Pansies are a firm favorite amongst gardeners, especially when it comes to winter and spring flower beds and displays! They are a member of the genus Viola and are part of the Violaceae family. Pansies are often confused with other flowering members of the Viola genus, however, most people are referring to V. x wittrockiana when talking about pansies.
They have been cultivated for hundreds of years and are hybridized crosses of several species of viola, such as V. altaica, V. cornuta, V. lutea, and V. tricolor. They began gaining popularity in 19th century Europe and since then, over 250 cultivars have been bred! More recently, trailing varieties have been developed, making pansies a great option for hanging baskets!
Their common name “pansy” is a derivative of the French word “pensée” which means thoughts or remembrance. Additionally, pansies were a key ingredient in 19th-century love potions due to their meaning in the language of flowers representing the thoughts of lovers!
Pansy plants have highly recognizable blooms that can be very similar to other members of the viola family. They have open-faced flowers consisting of 4 upward-facing petals, and a single downward-facing petal. They may have a sweet scent and are marked with distinct blotches, patterns, and whiskers. These lovely plants come in a wide range of pretty colors and color combinations, including white, pink, red, yellow, orange, purple, blue, and even black!
They are cool-summer flowers that thrive in colder climates and diminish in the heat of summer. Pansies are frost-tolerant, however, some varieties do better in colder weather than others. Their lovely color and hardy blooms make them a wonderful addition to winter gardens alongside other hardy flowers such as primroses, heather, and cyclamens.
Unique Pansy Varieties For Your Garden
Here are some popular types of pansy flowers that you can grow:
#1 Beacon Caramel
Beacon Caramel is a delightful pansy plant that will bring warm colors reminiscent of the sunset into the garden! They are a great choice for winter bedding schemes and their large flowers sit atop short, strong stems preventing them from flopping over! Their petals come in a mixture of caramel shades of red and orange, with a streak of lighter color along their lowermost petal. Beacon Caramel will reliably flower from fall to late spring, pausing only in extremely cold weather!
#2 Cool Wave Golden Yellow
This sunny pansy variety has bright yellow flowers that are decorated with darker whiskers. It is floriferous and can trail as long as 30 inches. Its medium-sized flowers are lightly scented and would look delightful tumbling over a container, window box, or hanging basket. Cool Wave Golden Yellow is cold-tolerant so is a top choice for winter pansy displays!
#3 Cool Wave Morpho
Cool Wave Morpho is another fantastic spreading pansy flower! It has a final height of between 6 and 8 inches and can trail to lengths of 24 to 30 inches. This pansy is the perfect choice for hanging baskets, where its multi-colored blooms provide a bright splash of color! It has purple-blue wings and yellow petals that can fade to pale violet or blue. Its face is marked with dark whiskers and has a golden orange throat.
#4 Cool Wave Purple
This brilliant pansy plant is another member of the Cool Wave Series! Cool Wave Purple has beautiful purple-red flowers that can have a dark purple blotch on its face, and its bright yellow throat contrasts nicely with the darker petals. This mysterious pansy has a trailing habit, so is a great addition to window boxes, large containers, or hanging baskets!
#5 Cool Wave Violet Wing
Cool Wave Violet Wing is the ultimate pansy variety for hanging baskets and window boxes. It is a trailing variety with a maximum height of 8 inches and a final spread of up to 30 inches! An extremely fast-growing and long-lasting plant, this lovely variety is a favorite amongst gardeners. This pansy has velvet, deep purple-red wing petals, and white petals that are sometimes flushed with light purple. Its bright yellow throat and deep purple whiskers give it a striking face.
#6 Cool Wave White
Cool Wave White is a member of the Cool Wave series, a group of delightful spreading pansy plants. They will reach heights between 6 and 8 inches, but have a spread as wide as 30 inches! This makes them a wonderful choice for containers and hanging baskets. They have pure white petals, accompanied by golden yellow throats that are decorated with warm brown whiskers.
#7 Delta Premium Blue Morpho
This delightful multi-season pansy will bring glorious color into the garden in both spring and fall! With a mounding habit and tight branches, it makes a wonderful choice for mass plantings! It is a reliable bloomer, gracing the garden with its upward-facing, open-faced, multi-colored flowers. These flowers have deep purple wings and yellow faces with distinct blue whistlers that fade to purple-blue towards its lightly frilled edges.
#8 Delta Premium Gold with Blotch
A wonderful addition to the spring garden, Delta Premium Gold with Blotch has sunshine yellow flowers with a contrasting dark blotch on its face. This pansy plant has a mounding habit and is low-growing only reaching a maximum height of 6 inches. It will flower early in the season bringing life into the late winter/spring garden! Plant it along flower beds or in container displays!
#9 Delta Premium Pure Lemon
Another brilliant member of the Delta Premium Series, this pansy will grow well in spring as well as fall. It will grow uniformly, and is a tightly branched, floriferous variety! It has bright yellow flowers with subtle orange veining that stands out strikingly amongst its bright green foliage. With a maximum height of 6 inches and a similar spread, this pansy flower is perfect for planting along the front of garden beds and borders, or in containers.
#10 Delta Premium Pure Orange
Delta Premium Pure Orange has bold, bright orange flowers with subtle orange veining. Its suggested use is as an annual in cooler climates, and it can be planted in both a spring or fall garden! Its cheery blooms look sensational planted in container displays alongside white primroses, cyclamens, and other pansy flowers!
#12 Delta Premium True Blue
Delta Premium True Blue is a lovely pansy with a mounding habit. It is compact, reaching a maximum height of 6 inches. A part of the Delta Premium Series, this variety is a multi-season plant that is suitable for growing in both spring and fall! This pansy has delicate open-faced flowers that have purple-blue petals decorated with subtle darker veins and bright yellow and white throats.
#13 Delta Premium Violet and White
A true show stopper, Delta Premium Violet and White is a bi-colored pansy that will command attention in the garden! Plant it in either the spring or fall garden for reliable, uniform flowers. It has rich purple wings and a white face with deep purple blotches. It is mound-forming, making it great for beds, borders, and pots. Plant it alongside other uniformly-colored Delta Premium members such as Pure Yellow and Pure Orange for a bold display!
#14 Frizzle Sizzle Burgundy
A truly eye-catching pansy flower, this variety is often classified as a ruffled pansy due to its highly frilled petals! It has a final height of between 6 and 8 inches and can spread to 10 inches across. It is fantastic for cool weather, with stronger ruffling occurring in cooler conditions. This delightful pansy has burgundy flowers with subtle darker bases and almost black veining.
#15 Frizzle Sizzle Lemonberry
Frizzle Sizzle Lemonberry is a truly unique pansy flower! It has beautifully ruffled petals that look incredible in containers or beds and borders! It is a cool-season pansy whose petals become more frilly with cooler conditions. Its petals are pale yellow, with raspberry pink edges, and dark red blotches at their bases. Plant it in cottage-style or informal gardens!
#16 Frizzle Sizzle Raspberry
Part of the Frizzle Sizzle series which is prized for its uniquely ruffled flowers, Frizzle Sizzle Raspberry has wonderful coloring suited to a cottage-style garden or container display! It has raspberry red wings, and a raspberry pink face decorated with dark blotches that are ringed with pale pink! This pansy grows to 8 inches tall and 10 inches wide.
#17 Jolly Joker
Jolly Joker is a compact pansy variety. It only grows as tall as 8 inches, but has large, showy flowers that can grow as wide as 2.5-3 inches wide! Its striking flowers have fiery orange petals and contrasting velvety purple wings. It is the perfect choice for bringing a bright pop of color into container, city, and courtyard gardens.
#18 Matrix Ocean
Part of the Matrix series, Matrix Ocean grows 8 inches tall and can reach as wide as 8-10 inches. It has large flowers that grow between 3 and 3.5 inches across, atop short stalks that prevent them from flopping over! Their flowers come in shades of light lavender to mid-blue-purple, with a dark central blotch that can sometimes contain white. This pansy flower looks phenomenal planted en masse, to create a sea of blue and purple!
#19 Matrix Orange
Matrix Orange is a fantastic pansy variety noted for its cold tolerance. It is a prolific bloomer and produces vivid orange flowers that contrast nicely with its green foliage. This cultivar grows up to 8 inches tall and is a fantastic choice for bringing some sunshine into winter gardens! Plant it alongside yellow-flowered pansies such as Cool Wave Golden Yellow or Matrix Yellow Blotch for a sunny display!
#20 Matrix Morpheus
This easy-to-grow pansy will reach a final height and spread of 9 inches. It has pretty flower faces that have attractive markings. Each flower has deep purple wings and yellow petals that can fade to purple and/or white towards their edges. These yellow petals are adorned with delicate, deep purple veins.
#21 Matrix Primrose
Another member of the Matrix series, Matrix Primrose is noted for its extra-large flowers. It has a mounding habit and will grow as tall as 8 inches and as wide as 10 inches. It is a prolific bloomer creating a large impact in container displays or when planted in large groups in flower beds! This pretty pansy plant has beautiful soft yellow flowers that are delicately kissed with yellow-orange throats.
#22 Matrix Yellow Blotch
This cold-tolerant pansy variety is the perfect addition to any winter or spring garden. However, beware in the summer as it isn’t fond of heat and its flowers may flop over! It is a compact pansy plant that has an eventual height of only 4-5 inches, making it a great choice for edging borders or for growing in containers. It has golden-yellow petals that are marked with a striking, dark, almost black, blotch on its lower 3 petals.
#23 Silver Wings
Silver Wings would make a fabulous addition to any garden, however, its delicate colors make it particularly suited to a cottage-style display! It reaches heights of 9 inches and boasts deep purple petals that are flushed with white along its petal edges. It has a contrasting golden-yellow throat and white wing petals. Crystalize its petals and use them for cake decorating!
#24 Ultima Radiance Red
A top choice for container displays, Ultima Radiance Red is part of the Ultima Radiance series and is a compact, mound-forming pansy with a height and width of 6 inches. Its medium-sized blooms are bright red, with a yellow-blotched face painted with dark red whiskers! Plant it as a standalone in pots, or alongside yellow pansies such as Matrix Yellow Blotch or Delta Premium Pure Yellow!
#25 Ultima Radiance Violet
A fabulous addition to a container garden, Ultima Radiance Violet Pansy has white petals that deepen to vivid violet edges! It has a golden yellow throat adorned with prominent dark purple whiskers. It has a height and spread of 6 inches, with dark green foliage that enhances its eye-catching flowers. Grow this pansy in cottage-style gardens!
See more: How to grow pansies
Cornell University, Pansy
Missouri Botanical Garden, Viola × wittrockiana
The Royal Horticultural Society, Viola x wittrockiana Joker Series