If gardeners and bumblebees are holding their breath for an early sign of spring, then there should be a mighty exhale at the sight of the season's first pansy blossoms. Once considered as weedy as its wild cousin the common blue violet, breeding efforts have produced fantastic new cultivars with both blotched and clear faces, along with ruffled petals and extra-large flowers in a brilliant range of candy store hues. Fill your borders, hanging baskets, and window boxes with one of these cheerful varieties of pansies, which bounce back from late winter squalls of snow and ice with ease.
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Matrix Solar Flare
The 'Matrix' series of pansy was developed by PanAmerican Seed to withstand warmer temperatures of autumn without bolting or flopping. Can't you imagine the burnished gold and crimson tones of 'Solar Flare' glowing beside your fall asters and mums?
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Cool Wave White
Many winter holiday flower baskets are short on blooming material but that needn't be the case if you choose a cold-tolerant flower, like the 'Cool Wave White' pansy. Pansy hanging baskets can last through weeks of winter weather if you bring them into the garage each evening to protect them from the deepest chills.
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Many garden flowers that claim to be blue are actually more of a purplish shade. Not so with 'Delta Marina' pansy. The sturdy stems of the 'Delta' series hold blooms upright, keeping their faces out of the mud after spring storms.
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If you want to create an eye-catching garden design with black flowers, few are as dark as the moody 'Black Accord' pansy. Pair these black blooms with chartreuse tulips for sizzling contrast, or plant them alongside white or yellow pansies for maximum effect.Continue to 5 of 14 below.
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Inspire Plus Mardi Gras Mix
For some gardeners, a pansy just isn't a pansy without the typical "blotch" markings that give the blooms the appearance of a face. The extra-large blooms that develop on pansies in the 'Inspire Plus' series mean you'll be better able to enjoy those faces when you're looking out your window if the weather is too disagreeable to venture out.
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Delta Rose Surprise
By designing with the 'Delta Rose Surprise' pansy, gardeners get a coordinated color palette in one six-pack of flowering plants. Creamy yellow and white blooms with rose and purple picotee edging contrast with deep violet blotches on the central petals.
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When it comes to piercing the dull gray of a rainy spring day, few flowers shine like a clear face pansy. 'Nature Orange' will stand out in your landscape like a beacon, especially when planted at eye level in a hanging basket or window box.
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Inspire Deluxxe Mulberry Mix
The 'Inspire Deluxxe' series of pansy features blooms up to 3.5 inches across, so it won't take many open flowers to fill your containers with wall-to-wall pansy petals. The series offers several varieties in clear face and blotch, or you can buy customized mixes like 'Mulberry.'Continue to 9 of 14 below.
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If you're a fan of ombré, you will love the graduated color shading of the 'WonderFall Blue and Purple Shades' of pansies. As the name suggests, this series exhibits a waterfall-like trailing growth habit, making it perfect for spilling over the edges of your containers and hanging baskets. These plants spread three times further than traditional pansies, meaning more flowers on fewer plants, which stretches your gardening dollar.
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Ruffled pansy varieties like 'Chalon Supreme' add a romantic finishing touch to Victorian and cottage-style gardens. Ruffled pansies are no more difficult to grow than conventional types, although you may need to visit a full-service nursery, rather than your local DIY store, to find these uncommon pansies.
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Cool Wave Morpho
Named for the iridescent tropical butterfly, 'Cool Wave Morpho' brings the same shimmering shades of blue to your cool-weather garden. The bloom count and cold hardiness of this spreading pansy make it a top-notch pick for any hanging basket or container.Continue to 13 of 14 below.
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Nature Rose Picotee
The white edging of 'Nature Rose Picotee' pansy acts like a frame, helping the purple hue to stand out even at a distance. The 'Nature' series is more heat tolerant than others, making it a good choice for late spring and early fall plantings.
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Cool Wave Blueberry Swirl
In spite of its delicate appearance, you can expect 'Cool Wave Blueberry Swirl' pansy to bounce back after 20 below zero temperatures in the winter. Fertilize every two weeks to keep the plant as productive as possible.