The cultivars of garden pansies are bred with the aim of blooming throughout the summer season. In the case of mass propagation, the breeders do not attach particular importance to the strength of the plant, but only to the fact that the flower color is nice and strong and perhaps as exotic as possible. The production of these beautiful and often unnaturally large flowers takes a lot of energy from the plant. So that plants from mass breeding can usually only be cultivated for one or two years because they “have given everything” during this period. Pansies are actually perennials, and if you buy well-cultivated and hardy pansies from a specialist nursery, you can wait and see whether your pansies will continue to grow in a form that pleases your eye into the third year and beyond. This also applies to the wild pansies. The horned violets will please you for several years anyway.

Cultivation of pansies in the garden

Depending on how you estimate the lifespan of your pansies, the location in the garden is selected. If you want to keep your pansies in the bed for as long as possible, you should choose a bed that you will not get bored of looking at.

In any case, this location should be in the sun or semi-shade, the soil should absorb moisture well and still be water-permeable and provide the pansies with quite a lot of nutrients. You should therefore prepare the soil for the pansies well, with a strong incorporation of compost, e.g. B., or with a preparatory fertilization.

Pansies are usually purchased as young plants from a nursery in the spring and transplanted directly into the garden. You can also sow pansies from spring to summer. If that happens by July, you can still expect the first flowers in autumn.

care and overwintering 

Not only should the soil be well prepared with nutrient inputs, you would also need to add nutrients during the growing season. Especially when the pansies start to lose their flowering power.

In addition, the pansies want even moisture. When it’s dry, you have to water it, but please not so much that the pansies are exposed to standing water. They don’t take it very well.

The pansies stay in place for at least two years, so they must survive at least one winter in the garden. This will sometimes not be easy, because pansies are only partially hardy, and they often suffer in cold winters when there is no protective snow cover. If the pansies have been given a place in the full sun, they lose a lot of water through evaporation even in winter, but with frozen root balls they cannot absorb water from below, they then simply dry up.

That’s why you should treat the pansies to an artificial cover made of leaves or brushwood or fleece, so they can get through the winter without being covered with snow. If you live in one of the colder areas of Germany, you should also ask the nursery about varieties with particularly good winter hardiness.

Pansies of many kinds

There are already many pansy varieties in the natural form, some of which are wild forms that are the parents of the most well-known variety, the Viola wittrockiana Gams ex Nauenburg & Buttler. So this is not an original pansy, but a hybrid. Several wild varieties have been immortalized in this garden pansy by the hand of the breeder. The horned violet (Viola cornuta) contributed an unbelievable number of beautiful bright flower colours, the perennial Vosges pansy (Viola lutea) longer lifespan, the wild pansy (Viola tricolor) the resilience and the Altai pansy (Viola altaica) from Siberia probably a good shot cold resistance.

There is an incredible variety of these garden pansies today, with the names of the individual varieties often giving an indication of their colors and properties:

  • evening glow is deep red,
  • Alpensee is deep blue,
  • Flame Viola is fiery red with a brown eye,
  • the Swiss giant is particularly large, and
  • Viola Red Wing is yellow with red underleaves.

Don’t worry, that’s not all, there are still tangerine and blue and white pansies, white winged and red and yellow winged and violet with white inner leaves striped with violet and pansies with red under leaves and a golden yellow eye with a red rim, in other words: It There’s nothing that pansies don’t have, at least that’s what the colors give the impression of.

Wild pansy species

But there are also some wild species that you can plant in the garden, a pleasant change from the garden pansies:

  1. Horned Violet

    Horned violets (Viola cornuta) are a small-flowered and natural type of pansy and are therefore currently in great demand as part of the natural garden trend. They do well in perennial beds and rock gardens, especially with an eye on the variety of colors. There are red and blue and yellow horned violets, but also white and red-violet and blue-violet and almost black. The different varieties have evocative names such as “Baby Franjo” and “Columbine”, “Deep Purple” and “Joker”. They rarely give a hint about the color of the flowers as a stimulus to invent your own crazy story about the origin of this name.

  2. Field pansies (Viola arvensis) can occasionally still be found on the edge of our fields. Here they are trying to become resistant to herbicides, which they are increasingly doing. With a growth height of up to one meter, they are also an interesting variant for the garden. Here, the one-year-old pansy can either decorate a meadow or be sown in a herb bed by a naturopathically trained gardener, in order to then be used against all sorts of everyday ailments.
  3. The wild pansy (Viola tricolor) is also in trend for the natural garden and has medicinal properties . It usually pleases with slightly larger flowers than the Viola arvensis. The wild pansies form somewhat stronger shades on the scale from light yellow to blue-violet. They are, so to speak, the rustic accent to the delicately colored natural beauties of the field.

name origin

The pansy is a violet that forms its own species group within the viola genus, with a common characteristic of the flower, which is also responsible for the naming: all pansies have a somewhat dominant “stepmother”. A broad lower leaf covering the lateral leaves, the “daughters”. D, in turn, cover the two upper leaves, the oppressed “stepdaughters”. It may be doubted that the pansies when developing this flower formThoughts of suppression were harbored, this development served friendlier purposes: In the case of wild pansies, the lower leaves are dark, the lateral leaves are lighter and the lowermost leaf is very light with a yellow spot in the middle, and there are also dark orienting stripes on the inside – you couldn’t get insects any more comfortably carry nectar. It is probably because of this arrangement of leaves that pansies can be grown in many color combinations distributed symmetrically over the flower head. In any case, the violet species with a different flower shape usually only show up with single-colored flowers…

It is still understandable why the pansy is called pansies, but why the garden pansy is called “Viola wittrockiana Gams ex Nauenburg & Buttler” rightly gives cause for astonishment. In fact, the German name seems to have been some kind of program here.

With regard to the assignment of the botanical name, the garden pansy has really been treated a little “neglect”. Garden pansies have been cultivated for a very long time. A botanist set about scientifically describing the plant more than 100 years ago. The garden pansy has long since been christened “wittrockiana” in honor of this Swede called Wittrock. This will initially strike every botanist. The botanical name of a plant is actually made up of the genus name (Viola) and a species name, which is used for description. For example, the field pansy is called Viola arvensis because “arvum” means arable land in Latin. Mr. Wittrock himself could not think of a descriptive species name for the plant crossing,

Of course, scientific naming is not that simple. The correct procedure also includes the valid publication, and this was exactly what was simply forgotten with the Viola wittrockiana Gams ex Nauenburg & Buttler! It wasn’t until 1986 that a Mr. Nauenburg, who was doing his doctorate on pansies, noticed this. Together with his colleague Mr. Buttler, he set about “scientifically completing” the naming. So that they can benefit from it themselves, they added their own names at the same time. This explains why the pansy is called “Viola wittrockiana Gams ex Nauenburg & Buttler”.

Buy pansies

Common garden pansies are offered in all nurseries in the spring, sometimes in larger and sometimes in a rather limited selection. If you would like to get an overview of the offer or would like to sow your pansies in the garden yourself, you could e.g. B. look around on the website Here you can view and order almost 50 different varieties of garden pansies.

The specialists also only grow at the locations in which they have specialized. If you are looking for something special, you can find it. Some of the wild forms are certainly available as seeds for the garden: The Templiner herb garden of Mr. Alfred Thomas Schweigert in 17268 Templin offers z. B. Seeds from the Viola arvensis, the field pansy, a “tender little plant with effect”, as it is titled on the website of the herb garden Seeds for wild pansies and horned violets can be bought e.g. B. at the company plants diversity of Walter Wolf from 79809 Weilheim under order.

Pansies have been part of our gardens for a long time. They are easy to care for, charming and add lots of color to the garden. If you should be a little jealous of the neighbor who has transformed his garden into a Zen garden with a lot of effort, white gravel, bonsai junipers and Japanese lanterns from the Internet – just create a pansy Zen garden on. After all, the pansy is one of the symbols of the Japanese city of Osaka. However, you don’t have to rely on this kind of “gardening mainstream”; you can also reflect on the contemplative effect of the local garden culture. Apart from pansies, it has an incredible number of beautiful and detailed plants to offer. Then your garden will also look beautiful,

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