In our area of the country, pansies are the most commonly planted fall and winter annual, and for very good reason. Pansies bloom from fall into spring, all the way through time to plant warm season annuals. They offer a large variety of color choices and interesting features. 

Along with great visual payoff, caring for pansies is simple, too. Just use Ferti-Lome Premium Bedding Plant Food at planting, and to promote rooting, try Good Earth brand Jump Start. Additional feedings with water soluble BR-61 (it's like steroids for flowers!) is also recommended, which is best utilized by plants during warm spells. Then just  mulch after planting and water as needed.

But first, you have to decide which colorful variety to take home. Blotch pansies, often referred to as having a "face," feature a dark area near the middle of the plant. The blotch color varies depending on variety and may be a darker tone of the same color, or as on light colored pansies, it can be a dark maroon or brown color.  

Blotch or no blotch? It’s all a matter of personal choice. To help make your selection, here's a breakdown of some of the season's beautiful options from the pansy family.

 

Viola

Pansies typically have large blooms, which are very showy. However, sometimes the large blooms get weighed down with rain and winter weather. Depending on how long they are wet, they don’t always stand back up. Violas, on the other hand, have much smaller blooms that don’t get weighed down during rain, the result being flowers that stay upright. Violas are also known for more heat and cold tolerance, which can mean a better spring display.

 

Panola

Another great option is the panola. Panolas have the best of both worlds: the durability of the viola and the larger bloom size of a pansy.

 

Nature Series Pansy

Let’s talk about the nature series of pansies. These are more compact than a viola, with blooms standing up taller. The bloom size is closer to a viola than the bloom size of panolas, but the color choices are lovely. Ocean, a striking blue color, and mulberry shades are staff favorites. Pink was chosen as an Arkansas Diamond plant due to its unusual color and cold tolerance.

 

Cool Wave Trailing Pansy

Yes, trailing pansies are a thing! Cool waves trail out of containers with a length as long as 18 inches. They also create mounds of color in landscape beds. The spreading habit means you can plant them much further apart.

 

Pro tip: Add in some dusty miller, cabbage and kale for more visual interest.

 

As always, no matter what variety you choose, make sure to use quality potting soil in pots and prepare the planting area in landscape beds. You can get the best plant, plant them correctly in the best spot, fertilize, water and mulch them, but still not have a great-looking plant without proper soil or prep.

For more detailed information about the pansy family, as well as how to create and maintain an outstanding seasonal color display, visit The Good Earth Garden's online learning center.