Violas brighten winter gardens

Their cheery faces add color through the cool months

Found blanketing the front of beds and borders in cooler months, violas are a favorite annual to use en masse. Some are solid colored, while others have vibrant markings on petals that are known as "faces" and give violas irresistable personality and animation. Johnny-jump-ups, a slightly larger plant with smaller bloom size, reseed but aren't invasive (the purple-and-yellow and blue-and-yellow types are the original wild pansies.)

Colors: Tissue-papery flowers come in purple, blue, yellow, apricot, red, pastels, and white with or without markings.

Size: Plants grow 6 to 8 inches tall and 8 inches wide; blooms are about 1 to 2 inches wide.

Care: Violas like full to part sun and regular water.

Planting: In mild regions, plant in fall for bloom into spring; in cold areas, plant in spring for bloom into summer.

Companions: Plant violas with low-growing grasses like blue fescue and some Carex varieties, fairy primroses, Iceland poppies, ferns, helichrysum, artemisia, heuchera, alyssum. In warm climates, they're a good over-planting for spring-blooming bulbs like daffodils and tulips.

    1 of 1

    Most Popular

    1. 10 raised bed garden ideas

      Get instructions for the ultimate planting box for your veggies. Plus: More ideas for raised bed gardens
    2. 20 favorite perennial flowers
    3. 20 colorful plants for shade gardens
    4. 53 favorite backyard projects
    5. 24 Best Places to Live and Work 2014