Pansies In The Early Spring Garden: A Tiny Rant

Don’t skip planting pansies in your early spring garden!

Don’t listen to those people who say pansies are short-lived, melting quickly in the heat of summer. That doesn’t matter!

What matters is that pansies provide a beautiful display in the spring, whether planted en masse in a container or two or three, bedded out in the garden, or combined with tulips and other spring flowering plants.

Don’t skip planting pansies in your early spring garden!

If you don’t have any pansies, go buy some now while there is still time to enjoy them. I believe that some gardeners are disappointed in pansies because they buy them too late in the spring and don’t get to enjoy them for as long as they think they should. I buy mine just as soon as I see them for sale in March and put them in containers that I keep just for them. Then when I plant the summer annuals, I don’t feel like I have to evict the pansies to make room for them.

Don’t skip planting pansies in your early spring garden!

Some gardeners are afraid that the weather in the spring will be too cold for pansies. Not so! I’ve had potted pansies survive temperatures as low as the teens. They look pretty pathetic and cold that next morning but as soon as the sun hits them and warms them up, they come out of it looking as good as before.

Don’t skip planting pansies in your early spring garden!

They come in colors that are perfect for spring… all shades of purples, pinks, yellows, whites, and blues. You can find pansies in pastel colors for a soft, delicate display or bright colors for a big punch of color to offset the drabness of the late winter/early spring garden.

Don’t skip planting pansies in your early spring garden!

They are easy to care for, whether planted in containers or bedded out. Just keep them watered and plant them where they get a bit of sun. You can expect them to look decent until it gets consistently hot in the garden, which is around the end of June here in my Zone 5b garden.

Don’t skip planting pansies in your early spring garden!

For variety, I also plant the violas, which have smaller flowers than pansies. They require the same basic care and look great in small containers or inter-planted with tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.

Don’t skip planting pansies in your early spring garden!

It’s very therapeutic after the long winter to have your hands in the dirt, finally planting something. Why not plant something that provides instant color, like oh, I don't know, something like... Pansies?

Don’t skip planting pansies in your early spring garden!

Thank you to Elizabeth at Gardening While Intoxicated for her post on pansies, the “proven losers” she called them, which inspired this mini rant on the virtues of pansies.

And don’t even think about skipping Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. It’s coming up quick on Wednesday, April 15th.

It’s easy to participate. Just post on your blog about what is blooming in your garden on the 15th and then leave your link and a comment on my bloom day post. That’s it! All are welcome to participate and show us your pansies, and any other blooms you have in your April garden.


EAL said…
What's that you said, Carol? "Don’t skip planting pansies in your early spring garden!" was it?

I didn't hear. Could you repeat?

Annie in Austin said…
Pansies are a 'winter annual' here in Austin, so I'll have to reach back to Illinois days to agree with you, Carol that 'Heart's Ease' is worth planting.

Pansies and violas last at least as long as tulips or daffodils or peonies or lilacs, even in a bad year.
Put some of those dear little faces in a planter - and a few of the "Antique Shades' in a basket near the door.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose
Hmm, I think I detect a subliminal message in this post, something about not skipping planting Pansies in my early spring garden. Good thing I already did that. This is the first year in a long time that I've put some in the ground. My 2 lonely Daffodil clumps needed company. Today I saw beautiful red/burgundy colored Pansies & clear orange ones too. They are so cheery.
Sheila said…
I too am a big fan of pansies and violas and have them all winter and spring. In our climate they may even go year round if they are in a cool spot for the summer. So charming!
Entangled said…
Gee, I have a few overwintered pansies blooming right now, but come to think of it...I probably need more. I wonder what made me think of it??? ;-)
Oh yes, I have a love hate relationship with pansies and violas. I love that I can have their pretty faces welcoming spring but I hate that they don't return on their own. Can't hardly do without them during spring.
Here everyone calls them winter pansies and they plant them in the late fall. Mine bloomed all winter and still look great.
Kristine said…
i absolutly agree with you, here in zone 4 they are a welcome sight to our long lingering winter and slow to come spring.
Gail said…
Pansies, did you say pansies? I wanted to make sure I got the right plants...
Kathy said…
I grew pansies from seed last year. They started blooming for me last June and never stopped until they got covered with snow. Many of them have come back, and it will be interesting to see when they start blooming this year.
Pam/Digging said…
Pansies are sweet. I like them too. But here in Austin we plant them in the late fall and enjoy them through winter. We've already had temps in the 80s and 90s, so it's way past pansy-planting time for us now.
Anonymous said…
In Maryland, you can plant them in the fall and they'll make it to spring. They look fairly awful at some points over the winter and you have to keep up with deadheading and be willing to lose a few plants, but mine have bounced back very nicely - especially those planted in the ground.

I've been trying to figure out - what's the difference between violas and pansies? They look like the same plant, but it seems that violas are a perennial here. So confused!
Unknown said…
Giggle! One of your more inspired posts, Carol. I grinned like a fool when I hit the second photo, and am still grinning. I'm with you on the pansies, even though they give me grief because the slugs seem to find them delish. I plant them anyway.
Anonymous said…
I couldn't imagine my fall or spring garden without these happy little flowers. They have been blooming for months now in my red washtub. :)
Kerri said…
You know what Carol? I think I'll go out tomorrow and buy some pansies! I've been hearing this persisent little voice in my head since I popped in to see you.....
Seriously though, I was hoping to get some for church from my favorite nursery, where I'm now helping out a couple of days a week, but they're not quite ready yet. As soon as they are though, I'll bring some home! there's an idea! :)
yours are delightful!
Mindy said…
Here in Seattle, pansy season is really all year long. Love em, they are cheery, old fashioned and dependable. Today it only reached 53 degrees at my house, so we have lots of pansy weather to go.

Thanks for giving them the respect they deserve. ~ Melinda
Layanee said…
Gotta love the pansies!
Diana said…
Oh yes, pansies are a staple of the deer salad bar -- almost like leaf lettuce, in fact! Last winter they literally mowed down several flats. I will love enjoying all the pansies that you won't forget in your Spring garden!
Unknown said…
Skip planting Pansies......are you nuts? I plant them in November and have a beautiful show until the weather is too hot for them. Some even reseed for the next year.
Rose said…
Carol, Thanks for reminding me...and reminding me...and reminding me. I think I'll go out this afternoon and buy some pansies. I finally have a week at home and time to work in the garden, and what is it doing?--Raining, of course! The ground is a swamp, but at least I could plant some pansies in containers to satisfy my gardening itch.

I'm hoping I can take some photos for GBBD tomorrow without getting stuck in the mud:)
Anonymous said…
Hello... just found this site whilst surfing to get fact on buying a new refrigerator - go figure!
Anyway, I am a helpless gardener in Northern Ontario - about three years ago I bought some white pansies - I mistakenly put them in the hottest spot of the "garden" in a pot sitting on crushed gravel over our septic tank system.
They flowered all summer, reseeded and are growing all over between the stones (sand underneath). I hardly ever water and they are just indistructable, suriviving our frigid winters too.
Hurrah for the Pansy!!
Ha ha ha! Great post! Your blog is such a delight to read.
No one can call me dense. I get the point, I'll be gettin' me some pansies!
Anonymous said…
not sure I got the message [great big grin]! Lovely post about one of my favourites: pansy faces.
Anonymous said…
One of my earliest childhood memories is the scent of the pansy. I must have been four or five. Whenever I catch a whiff of that lovely scent I'm back there again.

Violas routinely seed their sweet little selves in my garden--love it.
Proven winners to me!
Pansies are one of my favorite flowers. If I *had* to pick my favorite annual, it would probably be them. Not only are they great in early spring, but they do OK over summer, and then come into their own in fall. One year, I had one blooming in early December! They're so friendly looking and old-fashioned in a modern way.
I used to refrain from growing pansies because I'd heard they can't take the heat, but a number of years ago, heard how early they can be planted, and have loved getting mine planted in March, as well.

The plants were smaller this year, so mine don't have many blooms yet. When it gets hot, I make sure mine get afternoon shade, and have actually had them make it through most, and a few times, all of the summer.

I am here to get your url to make the link in my GBBD post, which I'll set to be posted at midnight, and make my link to yours when I get a chance, depending on when you post.

Thanks, Carol, and happy spring!
I love your photos and flowers, by the way, and I grow violas, too.
lostlandscape said…
I like how the faces on pansies look back at you as you look at them. We put in a big new raised bed a couple years ago that had lots of empty space between the young plants. 96 pansies took care of that! We still have seedlings comping back from that original planting--some are blooming right now. Nice, easy, gratifying plants.
Carol, I'm with you. Pansies are wonderful, those faces looking up at you are so cheerful. I am a bad girl, I have not one pansy right now. I usually like to plant them in the fall, they seem to overwinter here nicely, and then they really go to town when the spring warms up a bit here. Then they reseed themselves and you're ready to go for next fall. But they got sort of crowded out by the violets and the oregano, and I haven't reestablished them. thanks for the push to do so again. They are really one of my favorite flowers.
Unknown said…
Lovely post, Carol... but I'm afraid that I have to disagree with you on the pansies. For some reason, even when they look good and lush and full... I just don't like them enough to plant them in my garden!

(See how I am? I'm gone for months at a time and then come back to be contrary... lol. Sorry! :)
Gig said…
I'm a little scared to plant them NOW in pots when the weather is fickle in Omaha, Nebraska. What happens if we get a hard freeze? Will they die? Will they come back? Help!