Pansies for Seasonal Color
Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) are small, cheerful, short-lived perennials for chilly fall to spring bloom. Pansies have one of the widest color ranges of any garden annual; blooms range from red, purple, blue, bronze, pink, yellow, black, lavender, white, orange and burgundy. Pansies are often known as the "face flower" and a single bloom may have up to three colors mixed in the delicate flower.
Pansies are compact plants and generally do not reach a height greater than 12 inches. Once planted in the garden, pansies may reappear for several years because they self-sow. When the weather warms in late spring, pansies begin to look poorly as they have low heat tolerance.
Johnny-Jump-Ups (Viola tricolor) are another flower choice as the weather cools. They produce smaller blossoms, and flower heavily. John-Jump-Ups are used around bulbs and larger plants for extra color. Flowers come in pastel hues of blues, violets, pinks and whites.
Both pansies are Johnny-Jump-Ups are versatile and can be planted in garden beds or containers. Use them where there is morning sun and plant in amended, well-drained soil. Pansy blooms can be dried and preserved and are edible when fresh.
Today, researchers in the United States, Germany, Italy, Japan and other countries are working towards introducing pansies with novel color combinations, larger flower size and better tolerance to weather conditions.
Two pansies have been recommended for Colorado gardens from Plant Selecté recommendations. Blue Velvet® pansy is a deep purple flower with a black face, hardy from Zones 2-9 and up to 11,000 feet. Northern Lights™ pansy is a large flowered pansy with mixed bloom colors of lilac, blue and cream. Visit www.plantselect.org for more information on these plants.
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Updated Friday, April 19, 2013