Brighten Up Your Winter Garden with Pansies
By: Julie Day
When the winter landscape begins to paint its browns and grays, don’t forget to tuck in some pansies for a burst of color. Pansies, along with their viola cousins, pop up their cheery little faces in late fall and early spring to spruce up hibernating gardens. Pansies are perfect for cool-season containers, and they’re also great for tucking into beds along with spring bulbs such as daffodils and tulips.
Unlike most other flowering annuals, pansies thrive in cool weather and die back in summer’s heat. They can be grown from seed or purchased as bedding plants, and they’re planted in fall or early spring and enjoyed until summer. Pansies and violas come in a variety of colors and sizes, so have fun choosing your favorites!
How to Overwinter Pansies
The best time to plant pansies is in the fall. In areas with warmer winters, they’ll bloom straight through until spring. In colder areas, they’ll hunker down under the snowfall during the winter and perk back up in spring, larger and more showy than spring planted ones.
All pansies and violas can handle mildly frosty weather, but some varieties – known as “winter pansies” – are bred specifically to survive cold winters. There are quite a few winter varieties, including ‘Bingo,’ ‘Icicle,’ and this winter pansy seed mix. When in doubt, the plants with smaller blooms are usually more cold-tolerant than the large-flowering varieties.
Pansy Growing Conditions
- Water: Like other annuals, you’ll need to make sure your pansies get enough water without saturating them.
Pansy Planting and Growing Tips
- Enjoy the flowers: Pansy blossoms are edible and add a gourmet touch to salads, just be sure not to use any pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Pansy blossoms can also be preserved with sugar for cakes, used to flavor honey, or pressed and dried for art projects.
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