- Apr 18, 2014
- Reaction score
- Lower Hudson Valley, New York
'Spring is here! The trees already have buds on them!'
Double annuals around here, since a lot of people put in a second set in the fall to give color until winter starts.I planted pansies last spring and then over-wintered them, and they did drop a LOT
of seed. There must be a thousand 1/2" tall seedlings sprouting. The original 'mother' plants made it through the winter too, because here in the Pacific Northwest pansies are very hardy. They go dormant during the winter, and then take off growing again come spring. Out of curiosity I tried looking up pansies and some say they are 'short-lived perennials', with one site saying they are biennials. In our zone they definitely grow like biennials in that they are sown in summer, they over-winter, and then they set seed the following year. Whatever they are, most people certainly treat them as annuals.
How hardy they are also may depend on their genetics. Pansies are the result of so many crossings it's actually hard to define them as a discrete species (which is why they have that x. withrocki end on their name).
In my personal experience, the closer one is to it's wild forms (either Johnny-Jump-up (Viola tricolor) or Viola cornuta) the better the chance of it or its seeds making it through the winter is. Certainly, all of the volunteers I see tend to be smaller size violas rather than bigger ones. I think the stems and leaves being less juicy (and hence, less prone to freezing damage) may help.
My main problem during the year is trying to keep the seeds separate, since I usually pick the ripe pods as I see them, and I only have so many pockets. Plus, quite often, the ones I want most to do the next year produce few, if any seeds (or why I still have to go crazy hunting down red violas when by now I should have a stable population (violas, not pansies, red pansies are easy to find, red violas are not.)
And genetics can throw curveballs. The very FIRST volunteer I got (which, alas didn't produce any seed) came out with a yellow rimmed black centered flower. This would have been perfectly typical for a full sized pansy, but this ones plant (and flower) were about the size of a wild field pansy (Viola arvensis) i.e. the weed one.