Pansies and their cousins violas are among the most popular garden plants, adding color, whimsy, and grace to a bed or border. But they also thrive in containers, allowing you to enjoy a profusion of pansies on the porch or table, where you can better admire their cheerful faces. Though many are technically perennials or biennials, these plants are usually grown as cool-season annuals and are perfect for planting in both spring and fall. Seeds can be sown indoors, but flats of young plants are inexpensive and readily available. Transplant them into beds with rich, well-drained soil and steady sun; or mimic those conditions in containers: Cover drainage holes with pot shards, fill pots with a good soilless potting mix, and place in a sunny spot. Water when dry, and feed occasionally. Deadhead regularly, and don't be afraid to pick plenty of blooms for craft and cooking projects -- the more you pick, the more the plants will produce.
Pansies and Violas
Martha Stewart Living, May 1998