Pansies (Viola X Wittrockiana) come in variety of sizes, colors, and types. There are solid colors without faces, or bi-colors with contrasting faces, to blended colors that provide a mix of colors in each bloom. Pansies thrive in cool weather and will bloom from early fall until hot weather causes them to decline. They will grow in full sun to partial shade. Pansies are heavy feeders, so to encourage continuous blooms throughout the fall and winter, add a granulated fertilizer such as Color X-Press with 14-14-14 blend to the soil in at time of planting. To give your flowers an extra boost, you can also add Bone Meal to fortify the plants through the winter and apply a water-soluble fertilizer every four to six weeks.
Viola are pansy relatives with dainty flowers borne in profusion. The flowers look like miniature pansies and come in an array of colors. Violas reseed heavily during their bloom season and they are great choice for containers.
Ornamental cabbages and kales are very showy and come in a variety of colors from white to pinks, purples, and reds. They look very similar to their edible cousins, but the ruffled foliage is much fancier and more colorful. “Red Bor” is a dark deep purple kale that adds drama to container plantings. Cabbage and kales do not tolerate summer heat, but they are extremely cold tolerant. The brilliant colorations of these plants will intensify as temperatures drop.
Bright Lights Swiss Chard can reach between 12-18 inches tall and has ribs that are ruby red, orange, and yellow. Swiss Chard is a showstopper in ornamental container plantings, while also being edible and highly nutritious. Plant as a central interest in your flowering containers.