Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Pansy, Viola


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. The pansy, or viola, is a See more pictures of annual flowers.

Pansies, and violas, are annual flowers related to violets and bloom during cool seasons of the year. In the Deep South, they are used for winter bedding.

Description: Pansies and violas produce flowers continuously as they grow. Flowers range from an inch in diameter up to five inches or more. Some have clear colors, but many have the unique faces with whiskers or blotches that are so appealing.

How to grow: In mild winter areas, set out plants as soon as the weather cools in late summer. Even areas with short freezes can enjoy winter pansies; once the weather warms, they'll start blooming. Elsewhere, enjoy them for several months in the spring, setting them out two to four weeks before the last frost is expected. Space six to nine inches apart.

Propagation: Start seeds eight weeks prior to planting out. They will germinate in 10 to 15 days at 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Uses: Pansies and violas are suitable for the front of borders and beds, in small groups among other flowers, and in containers.

Related species: Johnny Jump Up is a tiny yellow and purple viola of mixed heritage. Its cultivars include Helen Mount and Penny Orange Jump Up.

Scientific name: Viola x wittrockiana, Viola x hybrida

Want more information? Try these:

  • Annual Flowers. Discover your favorite annual flowers. We've organized them by color, sunlight, soil type, and height to make it easy to plan your garden.
  • Annuals. There's more to an annuals garden than flowers. Learn about all of the annuals that enhance your garden.
  • Perennial Flowers. Complement your annuals with these delightful perennial flowers. They are also organized by height, soil type, sunlight, and color.