Pansies fill hanging baskets with impressive, long-lasting colour. Available in a range of colours, including both bicolour and tricolour varieties, pansies bloom for months at a time if properly cared for. Pansies are often planted as spring or fall flowers, as they prefer cool temperatures over the heat of summer. Hanging baskets can be easily moved to cooler areas, extending the pansies' life over the summer if desired. Pruning the pansies regularly improves the appearance of the basket while also ensuring the pansies bloom at their full capability.
Pinch off the top 1/2 inch of each growing stem on the pansy plants. Pinching encourages lateral branching and prevents legginess, helping to create a basket that appears full and mounded with flowers.
Remove the spent blossoms as soon as they begin to wither. Cut the blossoms of the stem 1/4 inch beneath the old flower head. Alternately, pinch them off the plant.
Cut back stems that have become overgrown with a pair of shears. Cut back up to one-third of the pansy if it isn't blooming well or has become severely overgrown or unkempt-looking. Cutting back helps stimulate new growth and formation of flower buds.
Trim away dead or damaged leaves as well as unproductive stems every four to six weeks. Cut the leaves off the plant where they join the stem. Remove any stems that are no longer producing flower buds at the base of the plant. Removing old and unproductive parts of the pansy encourages the plant to spend more energy on flower production.
Use a stepladder so you can easily reach the basket, or take it down for pruning. This also makes it easier to closely examine the pansies before pruning.
If you are finding a large number of dead leaves, particularly on the bottom of the plant, it likely isn't receiving enough water. Many hanging baskets must be watered once or twice a day, as they dry out quickly.