Pansies are very popular bedding plants. Known for their ease of growth and care, they come in a wide variety of colors, sizes and styles. Although pansies can grow as perennials, they are most often treated as annual flowers due to the fact that they do not survive very cold winters or very hot summers well. Some pansies thrive in full sun, while others prefer partial shade.
Most pansies feature smaller blooms, but the Majestic Giant class of pansies have large flowers that can reach 4 inches in diameter. There are five colors in this class of pansies--red, white, blue, yellow and purple--all of which need exposure to full sun in order to bloom. The Majestic Giant pansies spread rapidly, and they make great bedding plants.
The Accord hybrid is fairly new (1992) and features a large amount of blooms on short, strong stems. They come in eight colors: burgundy, deep purple, pale blue, yellow, salmon, white, black and violet. Some have "faces" (a dark blotch in the center of the flower), and others are one solid color. Accord pansies need at least six hours of sunlight per day in order to thrive.
The flowers in the Imperial series bloom in early spring. This type of pansy is very popular for its ability to grow in almost any condition, as long as it is exposed to enough sunlight. Imperial pansies quickly spread and fill a growing area in a relatively short amount of time. Plant a few plants in the spring, and by mid-summer they will be lush and blooming continuously.
Maxim pansies do well in climates that have cold winters or very hot summers. These hardy plants feature light blue flowers with darker blue centers. Unlike many other types of pansies, the Maxim plants do not spread, so they make great container plants, as long as the container is placed in a sunny location.
These pansies are most often grown to be used as cut flowers. The flowers are big and colorful, and they grow on long stems up to 1 feet tall. Cutting the flowers encourages more bloom growth. Swiss Giants are very heat-tolerant and are good for climates that get plenty of hot sun during the growing season.