5 Reasons You Just Gotta' Love The Pansy Flower!

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There are so many, many drop-dead gorgeous flowers to love, so many to plant in a garden.  But an apartment balcony space can be somewhat restrictive in choices.  Still, there are choices.  One such choice is pansy flowers.  If you're looking out onto your balcony garden for a ray of joy, plant pansy flowers.  You just gotta' love the pansy face.

I'll always remember the first time I had planted pansies in the front flower bed of a town home I had once owned in Northern Virginia.  One day that winter, there was a heavy snow fall during the night.  When it finally stopped early that morning, the brilliant rays of the sun lite up pure white snow that had blanketed the garden bed.  REASON #1:  I looked out the window and there was a big yellow face pansy peeking up through the white snow and smiling with its face towards the blue sky.  I have loved pansies ever since.  

In a few weeks, pansies will be in the garden centers and I will be there eagerly picking out trays of pansy flowers for my apartment balcony garden.

What You Need To Know About Growing Pansies (Viola × wittrockiana): 

  • The viola family includes both pansies and violets
  • Pansies are annuals that grow best in zones 6-10, preferring 60 degree F range (16 degree C) during the day and 40 degree F range (4 C)  during the night.  However, contemporary hybrids are often more adaptable to higher temperatures.
  • Plant seeds in late winter for early spring and summer flowering, or plant seeds in the summer for winter flowering.
  • Plant in moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil. Pansies like sun and cooler temperatures.
  • REASON #2  Pansies will easily grow in containers and flower boxes, as well as garden beds and edges
  • Pansy is from the "French word pensie, meaning thought or remembrance."  
  • Takes full sun to part shade (generally means 6 hours of sun is required)
  • Hybrids grow approximately 8" tall with a 2-4" diameter and a flattened like face
  • Colors come in blue, purple, red, rose, yellow, apricot, brown-red, white and bi-colors
  • Although susceptible to fungal leaf diseases, pansies are relative free of serious insect  or disease problems.  (When planted in garden beds and edges, do watch for slugs and snails 

REASONS #3 AND #4:  Two Interesting Facts About Pansies  -- they're edible and have a fragrance.
 
 The Flower Expert

Some pansies have a delicate perfume-like aroma. Once you have smelled and identified the pansy scent, it is unforgettable. Pansies seem to exude more fragrance at early morning and dusk. The yellow or blue pansy flowers seem to have the strongest scent.

Both the leaves and flowers of pansies and violas are edible and high in vitamins A and C. The flowers impart a strong flavor and have been used to make syrup, flavored honey and salads. Both the leaves and flowers can be used as a garnish, such as on cold fruit or cream soups. The flowers are also useful as a dye.
— The Flower Expert

If you plan to eat pansies, here's a warning from Martha Stewart, Tasting Pansies

Pansies and violas can have a mild, fresh flavor or a more prominent wintergreen taste depending on the variety and how much you eat (a whole flower tastes stronger than petals alone). Only eat flowers that are grown organically, without chemical pesticides. This rules out almost everything from florists, garden centers, and nurseries; it’s a good idea to grow pansies yourself if you plan to consume them, or order from an edible-flower source.
A sprinkling of sugar gives flowers baked onto little scalloped sugar cookies a lovely, subtle iridescence.
— see Martha Stewart

A good source for even more ideas and recipes on edible flowers, try the  Edible Flowers board on Pinterest.  Pansies and other edible flowers can be purchased.  To learn more about this, see Where To Buy Edible Flowers on Good Housekeeping.com.  After doing an extensive search on buying organic edible flowers at a reasonable price, I've come to believe it may be better to just grow your own.  In fact, I'll be looking into doing that myself.  If, however, should you find a good source in the U.S.A., PLEASE share this information!

Pansies, Radishes Tea Sandwiches.  See Recipe on Chin Deep.com

Pansies, Radishes Tea Sandwiches.  See Recipe on Chin Deep.com

Lemon Cake with Floral finish by Mat & Vanner

Lemon Cake with Floral finish by Mat & Vanner

The above image is a beautiful lemon cake heavily finished with a edible flowers and is by Mat & Vanner; however, you will need a translation for the recipe.  A similar lemon cake recipe can be found on Food Network by Ina Garten

REASON #5:  They're Beautiful In Flower Arrangements And As Bouquets

Here's a gorgeous flower arrangement with pansies. Learn more on how you can create a beautiful arrangement of flowers from your balcony garden at Nola.com, How to design gorgeous, homegrown (and free) backyard bouquets.  

From Nola.com 

From Nola.com 

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There now, can you not love pansies?  No?  Well, for those of us who do, let's just glow with joy and plant pots and pots of pansies.

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