Viola x wittrockiana, more commonly known as pansy, is a short-lived perennial flower.
Flowers from the 1800s are available in a wide range of colors and are ideal for flower holders, hanging baskets, borders and window boxes. They can be planted in groups or mixed with other plants.
Garden Street Design expert David Jennings describes the pansy as one of the easiest flowers to grow.
He said Newsweek“Although there are many different colors and varieties to choose from, the way they are grown and cared for does not change.
“It gives you the confidence to choose the colors and style you want, without having to worry about one getting harder to develop than the other.”
And while flowers are known to be attractive, some may be surprised that pansy is also edible.
Jennings said: “Pansy can be added to many foods to complement your food, such as salads. The plant can be eaten whole, so don’t worry about having to take the leaves apart on the flower.
“If you bought your pansies in a garden center instead of growing them from seeds, it’s not recommended to consume them. The reason is that pesticides have been used on or near the pansies and can be harmful to the pansies.”
Read on to find out some of the best pansy growing tips from experts.
Sowing the seed
Angela Slater, a horticultural expert at Hayes Garden World, recommends sowing the seeds in good quality seed compost from May to July for a pansy that blooms in the winter.
He said Newsweek: “Spray the seed thinly on the surface and leave the seed tray in water until the surface is wet.
“It should be kept at a moderate temperature until it germinates. If the temperature or humidity level fluctuates, it can lead to the seeds not germinating.”
Once the seedlings have grown strongly and the first few true leaves have been made – not the first pair after germination – they are carefully punctured into the flower compost in each cell.
Slater said, “Put it in a cool and bright place until they are ready for planting in the garden.”
Once six to eight leaves have been produced and strong plants have been created, the pansies can be planted in their final location.
Slater said, “Use good quality, multi-purpose peat-free compost when planting in containers.
“If you plant it in the ground, dig in a little fresh compost beforehand, or in the early fall, put well-rotted manure into the beds and edges as mulch.”
If possible, the pansy requires sunny space, preferably at least six hours a day.
Slater said, “If the situation is too shady, they won’t produce as many flowers.”
Keep them only moist; if they are too wet, they will rot. They won’t need much water in the winter, just a little if it was a long drought.
Slater said, “Continue to take off the dead heads because it will encourage them to continue flowering.”
Pests and diseases
In winter, all the pests that disturb them in summer hibernate.
Slater said: “Mold, which is the result of too much drought in the summer, is not a problem in the winter.”