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From tiny, cheerful Johnny jump-ups to the stunning 3-inch blooms of Majestic Giant pansies, the genus Viola has a spectacular array of delightful plants for the spring garden. They're must-haves to celebrate the first days of spring since they don't mind cold weather and can even take a little snow and ice!

They're pretty planted in masses in the ground, but also cherished for the early color they bring to pots, window boxes, and other containers. By summer, pansies bloom less and their foliage starts to brown. It's at this time that you'll have to be tough and tear them out and replant with warm-season annuals, such as marigolds or petunias. But that's part of their charm -- they are an ephemeral celebration of spring!


Part Sun, Sun



Under 6 inches to 3 feet


4-12 inches wide

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how to grow Pansy

more varieties for Pansy
Blue & Purple Rain viola

Blue & Purple Rain viola

(Viola 'Blue & Purple Rain') is an award-winning selection with purple flowers that age to white, then mature to purple and blue. It grows 12 inches tall and 16 inches wide.

Bowles' Black pansy

Bowles' Black pansy

(Viola x wittrockiana 'Bowles' Black') offers purple blooms that are so dark they appear black.

Fizzy Lemonberry pansy

Fizzy Lemonberry pansy

(Viola x wittrockiana 'Fizzy Lemonberry') bears fun, ruffly flowers of soft yellow edged in grape-purple. It grows 8 inches tall and wide.

Karma Yellow pansy

Karma Yellow pansy

(Viola x wittrockiana 'Karma Yellow') produces soft yellow blooms in spring or fall. It grows 8 inches tall and wide.

Maxim Marina pansy

Maxim Marina pansy

(Viola x wittrockiana 'Maxim Marina') is a charming variety with purple, lavender, and white blooms.

Padpardja pansy

Padpardja pansy

(Viola x wittrockiana 'Padpardja') bears vibrant, solid-orange blooms.

Velocity Baby Blue viola

Velocity Baby Blue viola

(Viola williamsii 'Velocity Baby Blue') produces soft silvery, blue-purple flowers on a mounded, compact plant to 8 inches tall and wide. It offers good heat resistance.

Velocity Lavender with Yellow Eye viola

Velocity Lavender with Yellow Eye viola

(Viola williamsii 'Lavender with Yellow Eye') shows off lavender-blue flowers with a yellow center. It grows 8 inches tall and wide and holds up well to hot temperatures.

Velocity Lemon and Plum Picotee viola

Velocity Lemon and Plum Picotee viola

(Viola williamsii 'Velocity Lemon and Plum Picotee') bears bright yellow blooms edged in plum-purple on a mounded, compact plant to 8 inches tall and wide. It offers good heat resistance.

plant Pansy with
Flowering kale

Thank goodness for kale. It's one of the few plants available to add a fresh burst of color and life to the fall landscape! Its leaves come with beautiful variegations in pinks, purples, and reds that blend beautifully with changing autumn foliage. Plant it in spring or in the fall after you tear out tired or frost-damaged annuals such as marigolds and impatiens. It likes rich, well-drained but moist soil.Shown above: 'Red Pigeon' flowering kale


Osteospermum adds instant cheer to spring and fall gardens with its colorful, daisy-shape flowers and dark green foliage. The blooms are wonderful for cutting and appear in a wide range of colors. In fact, it's such a striking plant that cut flowers sometimes look artificial!The plant does best in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. It likes cool weather, so in hot-summer areas, it blooms best in spring and fall. Though grown as an annual in most parts of the country, it is perennial in Zones 10-11.


Few gardens should be without the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with beautiful color variations on each flower. Plus, snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. Gather a dozen or more in a small vase and you'll have one of the prettiest bouquets around.Snapdragons are especially useful because they're a cool-season annual, coming into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are just being planted. They're also great for fall color.Plant snapdragon in early spring, a few weeks before your region's last frost date. Deadhead regularly for best bloom and fertilize regularly. Snapdragons often self-seed in the landscape if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year, though the colors from hybrid plants will often will be muddy looking. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch.Shown above: 'Rocket Red' snapdragon

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