are in for a particularly cold night, it is best to bring these plants in, or cover them with a tarp if they are planted in ground. While the plants themselves will often survive these freezes, the flowers and flower buds can be damaged if left unprotected.
While pansies enjoy lots of sunshine, extreme heat will make the plants suffer. This is more of a problem in late spring and summer. A spot beneath deciduous trees, where they can enjoy full sun through spring until the trees leaf out, and then dappled shade through summer, is ideal. Another good trick is if they are potted, moving them to a place that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. This will protect them from the hottest part of the day and extend their flowering. Pansies do unfortunately usually succumb to the summer heat. Another option is cutting the plants back to a few inches above the ground in summer; the plants may fill back out and resume flowering when the cooler autumn weather arrives.
Violas and pansies are winter hardy through zones 4-8, though the smaller flowered violas tend to come back more reliably than the larger flowered pansies. These plants can also reseed themselves and grow again this way year after year.
Why not try some pansies and violas in your garden this spring? These easy to care for flowers make for fast and attractive displays of colour. Come visit us and take a look for yourself!