Gardeners often confuse Pansies, Violas, and Panolas with each other. All are wonderful fall and winter, as well as early spring, plants but they have slight differences that are worth noting.
Pansies vs. Violas
In the fall, winter and early spring season there are few flowers that will bloom and produce lots of color despite the cold weather. Surprisingly, one of the sturdiest plants are pansies. Pansies look and act a lot like violas but they have a much larger flower, and larger leaves as well. Another difference between the two fall favorites is that pansies usually only have a few flowers at a time whereas violas have a smaller flower but more blooms.
Panolas: A Hybrid
To further complicate things and confuse gardeners, in between these two plants is a hybrid called Panolas. Panolas have flowers that are between the two sizes and tend to have the larger leaf-like pansies.
Different Plants, Different Series
Pansies, violas, and panolas all have different series. Essentially, they’re bred into groups for certain traits like unusual color combinations, greater cold tolerance, or larger flower size. For example, Colossus pansies have a significantly larger flower than Matrix, but there are usually fewer flowers, so the Matrix are planted more commonly.
Similarities Between Pansies, Violas, and Panolas
Despite their differences, all have a mounding habit and tend to spread a bit, but they should stay 4 to 6 inches tall through the cooler weather. All of these winter flowers can handle full shade to full sun, but prefer part sun. They don’t like to dry out completely but are also pretty forgiving if that happens; they prefer to stay moist. Whichever plants you choose, Pansies, Violas and Panolas will provide months of color in cooler temperatures and take center stage in a seasonal color display, colorfully border a landscaped planting bed, or liven up fall and winter container arrangements.
Stop by Patuxent Nursery and see our wide variety of these beauties! One of our knowledgeable sales people will be happy to help you pick out the perfect flowers for your garden.