They require little attention, thrive under the coldest of circumstances and provide lasting color during the fall and winter months, even blooming well into spring.
Now is the perfect time to plant pansies and violas, according to Mary Jean Newell of Greenbrier Nursery and Gifts in Evans. Although some warmer temperatures are expected during the daylight hours, the plants will still provide a host of colorful blooms.
Pansies will develop longer and leggier stems during the warmer part of the fall, but those stems can be pinched back once the cooler weather sets in, Newell said.
Pansies provide a great show of color in hanging baskets, planters and as borders.
Since they are also edible, they can be used in salads and to garnish dessert and appetizer plates during holiday festivities.
"You can mix them into salads and they really provide a lot of color," Newell said.
Much like pansies, violas -- or Johnny Jump-Ups -- have bright blooms, albeit smaller. Because of their small blooms, they are more prolific bloomers and have no preference to hot or cold weather. Johnny Jump Ups also make great trailing plants, hanging down six to eight inches over the edge of a planter.
Pansies and violas need little care, Newell said.
"They don't require a lot of water," she said. "And, if they start to get a fungus -- yellow leaves with black spots on them -- you can just spray a general fungicide on the plant."
Newell added that pansies should be deadheaded once a bloom dies off. To do so, snip the plant off all the way down the stem to the leaf juncture; otherwise the stem will continue to grow, but there will be no blooms.
One rule of thumb when planting pansies is to plant the lighter-colored flowers in front of darker-colored homes and darker flowers in front of light-colored homes.
"They're more showy that way," said Newell, who added that the yellows, purples, blues and antique colors of the plants are among the nursery's best sellers.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.