Ohio winters are long and cold and make us SO excited for spring. But sometimes spring flowers take what seems like FOREVER to pop up, making us antsy for summer. But spring should be fully celebrated! There are a lot of perennials we can plant in the fall for spring color.
We plant bulbs in the fall to give us that early color, but did you know pansies can also be planted in the fall and can come back in the early spring? We typically treat pansies as annuals, however in Ohio, being a zone 6, pansies can be a short-lived perennial if planted in the early fall and winter conditions are correct!
A great way to get color all spring long is to plant spring blooming bulbs as you normally would, 4-6 inches into the ground, then plant pansies in the same bed, right over the bulbs! The bulbs will emerge and bloom as usual in spring. When their flowers die down, the pansies will just be starting their spring bloom. This planting technique will give additional color in your gardens while the bulb foliage begins to die back. This is a great way satisfy your craving for color in your flower beds until it’s time to plant summer annuals.
Pansies will struggle and wilt if you have temperatures that regularly go over 70 degrees (Cool Wave Pansies will handle slightly warmer temps). But if you provide them with partial shade, fertilize lightly, and deadhead throughout the hot months, you may be able to get more bang for your buck and enjoy them into the summer months.
Being a short-lived perennial, they may not over winter well a 2nd time so be sure to plant a fresh crop in the fall!