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Annual Flowers for Cold Weather

It’s gotten chilly the last couple of days, hasn’t it!? I am loving the cooler weather, and all the rain we’ve been having is so great for newly planted trees and shrubs. Usually September and October are some of our driest months in Middle Tennessee; doesn’t seem to be the case for us this year! With cooler temps, pretty soon it means we will be having some frosts at night. While many of my summer annuals are still going strong, I know when those frosty nights come, it will be time to plant some cool- loving annuals in my container pots to enjoy this fall and winter! Let’s talk a bit about pansies and violas!

Pansies and violas are a go- to favorite for many Southerners in the fall and winter, and while they are very pretty and dainty, the most practical reason may be because they last even during the cold months of January. If you plant either pansies or violas now, you can bet on them lasting through about next April! These flowers love full sun and they are similar in many ways. There are a few distinctions between pansies and violas, which I will lay out below!

  • Pansies (like the one shown above- ‘Panola White Blotch’) produce a larger flower than violas (like picture shown below- ‘Penny Denim Jump Up’), but both look very much the same except for size.

  • Violas dead-head themselves whereas pansies do not. With pansies, you need to pluck off spent blooms to encourage new growth. The area this makes the most difference is in mass plantings- where pansies would need to be dead-headed every few days and violas would not.

(Shown above -Pansy ‘Matrix Sangria’)

  • Violas, being smaller in size, sometimes seem more perky than pansies in the dead of winter. Pansies can sometimes get kind of a slumped over look in really cold weather, although they will stand back up straight again around early spring and be as vibrant as ever! Violas usually seem unfazed by really cold weather and still look nice even in snow.

That’s the low-down on pansies and violas. Both are hardy, great bloomers for our Middle Tennessee winters, and both are gorgeous and come in a wide variety of colors! We’ve grown many varieties of both pansies and violas this year at Riverbend Nurseries, along with some new shades and colors!

Whichever is your favorite (or maybe you like to have container pots with both!) of pansies and violas, come pick yourself up some pretties and enjoy them during these cooler months to come!

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