- Type Spring flower
- Lifespan Short-lived perennial
- USDA Zones 4-7
- Light Sun or partial shade
- Water Well-drained soil
- When to Plant Cool weather
- Design Tips Front of the border
- Companions Coral Bells
- Peak Season Spring flowers
Pansies: A Field Guide
To Emily Dickinson, who loved flowers, a pansy was a “dear, old fashioned, little flower!” And by old-fashioned, the poet meant good things: faithful, resolute, and cheerful.
This is just the sort of flower we need to kick off spring. Perennial pansies are cousins to violets, as their botanical name (Viola × wittrockiana) makes clear. Pansies’ diminutive, colorful flowers in bright shades of blue, purple, yellow, white, and orange self-sow freely and will pop up in unexpected spots in the garden next spring.
Don’t confuse pansies with their close relatives, other violas: Viola cornuta and Viola tricolor have smaller flowers but make better ground covers (their habit is to grow in tight mats).