The Pansy is an amazing plant that has a wonderful range of colors. The famous ‘face’ of the Pansy flower plus good cold-weather show makes the Pansy a traditional faviorite across the country. One of the challenges is to come up with plants almost as good to plant with these little workhorses especially in fall plantings.
So, here are a few suggestions for Pansy Companion Plants:
- First and most important the only plant as good as a Pansy for fall plantings are Viola’s which really are just miniature Pansies (actually it is the other way around Viola’s came first today’s modern Pansies are a Viola species that has been ‘buffed’ by flower breeders). Back on topic there are so few plants ‘as good as’ a Pansy in fall that we need to start be having the correct expectations.
- Second are we looking for ‘color’ in winter or is extended fall color sufficient. This is important as some Pansy companions will take a hard frost and keep going well into winter while many are great in cool to cold fall but will be done after the first snow.
So with that as preamble let’s go shopping!
For all winter color Pansy companion Plants, we like a few items:
- Ornamental Kale
- Sage, Rosemary, Parsley etc
For ‘only’ fall color Pansy Companion Plants, it would be the above list plus we can add:
- Garden Mums
The winter list is great as we are mixing ‘foliage’ for color along with the flowers of Violas, Pansy and Dianthus. Foliage for color is an old idea with landscapers but a relatively new idea for homeowners. The neat greens, pinks and yellows of Kale can be contrast with many of our edible herbs dark green Parsley or a bright silver Sage. Add in Pansies or Violas for splashes of color and you have instant patio pot or feature bed. A hint when you are putting pansies with dark foliage items we like to use bright flowers such as yellow or white. We see the dark purples, red and blues tend to disappear against the dark foliage background.
Our ‘just’ for fall pallet is so much wider and here we can play with great Autumn colors orange, bronze, red and yellow are available in Garden Mums, Bracteantha, Snapdragons, Gerbera and Pansies! Be brave with fall colors; winter is so drab you have to attack it head on!
The Nemesia and Snapdragons can add fragrance if used in deck plantings while the Bracteantha has a the snap, crackle, pop factor in its favor with its crinkly flowers.
With fall plantings, we like to plant in clusters all landscaper’s plant groups of the same plant in clusters of 3’s, 5’s or 7’s to get a mass effect. We always prefer to plant bigger clusters of fewer colors in fall to maximize the initial wow factor. This is more important in fall as the plants will not have all summer to fill in.
Mostly planting fall color is all about keeping a smile on your face when you look at your garden so be brave about color plant in groups and enjoy your fall garden.