As you stroll through the garden centers and nurseries this fall, you'll find colorful pansies and violas—both great choices for fall planting.
Ideally, these cool-weather loving flowers should be planted from now until mid-October to allow their roots to become established. However, you can plant pansies into November depending on the weather conditions. The sooner you plant them, the more likely that they will survive the winter and re-bloom next spring.
Pansies have larger flower heads, while violas have a larger number of smaller flowers. You can find pansies in just about every color including black, mahogany and bronze. There is a vast array of color combinations, patterns, and petal forms. Flower size varies from an inch in diameter to several inches.
Every year, you'll find new colors and varieties at your garden center. Most of the pansies and violas sold this time of year will return next year if you plant them in early fall in the right conditions.
Pansies will thrive in a well-drained, sunny location. They work well in planting beds, borders and containers. Add some slow-release fertilizer in with the plants. Pinch off the spent flower heads throughout the season to encourage reblooming.
If you have an empty planting bed or a container that is begging for instant color, go to your garden center and see what's new this season.
This year, you will find several new varieties including Cool Wave™ pansies from the makers of the Wave petunia, a series of petunias known for their bright, colorful blooms and spreading habit. These new pansies spread and trail vigorously 24 to 30 inches. They work well in baskets and containers. In our area, Cool Wave should return next spring after going dormant in winter. Colors include white, yellow, frost (cream-colored edged in lilac), and violet wing (bi-colored deep purple and white).
You will find Cool wave pansies at Home Depot and select Lowes stores. Also, check with your local garden center. Visit Cool Wave's website for more information and to find a retail center in your area.