Pansy Fast Facts


Pansies are a large group of hybridized flowers that were developed by cross-breeding many different species of the Viola flower. The pansy is immensely popular amongst gardeners, owing to its dazzling array of colors, cold-hardiness, and ability to grow and flower quickly.

Tri-color pansies are a dazzling addition to home gardens. image by "Purple Passion" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: aussiegall (Louise Docker) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.


The pansy is available in black, gold, orange, purple, red, white and yellow. Bi-color and tri-color varieties are also common.


Growing between six and 12 inches tall, the pansy has medium-green stems and leaves. It produces flowers with broad, rounded petals that overlap considerably.


Pansies are typically biennials, meaning that they possess a two-year lifespan. Foliage is grown the first year, and flowers are produced during the second.


Despite being derived from native flowers of Europe and western Asia, the pansy is a "man-made" hybrid that does not occur naturally.


Pansy extracts can be used to treat minor skin conditions effectively and, because they are entirely edible, are also used in salads and as culinary garnishments.

A ladybug pollinates this white bi-color pansy. image by "Stop And Smell The Flowers" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: I Shutter (Jane) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Fun Fact

The name of the pansy comes from a French word meaning "thought", as the flowers tend to look like faces that nod in contemplation in the summer months.


  • Washington State University
  • The Flower Expert
  • New World Encyclopedia

Who Can Help

  • Colorful Pansies: Plant Them Now!
Keywords: pansy, biennial, flower

About this Author

Justin Coleman is a freelance writer based in Connecticut. Since 2007, he has covered a variety of topics, including biology and computers, amongst others. Coleman is currently a freelance nature and technology writer and wildlife photographer. When not working, Coleman tirelessly explores new areas of nature, history, philosophy, comparative religion, technology and sociology.