Thursday, 31 March 2022 13:24

Gardening with Peter Bowden: Planting Pansies & Violas to Chase Away The Winter Blues

By Peter Bowden | Home & Garden
Gardening with Peter Bowden: Planting Pansies & Violas to Chase Away The Winter Blues

You don’t need me to tell you that spring is dragging its feet this year.

Although we long for the warmer days, this is the kind of weather that Pansies love.  While there is little hope that you could get a marigold or impatiens to survive the many frosts of April, pansies and violas not only survive these cold days of early spring, they actually thrive in the cold. Frost won’t even damage the dainty blossoms of these little tough plants. After a long flower-less winter, pansies are always welcome sight when they arrive at the garden center!

Put on a happy face!  The name ‘Pansy’ comes from the French word ‘pensee’ which means ‘to think’. In the Victorian language of flowers, pansies indicate merriment and “thinking of you.” Since their flowers look so much like little faces, it is easy to attribute little personalities to them. They do look merry, don’t they?

It’s easy to grow your own original too.  In the past, violas and pansies were considered biennials meaning that during the first year of growth from seeds, no flowers are produced. It is only during the second year that flowers appear. Plant breeders have now developed pansies that will flower during the first year of growth from seed. 

They will also survive winter in sheltered locations so you can expect your pansies and violas to put on their show for a couple of years. If you let them go to seed, you may get to enjoy them even longer, although they do cross pollinate so you may get flowers far different from the ones you originally planted.

Pansies are bred from the smaller-flowered violas and tend to revert to the smaller viola flower from generation to generation. I love this kind of little surprise in the garden so some pansies usually follow me home from the garden center every spring. What better way to chase those winter blues away.

Thanks for the read!

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