Pansies are hardy flowers and easy to grow from seed. Different varieties may be cool-season annuals, biennials, or hardy perennials; pansies may bloom in early spring or fall, depending on the species and when the seeds were planted. Pansies grow well in cool weather, and are often grown in the winter in southern climates.
Pansies are best planted in the cool seasons of early spring or fall. Summer heat can cause growing plants to become weak and spindly. To maximise bloom time, plant your pansies in a cool place and out of the hot sun to avoid drying out. Pansies can be planted as early as March, if the ground has thawed. Pansies planted in the fall will develop strong root systems during the winter months, resulting in more blooms in spring. Keep your pansies regularly fertilised if you planted in the fall, as they will fight off cold best when well fed. In case of severe weather or frost, cover your pansies with several inches of insulation such as pine straw, fallen leaves, or hay.
Pansies planted in spring should be sowed indoors in later winter eight to 10 weeks before transplanting outdoors. For fall planting, sow your seeds in late summer for planting in early fall. Pansy seeds grow best in moist ground and lightly covered with fine soil. When transplanting flowers, place individual plants six to 12 inches apart to allow for blooming.
Pansies need complete darkness and cool temperatures to germinate properly. Cover the growing container to exclude light. Seed trays can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days, then transferred to a cool area, such as a basement or cellar.
Seeds usually sprout within 14 to 20 days. Germinated plants are ideally kept at 40° at night and 60° during the day. Once seedlings have sprouted several leaves, you should transplant them to individual pots and move into bright light. Fertilise them regularly with a water-soluble fertiliser.
Mature pansies grow well with very little care. Soil should be kept moist at all times; mulch can be added to retain moisture. Clean up plants by pinching off dried and dead blooms to encourage new flowers and greatly extend your plant's bloom time.