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How to Plant and Grow Pansies

If you are looking for a cheerful presentation of color in your garden, consider growing pansies in your containers, hanging baskets, and flower beds.  Pansy flowers are a symbol of ‘thought,’ so they are a perfect plant to behold in early spring as you dream of your gardens coming to life in the upcoming growing season.

These happy and prolific bloomers produce flowers over an extended season and thrive in cooler temperatures. They are treated as annuals or perennials depending on the climate they are grown in and how they are protected. Their brightly colored petals resemble faces that exude optimism and whimsy.

Follow our guide with tips and tricks on how to plant and grow pansies so you can enjoy these pleasing blossoms in your yard and garden.

Multicolored wild pansy flower growing in the lawn

Ideal Soil Composition & pH for Growing Pansies

Pansies prefer fertile, well-draining soil.  A premium potting mix is ideal for growing pansies in hanging planters or pots.  When growing pansies in the ground, amend your native soil with plenty of organic matter and well-decomposed compost.

Pansy plants grow best when the soil is slightly acidic, with the target being 6.0 to 6.5 on the pH scale. If you are unsure of your soil quality or pH, visit your local extension office with a soil sample.  The experts will break down what kind of soil you have and give suggestions on what organic soil amendments are necessary for peak growing performance.

Can Pansies Grow In Shade?

When growing pansies, plant them in full sun or partial shade. The shade is particularly advantageous in warmer growing zones, where the intense afternoon sun can cause the plant to cease blooming. They do not love the heat, and without protection, they will become leggy.

Where To Plant Pansies

Hardy in Zones 2-9, pansy plants can be set out at least a month before the frost-free date in your area. Pansies crave temperatures that range from 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. While they love the cooler temperatures, pansies should always be hardened off for a week so they can acclimate to outdoor temperatures.

After being set outdoors in a protected location, the plants can be placed in their permanent spots in pots or in-ground without incident. In regions with mild winters, pansies planted in the fall will thrive throughout the winter and resurge with blooms in the early spring.

Growing Pansies From Seed

Pansies are readily available in garden centers and nurseries. Due to their cool temperature tolerance, they are often the first flowering plants that pop up on store shelves as winter comes to a close. This makes them easy and convenient to buy as plants for planting once the soil is workable.

Accessible in a wide array of distinct colors and types, pansies can also be started from seed either indoors or sown directly in the garden. Pansies can be propagated from seeds easily, yet they have a very long maturation period of 90 to 100 days. Starting seeds inside can give you a jump-start on the growing season and provide you with access to a broader array of unique plant types.

  • Start seeds indoors about 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost date in your area.
  • Press pansy seeds into the soil surface and sprinkle lightly with a thin layer of soil.
  • Use warming mats or cover with a clear plastic cover for best germination results. Seeds will germinate after 14 days.
  • Harden seedlings off for one week before transplanting outdoors.
  • Pansies are cold-hardy and can be planted outdoors about four weeks before your last frost date in your area.
Purple pansy in bloom
All Natural Raised Bed & Potting Mix

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All Natural Raised Bed & Potting Mix

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How To Plant Pansies

Plant pansies 8 to 10 inches apart. These perennial bloomers will spread about 10 to 12 inches and reach heights of 6 to 9 inches. Adequate spacing can help keep fungal diseases at bay.

The Best Way to Water Pansies

Pansies require consistent watering.  One of the most common reasons for pansies to wane is a lack of water.  Water plants frequently until they are well-established and keep the soil moist but not soggy throughout the growing season.  This will keep your pansy plants blooming magnificently throughout a long flowering season.

Nutrients Needed to Grow Pansies

The best start you can give pansy plants is to amend your soil with plenty of rich, organic material before planting.  Well-decomposed compost, decomposed forest materials, worm castings, and manure keep pansies well nourished.

Feed your pansy plants with a fertilizer that is particularly formulated for acid-loving plants every two to four weeks throughout the growing season.

How To Prune Pansies

Pansies will flower even more vigorously and longer if spent flower heads are removed. Pinch off wilted blooms about two inches beneath the flower head. During the warmest months of the year, cut the plants back and add a couple of inches of organic mulch to retain moisture. When cooler fall temperatures return in the fall, pansies will recompense with a second display of stunning blooms.

Pansy flowers natural pattern

Common Pansy Pests and Disease

Pansies are relatively resistant to garden pests and diseases, but keep an eye out for some of these garden troubles.

  • Slugs
  • Mildew
  • Rust
  • Mosaic Virus
  • Aphids

Recommended Pansy Varieties to Grow

One of the fun aspects of pansies is that they can be found in a seemingly endless array of varieties.  Note that some of the more exceptional pansy varieties will likely not be readily available at garden centers and are best propagated from seeds.

Check out some of these cool-season stunners:

  • Black Accord’ – produces deep dark blooms that add intrigue with their black petals.
  • Cornuta’ – produces a mix of charming jewel-like colors from red to violet, yellow, orange, and blue.
  • Inspire Mulberry Mix’ – produces large 3.5-inch blooms with variegated petals.
  • Nature Rose Picotee’ – trimmed with white edges, these purple pansies will brighten up any garden space.
  • Frizzle Sizzle Raspberry’ – produces magnificent pink blooms with stunning ruffled edges.

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garden of pansies
purple and yellow pansies growing in garden.

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