Great Design Plant: Pansy

There are few flowers more charming than the pansy. Yes, it is one of these blooms that you used to see in your grandma’s garden, but there is a reason for its longstanding allure. Its sunny, cheerful face, combined with low maintenance and a vast range of colours, makes it a traditional choice for cooler-weather gardening. Even though pansies will grow in almost any zone, they are a great choice for gardeners in the South that wish to supply a drenched spectacle in their autumn and winter gardens.

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Botanical name: Viola
Common title: Pansy
USDA zones: 7 to 11 throughout the winter; 6 and lower throughout the summer (find your zone); could overwinter in colder climates after well established.
Water necessity: Consistently moist soil
Light requirement: Full to partial sun
Mature size: Up to 9 inches tall and wide
advantages and tolerances: Nonstop blooming and strong colour in the garden
Seasonal attention:Dependably blooms throughout two seasons
When to plant: Fall for southern climates, spring for northern climates.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Distinguishing traits. Pansies have one of three basic colour patterns — one solid, clear colour; a solid colour with black “pen” markings radiating in the centre; or solid colour with a dark centre. Colors include purple, yellow, lavender, russet, orange, white, red and even black. Some varieties, particularly the blue and yellow ones, possess a subtle scent that is quite noticeable in the early morning or at dusk.

J. Peterson Garden Design

How to utilize it. Pansies are unstoppable bloomers in front of a mixed-perennial or annual bed, as well as features in container plantings.

Use one colour or variety for the maximum impact, or choose two different colours and plant in masses or cubes. Employing a high number of different colours will water down the overall impact. Both the leaves and flowers of pansies are edible, perfect for garnishes or for making syrups, flavored salads or honey.

Pair pansies with dusty miller (Senecio cineraria), viola (Viola), English dais (Bellis perennis), sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus).

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Planting notes. Plant pansies in a sunny place — they will tolerate some light shade but may become leggy and unattractive if they’re grown in darker colour. Ensure that your soil is loose and well drained, and simmer monthly with a nitrate-based plant food to get larger and more profuse blooms. Maintain your pansies consistently moist for optimal health and best results.

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