Pansy Basics

While many gardeners dislike the idea of splurging on flowers that may not last more than a month in the ground. Pansies, when planted in fall, can last up to eight months, ranging from September to April or May, providing color in both the Fall and Spring.

It’s true pansies may not be attractive in the middle of cold winters and you may wonder why you kept them around. Know this, they’re just biding their time until spring, when they hit their peak. The bonus for keeping them around is that the spring bloom is usually much more robust when the plants have been in the ground since fall.

Winter Flowerbed

Overwintering Pansies

  • Plant as early as possible. The more established the plants are, the better they’ll be able to withstand cold. The farther south you are, the wider your planting window, but don’t plant later than the second week in October for the best blooms.
  • Choose healthy plants. Healthy plants establish more quickly, rapidly growing the root system that’s so critical to winter hardiness.
  • Ensure good drainage. Pansies are susceptible to saturated soil. They have been known to overwinter successfully, only to excessive moisture as the winter’s snow and ice begin to melt. Be sure they’re growing in a well-drained location.  An excellent choice to help aide proper drainage is adding Perma-till to your soil. Find it locally at

Selecting Pansies

Pansies don’t have a long shelf life in packs. They stretch out quickly, and once they do, they’ll never do as well when planted.

Healthy pansies are compact, show minimal leaf yellowing, and probably show few blooms while in the packs because they’re younger plants. Though they lack of color at the time of purchase, these are the plants you want. When you find packs you like, pop a few plants out and look at the roots. They should be white, not brown.

How to Grow Pansies

Pansies are not difficult to grow. Good soil, steady moisture, and at least partial sun will provide the results you’re looking for. What they don’t tolerate is heat and humidity, which is why they thrive in spring and fall.

Plant pansies 6 to 8 inches apart. They can be used as borders, or in larger masses. Pansies require regular deadheading. As often as possible, every couple of days if you can, pinch off faded blooms and any fruit (small green seed capsules) that may be forming. This will encourage plants to continue blooming.

Heat causes pansies to lose most of their bloom. So when summer warmth begins, go ahead and remove pansies to make way for your summer annuals.