plant a little spring color

Pansies are perfect for Spring 

Looking to transition from yard cleanup to actually planting something? Pansies may just be the perfect choice. Don't let its delicate features and charming face fool you; pansies are tough little plants and can be planted early in the spring long before other flowers.

Pansies are classified as a "cool crop," thriving in cooler temperatures and tolerating light frosts and chilly nights. However, it's advisable to protect them if temperatures dip below 20-25˚F. Surprisingly resilient, many hybrid pansies can withstand being frozen solid, although you might notice a slight purple tint on their leaves as a sign of stress.

When selecting a location for your pansies, opt for a partially shaded area with morning sun exposure and moist, well-draining soil. While they may slow down their blossoming during the heat of summer, consistent watering and keeping their roots cool can encourage a second bloom as temperatures drop in late summer.

Proper watering is essential for pansies. Ensure that you water the soil deeply rather than the leaves. Adding a layer of mulch around your pansies can help retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Additionally, incorporating granular or time-release fertilizer into the soil during planting provides the necessary nutrients for optimal blooming.

Regular grooming is beneficial for pansies. Removing spent flowers encourages continued blooming, ensuring a vibrant display throughout the season. Pansies are versatile plants suitable for various garden settings, including shady patio planters, window boxes, borders, and beds. They have a light fragrance that is more apparent in the early morning and dusk when the air temperature cools. Yellow and blue varieties tend to be more fragrant than other varieties.

Pansies also come in shades of red, orange, white, pink, purple and black with three basic color patterns -- a solid clear color, a single color with black lines radiating from its center and those with a dark center blotch known as a "face." With all these choices and the fact that they can be planted early in the season, it's easy to see why pansies are a perpetual favorite of gardeners.

More from YVW