Pansies vs. Violas – What’s the Difference?

When it comes to Fall planting you will hear over and over again recommendations to plant pansies and violas. If you didn’t know better, these beautiful, cool season flowers would appear exactly the same to the uneducated eye. Whispering Springs Nursery in Jasper, GA wants to let you in on the secrets about this flowers so you can know the difference, and make an educated decision when you go to plant them in your pansy/viola flower beds this weekend.

Violas for Fall ColorPansies

Pansies have bigger blooms than their viola counterparts, but they also have fewer blooms. They take a bit longer to spread, but are certainly cold hardy. We have some experience with the new variety of Wave Pansies and we have mixed reviews about them. While they will explode in the Spring, spreading up to two feet wide. They look beautiful if planted in a container, trailing over the edge and spilling out a cascade of color. This year, the breeders have introduced even more colors in the Wave variety, as last year there were only two colors to choose from. The problems we’ve seen with the Wave pansies is that if they are not planted correctly at the right time in the Fall, they grow too leggy and fill freeze in the winter. While they will come back in the Fall, it defeats the purpose of planting cold weather hardy pansies in the first place.


If a client asks us which we recommend, we will always lean towards violas. While the general public tend to choose pansies because they have those larger faces, violas have more blooms, perform better, fill in faster, and look better earlier than pansies.  The ‘pansy’ name is way more common in the market than violas, but Whispering Springs Nursery encourages you – the educated consumer – to reach towards violas for your landscape. They are proven to perform better in your landscape every time!

Img via Flickr.