One of the first flowers that comes to mind when I think of Spring definitely has to be the Pansy! Also known as Viola’s or Johnny Jump Ups! But until a couple of years ago, I never would have thought to grow Pansies as a cut flower.
After learning a few pointers on specifically growing Pansies as a cut flower, I can’t imagine not including them in my Spring bouquets. The blooms and foliage add such a unique texture to the mix and each stem has the ability to produce multiple flower heads, with a new one opening when an old flower fades and falls.
Pansies are available in a large array of sizes, colors and petal types, with the Frizzle variety adding a special ruffled look to the mix and palettes ranging from deep and dark to soft pastels. And despite the fact that they seem to be compact plants, when we think of them in the typical containers and window boxes, if they are grown properly they can produce stem lengths of 12″ to 18″!
How to Grow Pansies for Long Stems
When planting pansies for a patio or porch planter, or window boxes, you would space them out for room to grow out and most likely keep them in a fairly bright location. But, to grow pansies as a cut flower and to get our long stems for the vase we want them to stretch! And that means tight spacing and reaching for the sun.
Pansies can be grown in the field or containers. I find containers to be easier to tuck into a shady spot, but you can always cover them in shade cloth or find a shady space in your garden or field. I personally use crates to grow pansies as a cut flower, and tuck them under a bench in the hoop house.
When it comes to spacing pansies, they should be spaced 3 inches apart. Again, this will cause crowding, which is fine, just make sure they’re getting enough water, but are getting the chance to dry out and not hold moisture among the stems. We’re actually looking for them to be crowded. The tight planting and shade is going to train the pansy stems to reach for the light and stretch long.
Another specific step to reaching long pansy stems is how you pinch. When the first flowers of your pansies open, it will be tempting to use them right away. Especially if you’re like me and you’ve been waiting all winter to finally start cutting flowers again!
These flowers you will want to pinch, and continue to pinch until your main stem starts reaching the length that you’re looking for. But when I say pinch, make sure that you’re only pinching the small stem with the flower head attached. NOT the main stem.
It can be super disappointing to not be able to use these beauties in arrangements yet, but I love to bring them in and add them to bud vases tucked all around the house. Once you start seeing the main stem length reaching 12 to 18 inches more will quickly follow. Make sure to cut with a leaf node below your cut and you will see more stems start to branch out, and the rest of your plants will continue to produce. Last season, I almost had a hard time keeping up with all of them!
What to Pair with Pansies as a Cut Flower
I always seem to have a hard time pairing at the beginning of Spring. I’m not sure if it’s the overwhelm of everything waking up or just the fact that my creativity was put to bed for the Winter and I have to wake it back up. So these lists are just as much for me as they are for you! To help remind me that there can be so much to work with if I just look!
Spring Foliage to Pair with Pansies
- Mint – This herb is some people’s worst enemy in the garden, because it WILL take over! But if you’re looking for a constant foliage throughout the growing season, you need mint. It is by far one of my customers favorite foliage’s all season long and always there if any of my other varieties are running low.
- Oregano – Oregano can be cut at various stages but especially like the budded stage, just before the flowers open.
- Flowering Branches -Spring flowering branches offer a wild and woodsy feel to your arrangements. Some of my favorites are Sweet Mock Orange, Apple Blossom, Cherry Blossom and Redbud.
- Lilac Foliage – Don’t forget the foliage on those massive lilac trees that you might have growing around your property. The flowers look and smell beautiful but the foliage adds a great texture to your bouquets.
- Sweet Pea Vine – add a wispy feel with tendrils of Sweet Pea vine.
- Astilbe Foliage
- Heuchera Foliage
- Dusty Miller
Spring Flowers to Pair with Pansies
- Anemone – Anemone can be grown from bulbs as an annual but there are also perennial varieties that you can add to your garden.
- Phlox – Phlox can be grown as a perennial in the garden. But in my region it grows wild and I love using both in my bouquets.
- Yarrow – Yarrow Summer Pastels is especially one of my favorites to pair with pansies!
- Sweet Peas
- Butterfly Bush
- Iceland Poppies
Last season pansies became a favorite for me and Charlotte. I loved planting in crates with her and all the help she loved to give with them. It was amazing to watch this 2, soon to be 3 year old take on the pansies like her own special crop. She loved helping to plant, water and harvest and it felt like I was adding a little bit of her love to every bouquet!
Do you have a favorite Spring flower in your cut garden? Tell me in the comments below!