Pansies and violas are "little bundles of joy" says Carol Guedalia, a horticulturist at The Greenery in Bluffton, South Carolina. She's convinced that no matter how cold the weather is, their bright faces will warm your day. Still, everyone wants to know one thing: What do you plant with them?
Keep It Simple
It's easy to create a bright welcome to your home with flowerpots. The important thing to remember is that the less complicated they are, the better. Place three to five pots of various sizes together for a bigger impact of color. Another benefit of grouping your pots is that they are convenient to groom, water, and fertilize.
When visiting the nursery, you will see many beautiful things, and you may want to take all of them home. The impulse is to buy one of each--don't. Pick a color scheme, and stick to it. The terra-cotta pots shown here relate to the warm colors of the brick steps. The selection of pots is varied but simple. The flower colors are in a warm range of yellows.
The Other Plants
So what else can you use in your pots? Think about what you would like the plants to do.
To soften the edges of containers, use trailing plants, such as periwinkles. Try selections with leaves that are multicolored, such as 'Variegata' periwinkle (Vinca major 'Variegata') and 'Illumination' periwinkle (V. minor 'Illumination'). For chartreuse leaves, use some creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia). Ivy is also a great choice, with many selections. Tip: When buying ivy, be sure to get plants that have been conditioned to the cool fall temperatures, and avoid ones straight from a heated greenhouse.
To fill in between the flowers, there are lots of options. Try using lettuce, thyme, parsley, coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea), chard, radishes, bronze fennel, red mustard, or kale. All provide a nice contrast to the blooms.
For height, add an old favorite such as variegated monkey grass, or use leather leaf sedge (Carex buchananii) or 'Ogon' golden sweet flag (Acorus gramineus 'Ogon'). Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) also works well.