Top Plants for Pots

Pansies - the thinking person's flower

We love violas and pansies at Betley Court. They are good 'do-ers' as we like to say, and have a long season of flowering that will see us through from autumn to spring, even to summer, depending when we plant them.

What's in a name?

Their common name 'pansy' has an interesting derivation. It comes from the French verb 'penser', meaning 'to think' because it was thought that the nodding flowerheads were reminiscent of thoughtful people deep in conversation, contemplating meaningful thoughts.

Modern pansy varieties were developed from wild violas, early in the 19th century. They have been bred to create better blooms in more colours, habits and size. The chief difference between pansies and violas is that pansies tend to display a few flowers at a time and bear larger leaves, whereas violas are much more floriferous (produce lots of flowers) and can either be multi or single-coloured.

Pansies are edible!

The flowers are indeed edible, and have a slightly spicy lettuce taste. They're great in a salad as the flavour fits in very well with other salad leaves, adding a sophisticated splash of colour. They can also be pressed into icing and frosting on cakes, or used as a garnish on fruit.

Easy to grow too..

Pansies are very forgiving of a bit of neglect, but do water well in dry spells. We love using them in containers. They are fantastic for filling in gaps with a bit of colour. As for pests and diseases, they are quite tough, but will succumb to aphids if they're feeling stressed, so keep that watering can handy when its hot.