How To Grow Pansies And Violas In A Container

How To Grow Pansies And Violas In A Container

How To Grow Pansies And Violas In A Container

How To Grow Pansies And Violas In A Container

Pansies are descended from violas, all pansies are technically violas, but not all violas are pansies. In the United States, violas are known as Johnny-jump-ups because they self-seed and can spread throughout your garden on their own.

In the fall, winter, and spring, pansies and violas are popular cool-season bedding plants in Louisiana gardens. Pansies and violas thrive in the excellent season's chilly nights and cool to mild days from November to April.

Even if temperatures drop into the teens, winter's cold weather will have no effect on these plants. In this article, I will share how to grow pansies and violas in a container.

History Of Pansies And Violas

History Of Pansies And Violas

The garden pansy (Viola wittrockiana) is a large-flowered hybrid plant commonly grown as a garden flower. It is a hybrid of many species from the genus Viola's section Melanium (“the pansies”), particularly Viola tricolour, a wildflower native to Europe and Western Asia known as heartsease.

Viola tricolour var. hortensis is another name for it. However, the scientific designation is unclear. Viola tricolour var. hortensis Groenland & Rümpler is a synonym of Viola wittrockiana, however, Viola tricolour var. hortensis DC is a horticultural variety of wild pansy (Viola tricolour without interspecific hybridization) that was shown in Flora Danica in 1777 before Viola wittrockiana existed.

The name “pansy” is derived from the French word pensée, which means “thought,” and was introduced into Late Middle English as a name for the flower Viola in the mid-15th century as a symbol of recall. The term “love in idleness” was coined to connote a lover with little or no other occupation than fantasizing about love.

The word “heart's-ease” comes from St. Euphrasia, whose Greek name means “joyful mind.” The woman who refused to marry and wore the veil was thought to be a model of humility, hence the moniker “humble violet.”

In Scandinavia, Scotland, and German-speaking countries, the pansy (or its wild parent Viola tricolour) is or was known as the “stepmother”; the name was accompanied by an etiological tale about a selfish stepmother, told to children while the teller plucked off corresponding parts of the blossom to fit the plot.

The pansy is known as flammola in Italy (little flame).

The pansy is a short-lived annual or perennial that grows around 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) tall. Oblong or oval leaves develop from the stems, while heart-shaped or rounder leaves sprout from the base.

The velvety flowers of the plant are roughly 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) broad and have five petals. They commonly come in blue, yellow, and white combinations. The garden pansy prefers moist, chilly weather and rich soil.

Popular Varieties Of Pansies

Popular Varieties Of Pansies

Who doesn't enjoy a beautiful pansy? They're warm, vibrant, and lovely, and (best of all) they thrive in Colorado's climate! Consider planting pansies in your garden if you're searching for a flower to brighten it up. There are numerous types to pick from, and one may be better suited for your garden than the other. Here's what distinguishes each of our favourite pansy varieties:

The Blotch Pansy

1. The Blotch Pansy

The blotch pansy is the most common pansy kind. The flowers' petals come in various bright colours, ranging from yellow to blue to red, and they all have a dark purple “blotch” on their faces. They have small stems and grow close to the ground, resulting in vibrant splotches of colour peeping out among other flowers or just overground cover.

The Clear Pansy

2. The Clear Pansy

Because they have no face and only one uniform hue, these pansies are known as “clear.” They were developed by a Scottish grower in the late 1800s and became the most popular flower in North America after being sold overseas. The clear pansy is still prized for its beauty, transforming your flowerbed into a watercolour cutout.

The Mammoth Pansy

3. The Mammoth Pansy

This enormous pansy was bred to stand out and be the focal point of your garden, rather than just providing a hint of colour. These pansies have thick stems that reach six to eight inches above the ground, and their roots branch out to easily fill a pot or a garden bed.

The Cat's Whiskers Pansy

4. The Cat's Whiskers Pansy

The whiskers pansy is well named since it is visually interesting. Delicate, tiny lines resembling animal whiskers fan out from the center of its vibrantly coloured petals. The spotted pansy has only been spotted in open fields until recently when agriculturalists learned how to develop the design through hybridization.

This beautiful pansy variety is available as a medium-size flower. The flower sizes are 2 – 2½ inches. The sizes slightly vary depending on the colour.

The cat's whiskers pansy comes in many different colours: You will find them ranging from light-blue, orange, and red-gold hues to purple-white, white, and yellow hues.

The Viola Tricolour Pansy

5. The Viola Tricolour Pansy

All pansies are linked to the viola flower, which has a long history of cultivation dating back to ancient Greece, where it was first utilized for medical purposes.

The viola tricolour pansy is one of the first pansy kinds, with many similarities to the viola but two notable differences: it developed from a single, main stem and branched out above ground, whereas the viola branched below ground, and its flower is larger and rounder than the viola's. “Heartsease,” “come-and-cuddle-me,” and “love-in-idleness” are just a few of the charming names for the viola tricolour.

Black Accord Pansy

6. Black Accord Pansy

These deep-black pansies have a vivid yellow heart and add an attractive touch to any garden. Plant them with chartreuse-coloured flowers, or with yellow or white pansies, to create a striking garden.

Blue Mood Pansy

7. Blue Mood Pansy

This pansy has a gorgeous yellow-gold core and is white with purple patterns. Their colours, also known as the Cool Wave Violet Wing, will brighten up your fall garden in a way that few other flowers can. They can reach a height of eight inches and a width of 30 inches, making them highly visible.

Wave Blueberry Swirl Pansy

8. Wave Blueberry Swirl Pansy

This variety of pansy has white petals with lavender trim or solid yellow petals, and it can withstand cold conditions. They have a delicate appearance and can withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. They are very productive and will produce large amounts of flowers if you fertilize them every two weeks.

Freefall Purple Wing

9. Freefall Purple Wing

These pansies are bright yellow with deep purple stripes, and they bloom virtually all year in coastal climates and from spring through summer in other areas due to their hardiness.

Xl Victoriana

10. Xl Victoriana

The deep purple and clean white colour blend of Freefall XL Victoriana creates the unmistakable happy face marking that is unique to pansies. It blooms in a short amount of time and has a non-tangling habit. It is 4-6″ tall and has huge blossoms, ideal for hanging baskets and dramatic arrangements.

Steps To Grow Pansies And Violas In A Container

Wet feet bother pansies, as they do many perennials. Unlike other summer perennials, they thrive throughout the fall and winter, which is in much of the United States a wet season. With pansies' preference for well-drained soil, gardeners in wetter climates may wonder if they may grow in pots.

Choosing The Right Container To Grow Pansies And Violas In A Container

Choosing The Right Container To Grow Pansies And Violas In A Container

First and foremost! When picking a container for pansies or violas, keep air movement and drainage in mind. Clay and concrete pottery are the greatest containers for air movement and drainage in the summer. Why isn't this a good option for fall and winter containers?

Water soaks into a clay or concrete container throughout the fall and winter. When the temperature drops below freezing, the water that has soaked into the pots' walls freezes and expands, cracking the clay or concrete. A freeze-proof plastic, synthetic, or glazed ceramic container is a more practical alternative for a fall and winter container.

These containers will also allow adequate air movement and drainage for the winter, and they will be less likely to be destroyed by winter freezes.

The size of an autumn and winter container is the next phase in the procedure. Pansies and most other fall and winter annuals have smaller root systems than spring and summer annuals, so they require less soil depth and width, as well as less water.

Place a smaller container upside down in a large and deep container to fill it with large rocks or styrofoam chunks. Simply leave 4 to 5 inches of soil space for roots to grow in.


Wet feet are a pet peeve of pansies, as is continually soggy or wet soil, which can cause root rot and other plant illnesses. There's not much you can do to save your plants once they've developed root rot.

As a result, it's critical that your pots have drain holes and that you choose a potting mix that drains efficiently. If your container doesn't already have drainage holes, drill one with a diameter of ¾ inch.

Soil Requirements To Grow Pansies And Violas In A Container

It's recommended to use a premium or professional potting mix for growing pansies and other fall and winter annuals in containers. Avoid using potting soils that cost a dollar a bag. The reason for this is that potting mixes distribute moisture more uniformly throughout the pot while also allowing for adequate drainage.

They prefer fertile soil in the sun or part shade, so use a peat-free multi-purpose potting compost in pots and well-rotted organic matter in the ground before planting. Watering, feeding, and deadheading pansies regularly keep them looking beautiful and stimulate additional blossoms.

Potted pansy plants require well-drained soil, so make sure the potting mix is light and use a container with drainage holes. Before putting your pansies in their new pots, you can add some slow-release fertilizer to the potting mix, as directed on the bag.

Sunlight Requirements

Sunlight Requirements

Pansies will tolerate moderate shade but want as much direct sunlight as possible. It is advised that you get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. They can be grown under deciduous shade trees because the leaves fall off to allow sunlight. Pansies can grow in full or partial sun, but they prefer cooler temperatures to grow.

Morning sun while avoiding late-afternoon heat is the best planting location. The distance between plants should be 7 to 12 inches. Pansies need about six hours of sunlight per day to thrive. In the hottest regions, keep plants out of direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day (Zone 7 and warmer).

They thrive in full sun to partial shade. Pansies can be used alone or in combination with other bedding plants in borders. They're also great for filling in barren spots. Because the bulbs grow up through and between the flowering pansies, they make ideal partners for spring bulbs like tulips.

Selecting Pansies And Violas

Choosing your pansies and violas is the most enjoyable part! They come in almost any colour you can think of. Not all violas and pansies are the same. Choose the kinds that have a good track record in your area. The colours you choose are entirely up to you, however, there are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • Colours are generally divided into two categories: hot hues and cool colours. Red, orange, and yellow are vibrant colours that convey emotion and excitement. To call attention to areas that could otherwise be neglected, use bright colours near doorways, paths, and far corners of the garden. Cool hues, such as blue, pink, and purple, are soothing and relaxing. They're ideal for usage in areas where you wish to unwind.
  • Colour can also be utilized to alter distance perspective visually. Warm colours and light tints, such as red, orange, yellow, and white, draw attention to an object or location. When these hues and tints are used near a house's foundation, the house appears to be closer to the street.
  • Cool and dark colours, such as blue, green, and black, recede and can be used to make a house appear farther away from the street.
  • The next step is to use complementary colours. Using these in the garden can add to the drama. Simply glance at the colour wheel and choose the colours that are opposite each other to create a design with complementary colours. Hues that are complementary produce a lot of contrast and make both colours stand out.
  • Keep in mind that bright shades of any hue appear better with brilliant shades of a complementary colour, and light shades look better with light shades. Keep in mind that the colour of the flowers should match the colour of the container.

Time To Plant

Pansies can be planted early in the spring or late in the fall. Starting pansies from seed can be difficult; it's much easier to buy established plants from a local nursery. You'll also get blooms a lot faster.

However, for early spring and summer flowering, start pansy seeds indoors in late winter, 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. Alternatively, sow seeds in the late summer for fall and winter blooming. Pansy seeds can take a long time to germinate (typically emerging in anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks, depending on soil temperature).

When the ground is workable in the spring, plant pansy plants. They thrive in soil temperatures ranging from 45°F to 65°F (7°C to 18°C).

Pansies can withstand a light frost right after planting, but don't put them in the ground if the temperature is consistently below freezing.

Place To Plant

Plant in humus-rich, well-drained soil. See our articles on soil amendments and soil preparation for planting for more information.

Pansies can grow in full or partial sun, but they prefer cooler temperatures to grow. Morning sun while avoiding late-afternoon heat is the best planting location.

The distance between plants should be 7 to 12 inches. They'll spread 9 to 12 inches wide and grow to be 6 to 9 inches tall.



Soak the dirt in the pot thoroughly after planting. After that, merely water is enough to keep the soil moist but not saturated. If the weather is really hot, pansies in containers may need to be watered twice a day. If in doubt, always inspect the soil. You should water if the top inch of the soil is dry.

Watering early in the day is preferable because it allows the leaves to dry, which reduces the risk of illness. Wet feet bother pansies, as they do many perennials. Unlike other summer perennials, they thrive throughout the fall and winter, which is a wet season in much of the United States. Gardeners in wetter climates may appreciate pansies' fondness for well-drained soil.


For feeding plants, I recommend using granular fertilizer. Pansies and violas prefer a specific sort of fertilizer that contains the form of nitrogen known as “Nitrate.” To be on the safe side, choose Pansy Food. Follow the feeding directions on the package.

Use a general all-purpose fertilizer to help your pansies grow. If you use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, on the other hand, you may end up with more foliage than flowers. Remove faded/dead flowers to encourage the plants to produce more blooms and extend the flowering season.

The traditional summer annual fertilization program — 200 ppm 20-20-20 or a slow-release/granular fertilizer — should work well for pansies for the rest of the growing season. Frost-damaged flowers should be removed first, as should old, faded blooms.


Pansies can be grown from seeds. Through blossom from late spring to autumn, sow the seed under cover from February to April. Sow seeds from May to July to develop pansies for autumn and winter blooms.

Pruning / Deadheading

Pruning / Deadheading

Deadhead pansies and violas growing in containers. This simply entails pinching or snipping the base of wasted flower stems. This will keep your unkempt garden neat and encourage the growth of new flowers. Pinch the branches back by up to one-half their length if your pansies or violas get lanky, making sure the stem that remains has some leaves on it.

A bushy plant is a healthy pansy. The purpose of pruning or trimming back is to maintain the plant compact and full. Elongated stems should be trimmed back by one-third anytime they appear, in addition to the early summer pruning.

Pests And Disease

Fungal infections can generate spots and blotches on pansy leaves. The spots can be limited to the leaves solely, but they can also damage the stems or the plant's core. To avoid importing disease into your garden, acquire healthy plants from a reliable supplier and inspect them thoroughly for signs of disease.

Pick the leaves off your pansies and throw them away if you find leaf stains. Because fungus spores can survive in the soil, avoid growing pansies in the same area the next year.


You'll need to plant violets and other members of the Viola genus in containers to grow them indoors. Our guide to growing violets in pots includes detailed instructions on how to get them started in planters. If you feel any problem growing pansies and violas in a container feel free to ask here.

I trust you enjoyed this article on How To Grow Pansies And Violas In A Container. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!




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