Just as our summer potted displays and hanging baskets are looking a little soggy and worse for wear, along come the trusty winter pansies to take us right through the darker days until spring again abounds!
Pansies are hardy plants, growing to no more than 20cm in height and they perform best when they are planted out in borders or containers before mid October to enable them to get their roots established before conditions become too cold.
Pansies are fabulous little plants to bring a pop of colour to your winter displays and here are the top ten reasons why you should love them:
- Pansies can be told apart from smaller blooming violas by the number of petals: pansies have four petals which point upward and two pointing downward; violas have two petals pointing upwards and three which point downwards.
- Pansy flower heads follow the sun during the day, so plant them in the sunniest spot possible for the best results.
- Pansy blooms can be regularly deadheaded to keep the plant producing more flowers.
- Pansy leaves will not grow much during the colder months, so they can be squeezed into spaces between other plants or planted close together in winter displays for an impactful display.
- If your pansies get too leggy, you can cut them back with scissors and they’ll bush out and produce more flowers.
- Come springtime, pansies will start to put on a little more growth and can grow up to 20cm wide.
- The difference between winter pansies and summer varieties is that winter breeds are hardier to ensure they survive the colder conditions.
- Although we generally treat them as an annual, if properly planted and well cared for, winter pansies can last for three years or more.
- The flowers of pansies not only make great decorations for cakes but they are edible too.
- In Victorian times, the pansy was second only to the rose, conveying loving thoughts in the language of flowers.
Don’t forget that you do still need to water pots and hanging baskets during the winter months, especially if they are close to your house or are under shelter. Give pots a weekly check to see if the compost has dried out.
If you underplant your winter pots or baskets with spring bulbs and pansies atop, you can create a display now which will see you right through until springtime with the minimal of attention required.