For the best results in terms of color, cold hardiness and overall growth, buy pansies like landscapers do, picking up larger cell packs or 3- or 4-inch pots. These plants have bigger root balls, which means plants will take off more quickly in beds and containers. Check roots to make sure they’re healthy like this—having many white, fibrous roots on the outside of the root ball. The best time to plant pansies is when leaves on trees first start to change color. Soil temps should be between 45 and 65 F.
Grown world-wide as a food or forage crop, millet bears a slight resemblance to corn in terms of leaves. Seedheads are more like bottle brushes or cattails covered in small, round seeds, which birds find irresistible. Ornamental millet (Pennisetum glaucum) keeps these characteristics, but offers striking leaf color. ‘Purple Majesty’ grows 4 to 5 feet tall and up to 3 feet wide with deep, dark purple leaves. ‘Baron’ grows up to 3 feet tall and wide with thinner leaves that are slightly darker than ‘Purple Majesty.’ ‘Jester’ also grows to 3 feet tall and wide with leaves in a mix of hues: burgundy, green and chartreuse. Use ornamental millet in planting beds or containers. This is a warm-season grass that’s grown as an annual in all zones.