Plant pansies in October and November. If you live in a warmer climate (zones 9-11) like I do, mulch lightly and you can enjoy their cheerful color most of the winter. In zones 4-8, mulch them deeply when the ground freezes, and they’ll bloom as soon as the temperatures warm up in the spring.
Pansies are winter hardy in zones 4-8. They can survive light freezes and short periods of snow cover, but if you get a lot of snow, cover them deeply with dry winter mulch.
Pansies grow well in sunny or partially sunny positions in well-draining soils. They prefer cooler temperatures and will stop blooming when the days get hot and long. Hot muggy air causes rot and death. They do best with moderate temperatures and equal amounts of mild rainfall and sunshine.
Water pansies thoroughly about once a week, depending on the temperature and rain. Don’t overwater them or they’ll rot. Feed them about every other week to encourage blooming, depending on the type of plant food used. Mulching with wood chips will help keep their roots cool, reduce the need for watering, and prolong blooming.
Like all flowering plants, the goal of the pansy is to produce seeds. Once they go to seed, they’ll get leggy and stop blooming. Picking off the flowers as soon as they start to fade will extend the blooming period and help keep the plant compact.
In warmer zones, pansies can survive the winter. But they are usually replanted from six-plants every year because they get so leggy and scraggly. They can also re-seed themselves and return the next year.
I just love pansies. You can’t eat them or use them for medicinal herbs, but they make me happy just to look at them. And they’re especially appreciated because they’re one of the first plants to bloom in the spring. Tomorrow, I’m going to the nursery to buy a few pots for fall planting.