How to Grow Pansy Color Plants
Garden Pansy color plant is typically a hybrid plant. You can grow this variety for its large, beautiful flowers. In fact, it is a hybrid of several species in the Melanium section of the genus Viola. (Viola tricolor, specifically). Viola tricolor is a wildflower from western Asia and Europe. It is also called heartsease
This Article focuses on growing Pansy color (Viola × wittrockiana), maintenance, verities, and uses.
Generally, the pansy color plants bloom the first winter flowers in most areas. In the northern United States, these plants flower during the late fall season and early spring season. However, in subtropical regions, these plants bloom throughout the cold (winter) seasons.
The French term “pensée”, meaning “thought” is the source of derivation for the English name “pansy”
During the early 19th century, Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennet cultivated almost every variety of Viola tricolor in her father’s garden (Walton-upon-Thames) located in Surrey.
She produced many varieties of plants by cross-breeding, under the expert supervision of her gardener, William Richardson. She introduced her products, the Pansy color plants to the gardening world in 1812.
Mr. Lee, a famous nurseryman continued the cultivation of these plants. Other nurseries followed the suit. Soon, pansy’s popularity grew both inside and outside the gardening world.
Also, Lord James Gambier was involved in a similar activity in his garden located at Iver. His gardener William Thompson guided him in this task. They cultivated two crosses, Viola lutea, and Viola altaica.
These cultivars played a vital role in the development of the famous Viola × wittrockiana, a new hybrid. This plant is named after Veit Brecher Wittrock, a Swedish botanist. They introduced this plant to the public under the name “Medora” in 1839.
Description and Characteristics of Pansy Color Plants
Generally, Pansy color plants are perennial plants. But the gardeners grow them as annuals or biennials due to their floppy and leggy growing characteristics.
Normally, the Pansy color plants develop green leaves and colorful flowers during the first year. Sometimes, they develop foliage within 2 – 3 months. After that, they produce seeds during the following year.
These plants can grow 9 inches tall and spread about 12 inches. The flowers usually measure 2 – 3 inches in diameter. The flower size may be smaller or larger depending on the variety. The flowers usually have two overlapping upper petals, a single bottom petal, and two side petals, sprouting around the central flower head.
The flower is usually blue, purplish, yellow, or white. Some varieties bloom multicolor flowers also.
These plants are winter hardy in USDA zones 4 – 8. They can withstand mild freezes and even short snow covering periods. If you fear prolonged freezing temperatures, it is advisable to cover these plants with a dry winter mulch.
The gardeners in USDA Zones 9 – 11 often propagate these plants during fall. In these areas, Pansy color plants bloom in winter and reseed themselves. In general, these plants do not tolerate high temperatures.
Normally, these plants stop blooming in the hot climate. They may go dormant, even die during the prolonged hot and dry climates.
These plants grow well in moderate climate regions, that receive rainfall and sunshine in almost similar amounts.
Photo by Koichi Oda (Wikimedia Commons) (CC BY 2.0)
Generally, Pansy color plants prefer to grow in full sunlight. They can also thrive under partial shades. Amend the soil with rich humus before planting. Ensure that the soil is damp and well-drained.
You can start the propagation by seeds or by live plants.
You can purchase seeds from online stores or from nearby nurseries. If you prefer summer flowering, start sowing the seeds indoors during the late winters. If you prefer winter flowering, start sowing the seeds indoors during late summer.
Normally, the seeds germinate in a couple of weeks. This time frame may vary a little bit depending on the soil temperature.
You can transplant the plants in the spring. However, if the soil temperature is below the freezing level, avoid transplanting. These plants tend to grow healthier in about 17 -18 degrees centigrade soil temperature. While transplanting, make sure to space the plants 7 – 12 inches apart.
Generally, the gardeners grow the seed grown pansies as biennial plants. So, they may start flowering from the second year.
From Live Plants
You can purchase live plants online or from any reputed nurseries nearby. Generally, this method is a lot easier and has a high success ratio compared to other methods.
Just grow the purchased plants and maintain them. These plants tend to flower very quickly compared to seed-grown ones.
Caring Pansy Color Plants: H2
Water the pansy color plants regularly. But do not overwater so as to cause waterlogging. One of the reasons behind failing pansies is inadequate watering or overwatering.
Fertilize the soil around the plant regularly with a good all-purpose fertilizer. It is advisable to avoid nitrogen-heavy fertilizers. They mostly cause to develop more foliage than flowers.
Remove the dead flowers regularly using good quality gardening shears. This will encourage fresh blooms. As a result, you can enjoy prolonged blooming periods.
Varieties of Pansy Color Plants: h2
Generally, there are numerous varieties of Pansy color plants available in the market. We have detailed some of the most famous varieties below:
This variety usually blooms during summer and spring. The flowers are mostly in orange color. The deep purplish upper petals of these flowers mostly have purplish outlines.
The plants in this series sprout flowers of various colors including yellow, purple, and blue.
The plants in this series, bloom in winter and spring. They sprout various single color and also multi-color flowers. Many decoration specialists, prefer this variety for both indoor and outdoor decorations.
Pests and Diseases
Aphids are small insects that can infect the plants with the cucumber mosaic virus. They also feed on pansy color plants. You can use horticultural oils, neem oil or insecticidal soaps or Aphid sprays to treat Aphids.
This is a fungus which readily infests plants under warm and wet conditions. The affected foliage develops dark spots on the margins and a whitish web cover surrounds it consequently. sadly, this disease does not have a cure at present. You can try your luck with Serenade solutions.
Always water the plants in the mornings. Prune them periodically. Remove the debris immediately. These steps can prevent infection.
This is caused by a fungus, Peronospora violae. This infests plants usually in cool and moist conditions. The affected leaves develop purplish-brown spots with yellow encircles. A greyish mold accompanies this spot at the leaf underside
This disease overwinters in the soil and on plant debris. Destroy the plant as a whole, if you suspect Downy mildew infection.
This is a usual fungal disease that affects plants commonly. Powdery mildew infests plants when the lighting is low, foliage is dry, humidity is high and the temperature is moderate.
Normally it appears as greyish or light whitish spots on the foliage. You can treat it with good quality fungicides.
Stem rot (pansy sickness) is a soil-borne fungus. The affected plants may collapse without warning and die. As a precaution, you can treat soil with fungicide, prior to planting.
Destroy the infected plants completely to avoid further spreading of the disease.
Slugs and Snails
You can remove Slugs and snails with traps.
Uses of Pansy Color Plants
Generally, the Pansies are edible plants containing high amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. The flowers usually have a strong flavor. Food industries use them to prepare flavored honey, concentrated syrups, and salads. Some dye-making industries use the flowers of these plants in dye-making.
Domestically, you can use both the leaves and flowers of Pansy color plants as a garnish on cream soups, cold fruits, and other food items. However, we recommend using only home-grown pansies for your dishes. The reason being, some industrially grown pansies are enriched with ‘hard chemicals, that may be allergic.
Just the pluck off the leaves or flowers at the time of cooking. Wash them thoroughly with running water. This removes possible insects and other debris from them. After that, you can use them for preparing your dishes.
Viola tricolor serves the medical field in various applications. For Example, its mucilage (polysaccharide substance) soothes mucous membranes, thereby treating rough coughs.
Traditional medical practitioners used these plant extracts to treat asthma, fever, constipation, respiratory problems, and other diseases.
Generally, you can use these plants to decorate your spaces. They can provide striking scenarios with beautiful and colorful flowers.
The pansy color plants, particularly the vigorous spreading varieties are excellent for ground covers, hanging baskets, window boxes, etc., You can also use them as spiller’ plants.
Final Thoughts on Pansy Color Plants
You can grow pansy color plants with minimal efforts. They can decorate your spaces beautifully. Being edible, they can make your food more delicious and vitamin-rich!
Try growing them in your gardens, you will definitely fall in love with them!
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