How to Make My Pansies Thrive

Updated February 21, 2017

Pansies are sturdy plants that aren't difficult to grow, and with minimal care will reward you with their bright happy-face blooms from late winter until hot summer weather arrives. Pansies are cool weather plants that will bloom in spring and autumn when the nighttime temperatures are only a few degrees above the freezing point. Plant pansies along the borders of a flower bed, in bright masses of colour, or in window boxes or containers.

Plant the pansies in autumn, four to six weeks before the first expected frost in your area. Purchase pansy bedding plants at a garden centre or nursery. Select bushy plants with bright green foliage. The plants should be budding but not yet in bloom.

Plant pansies in a spot where the plants will be exposed to sun during the morning, but protected during the afternoon. Pansies grow best if they have at least six hours of sunlight per day, but won't bloom in hot temperatures. Work 2 to 3 inches of compost or manure into the soil before planting.

Feed pansies about a week after planting. Repeat in late fall or early winter, and again in early spring. Feed the plants every three to four weeks during spring and summer. Use a fertiliser with a ratio such as 10-10-10. Apply the granular fertiliser at a rate of about a teaspoon for every square foot of growing space. Alternatively, use a liquid fertiliser according to the directions on the package label.

Give pansies about an inch of water every week when there is no rain. Water at the base of the plant and avoid splashing the foliage. Water pansies in the morning or early afternoon so that excess water will evaporate before evening. Watering pansies too late in the day will encourage disease.

Remove, or deadhead, wilted pansy blooms, otherwise the plant will expend energy on producing seeds instead of producing new blooms. Use your fingernails to pinch off the wilted bloom at the base of the stem. Remove any dead or yellow foliage to keep the plant looking tidy and to prevent the spread of disease.

Move pansies to a new area every three years. Alternatively, pull up the pansies and discard them, then plant new pansies in a different spot. Allowing pansies to remain in the same spot for more than three years will make the plants more susceptible to pests and disease.

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About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.