Tough Pansy

Dannette Hunnel

A “newbie” to Arizona is typically not accustomed to planting flowers outside in January. However, if you moved here for better weather, you might like the idea of gardening throughout the year. The very pretty and popular pansy is the best flower to plant during the desert’s winter months. Being non-toxic to pets, low maintenance, and lovely to look at, we can enjoy pansies for three of our four seasons, as the pansy is suitable for planting October through February. When covered on cold nights, we can count on the pansy to thrive, even through our frosts, and they often bloom through April.

As a distant cousin to the dainty violets, pansies are also soft and delicate in appearance, but they are really tough as nails! A pansy is classified as a mounding annual here in the Valley. A single plant can be purchased at garden centers for around $3 each and can spread eight inches wide and eight inches tall. When planting, add potting soil and peat moss to help keep the soil well drained. This colorful winter flower will do best in continual sunlight. Watering is suggested through winter every two weeks, as we typically have some rain and dew in December and January. Pansies do well in the ground and in pots.

When traveling around the Valley this winter, you’ll notice an abundance of color, even after New Year’s. This is credited to the petunias, geraniums, oleanders, poppies, and the pansies.

Enjoy all the vibrant pansies and their happy little facial expressions during our wonderful low Valley winters.