Pansies are herbaceous perennials that make a bold statement. The flat-front blooms are the main attraction with overlapping petals in striking shades of purple, white, yellow, or red. The flowers typically feature bold markings, giving the blooms a distinctive look. This cold-hardy plant is a perennial in USDA zones 4 through 9, although there are many different cultivars, so check the variety before planting.
Taking care of Pansies, also known as Violas, is relatively easy, but proper maintenance will ensure maximum flowering and vigorous growth. Many varieties do best in part sun or shade, making this plant a favorite for low-light areas in need of some colorful blooms and style. Some Pansies need direct sun for at least a few hours per day, so it is always important to check the needs of the specific cultivar before selecting a location. This flowering plant will grow between 6 to 12 inches tall and wide.
Pansies are fast-growing upright plants with a mounded form. This plant is cold hardy but not very tolerant of high heat, making it better suited to areas that do not have hot summer weather. Another option is to feature this plant in the milder spring or fall, knowing it will fade during the summer heat. This spring and summer bloomer needs well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Pansy plants like moist conditions but do not like to be overly wet. This plant is a heavy feeder and responds well to routine feedings.
Pansies have medium water needs and prefer moist but not soggy soil. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. Depending on the amount of sunlight the plant receives and the humidity and temperature, daily watering may be necessary. This plant cannot handle dry conditions. Plant in a naturally damp area, or consider planting near a water source to simplify the watering schedule.
Routine fertilizer applications keep Pansies looking full and lush and covered in blooms. Monthly feedings using balanced fertilizer support continued growth. Water-soluble fertilizers are a good option because the feeding can be combined with routine watering. Pansies respond well to fertilizer, but this plant can quickly become leggy, so avoid overdoing it.
Deadheading or removing spent flowers will encourage Pansies to continue to bloom. Removing flowers that have already peaked will force the plant to direct energy into new flowers instead of seed development. Pansies are prone to becoming leggy or having elongated sections of stems, especially if fed too much nitrogen. Pinching back growth just before a node will encourage healthy branching and more full and lush growth.
Caring For Pansies in Pots
Pansies make wonderful container plants and can easily take on the role of filler, although the stems are likely to tumble over the edges when allowed to grow and reach, so this plant is also a bit of a spiller. Potted plants need containers with drainage holes and regular watering. This plant likes consistent moisture, but not soggy soil, so while it needs a drink daily, the excess water must be able to drain.
Winter Care for Pansies
As herbaceous perennials, all greenery will die back when the weather turns cold when grown in colder regions. The growth can be allowed to die or trimmed just above the ground level during the fall. Pansies can retain their growth and even continue to bloom when grown in areas with warm winter weather.