Written by Chris Campbell
Here at Campbell’s Nurseries in Lincoln, Nebraska, our crop of spring pansies have been growing since mid-November. The temperature in our “pansy house” has been kept just above freezing. The cold conditions let the pansies grow slowly, resulting in compact, dense foliage with plentiful blooms.
Most gardeners know pansies as cool weather flowers. However, most don’t realize that pansies can actually make it through frosts, and even survive single-digit temperatures. Thus, pansies are the perfect “first flowering annual” in the colder regions of the country.
When you decide it is time to plant pansies in the spring, you need to plant them in a partly sunny location in your garden or patio containers. In the northern climates, planting early pansies in pots is easier to accomplish, as the ground soil is still cold, wet or even frozen. Remember to add some slow-release fertilizer with the soil wherever you decide to plant them.
Pansy blooms are single with five petals that are rounded in shape. The flowers have one of three basic color patterns. Blooms can be single, clear color, such as yellow or purple. A second pattern is a single color having black lines radiating from its center. These lines are called penciling and are similar to viola markings. The last type of flower is probably the one most familiar to home gardeners. The bloom of this type has a dark center called a “face.”
Pansies have the widest color range of any garden annual. Colors include red, purple, blue, bronze, pink, black, yellow, white, lavender, orange, apricot and mahogany. The flowers petals may be a single color or have two or three colors with a face.
Now that spring is here, make sure to visit a locally owned Garden Center in your area to select your supply of colorful pansies!