When the weather is too cool for most other plants to bloom, pansies and violas thrive. Able to withstand temperatures in the mid 20’s, these hardy annuals provide early color in the spring and bloom well into the fall. Most often, they are removed to make way for summer annuals once the temperature gets too hot and then planted again at the end of summer/early fall.

Pansies and violas both belong to the genus Viola, and their names are used interchangeably. They look similar, but pansies tend to have more compact growth and larger blooms than violas. Pansies and violas come in a wide variety of colors and are great in both containers and beds.

Seeding

Pansies and violas are fairly easy to grow from seed but don’t grow quickly. Seeds must be started 10-12 weeks ahead of time and the plants will need to be acclimated.

Cold Tolerance

Pansies and violas are very cold-tolerant plants. When grown outdoors and acclimated, they easily handle temperatures down to the mid 20s and continue blooming. If the temperature drops any lower, the plants can survive but flower buds present will usually be damaged.

Light

Prefer full sun in the spring, early summer and fall. In summer they struggle with high temperatures, so they do better in part shade.

Location

Pansies and violas are perfect for containers, and combine well with other early spring blooms such as ornamental kale, cabbage and snapdragons. Plant a few into a summer mixed planter for some early color while the summer plants fill out. They also do well planted in mass in beds, borders, window boxes, and mixed in among spring flowering bulbs.

Height & Width

6-7″ H x 9-12″ W

Soil

Prefer rich, organic, well-drained soil.

Fertilizer

Feed regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer.

Grooming

As cool season annuals, blooming slows down as the summer gets warm. Many people remove them to make way for summer annuals. Deadheading (removing the spent blooms) encourages them to bloom longer. Try cutting them back to a few inches above ground when it gets too hot and they may just fill out and begin to bloom again in the fall.