One of nature’s most glorious gifts to us in winter is the sweet, fragrant faces of pansies and vilolas. These gorgeous little plants really take the bite out of winter.
The main difference between the two is flower size. Pansies generally have fewer blooms per plant, but make up for it with much larger flowers. Violas have small, dainty flowers, but they are very florific. Both perform well in a sunny or partially shaded position, so planting under deciduous trees in autumn is ideal. Violas are even happy in quite shady positions, so are perfect for brightening up dull areas.
Then set out your seedlings 20cm apart as soon as the weather cools and you’ll enjoy them for many months to come. Pansies and violas are suitable for the front of borders and beds, in small groups among other flowers, as well as in containers.
They can survive light freezes and in mild climates bloom throughout winter and spring, often blooming right up to Christmas. For the best performance water thoroughly about once a week and use a plant food every other week. Don’t forget to deadhead to extend the blooming period.
Information supplied by the Bedding Plant Growers Association. For more go to www.lifeisagarden.co.za