Pansy ‘Delta Fire’

Pansy-Fire-00We’ve mentioned in several articles that Pansies are, at heart, color-changers. Each flower aims to be a true individual and one of the best Pansy cultivars to show off this trait is ‘Delta Fire’. We’re not talking about flowers on different plants—even on the same plant, each flower strives to be special and unique: some are deep red with little highlights of yellow, whereas others are bronze-red with heavy splashes of yellow. Other flowers in the same tray might be mostly yellow with barely a hint of red.


Especially important to the landscape trade is the ability of ‘Delta Fire’ to bloom like crazy. Not all pansies bloom with the same frequency or abundance—it all depends on how the cultivar has been tweaked by the breeder. For ‘Delta Fire’ the bloom count was pushed into overdrive, as you can see by the color over our trays.


Plant a mass of ‘Delta Fire’ and stand back—the garden bed will simulate the flickering reds and yellows of a fire. It’s a great way of introducing visual motion into garden designs without the plants actually moving in the wind. Better still, the flowers mix the colors on their own so you can deploy a crew with very simple digging instructions and the design will still look great.


In retail, use Pansy ‘Delta Fire’ to show customers that pansies deliver more than what’s expected of them. Play up the wild colors and swirly patterns that get people, and kids in particular, interested in gardening in the first place. Gateway plants like pansies are important tools, illustrating to the next generation why gardening enriches the soul as much as it does the soil.


In some ways, this is an Art Pansy. We know painters who have chosen ‘Delta Fire’ as their favorite subject. Certainly the nuances of the flower would present a challenge to any artist in any medium. If you take the time to look past the stereotype of the Common Pansy you will find astounding diversity; ‘Delta Fire’ provides a behind-the-scenes glance at how the plant accomplishes its amazing color performances.


In the garden, the flowers on ‘Delta Fire’ are large (about two inches wide) and the plant grows about eight inches high. The spread is about 8–10 inches, so the plant is typical of other large-flowered pansies. It exhibits good cold tolerance and thrives under the sometimes cold/sometimes warm weather we have this time of year.