Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) and roses (Rosa spp.) are two types of flowers that have both enjoyed a long period of popularity in the gardening world. Both have been bred and cultivated extensively, resulting in varieties that showcase almost every color under the sun. Many gardeners consider these colorful and classic flowers to be staples of the home garden.
Garden pansies that exist today are a result of breeding and hybridization, but the original species were native largely to Europe and to Asia Minor. Pansies do best in USDA zones 7 to 10, but they can be grown as spring annuals in just about any temperature zone so long as they have the right conditions. Like the pansy, many rose species are a result of hybridization, though many are also species that can be found in the wild. Rose species are native to Africa, North America and Europe, although most wild roses hail from Asia (particularly China). Antique roses, also called "old garden" roses, are those that have been in cultivation since the early 1800s.
Pansies prefer bright sunlight or partial shade. Though they can be grown in full shade, flowering will often be limited or even nonexistent. The dappled sun from a garden structure or larger plant is often ideal for pansies.
The amount of sun a rose needs depends on the species, but most prefer full, all-day sunlight.
Pansies and roses both like moist, well-draining soil. Pansies are less picky about soil than roses, and will tolerate a range of pH conditions. Roses prefer a moderately fertile soil that is rich in humus. Both plants can be fertilized during the summer to promote vigorous flowering. Water both pansies and roses whenever the soil feels dry to the touch.
The low-growing pansy rarely exceeds 10 inches, which makes it a good choice for a window box or for a low annual flower bed or border. Roses vary in size, and while miniature varieties can be grown indoors in a small clay pot, larger varieties can grow to 50 feet wide. Roses make lovely specimen shrubs or borders, and their flowers can be cut for impressive, fragrant bouquets.
Pansies are largely pest-free, and because they are most frequently grown as annuals, most problems won't last long. Good pansy health can be promoted by removing dead or spent flowers to keep the plant looking tidy and neat. Roses are subject to more problems, and can be attacked by aphids, mildew, thrips and Japanese beetles. Growing varieties known for their hardiness and resistance to disease can save the casual rose gardener a headache. Always keep water off the leaves of rose plants because excess water can cause fungal or mildew-related problems. Check rose leaves and new buds regularly for aphids and spider mites.