Pansy Flowers – How to Grow Pansies And Get Them to Bloom
Gardeners are familiar with pansies as robust, quickly-growing flowers with overlapping, nearly heart-shaped petals in vibrant hues or bi-colors, frequently with face-like center markings. Pansies that can withstand the cold have been improved through breeding, but more heat-tolerant variants have yet to be very successful. Although they are typically planted as annuals, pansies are technically short-season perennials.
It is possible to cultivate them as biennials in regions with moderate winters. They are an excellent option for containers used in the early and late seasons. They flower in the garden alongside spring-blooming bulbs, starting to lose their leaf. Most pansies don’t grow very tall, and if they do, they will flop or somewhat cascade.
Pick pansies that are stocky, bushy, and have a lot of buds when purchasing nursery plants. Avoid plants with open blooms since they will be stressed out from working so hard in a small pot and eventually become exhausted.
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If you keep your pansy plants in your garden throughout the hottest months and allow them to rest, they will likely start blooming again in the fall. When the plants begin to set seeds, shearing them back will promote fresh growth. More blooms will result from deadheading, which involves clipping dead flowers off a healthy plant. Pansies may appear a little worn out in warmer climates during the height of winter, but they thrive as temperatures rise, blooming magnificently in the late winter and early spring.
Pansies will bloom best in full sun to partial shade, but if grown in partial shade, they will stay fresh-looking and bloom longer.
Although pansies are not picky plants, they will thrive in rich, loose soil with a somewhat acidic pH (6.0 to 6.2). They are strong feeders, so add mushroom compost to your soil to get them off to a good start.
Don’t expect your pansies to last the growing season, but regular watering will help them hold on a little longer. The ideal soil for pansies is damp but not wet. Use containers with drainage holes if possible or ensure the soil drains adequately if growing in the ground.
● Temperature and Humidity
Pansies hate the heat and will start to deteriorate as the days become warmer.
Pansies benefit from some fertilizer, just like any perennial that blooms for a long time. Foliar feeding once a month works nicely for them. Use a balanced fertilizer as directed on the label.
Choose plants from the same series if you appreciate the variety of hues but want a sense of cohesiveness. Whatever the shade, they will be similar in size and patterns.
- THE BLOTCH PANSY
Among pansy variations, the blotch pansy is likely the most common. The flowers’ faces are covered in a dark purple “blotch,” and their petals range from yellow to blue to red. They have short stems that grow quite close to the ground and produce vivid spots of color that peek out among other blooms or just above ground cover.
- THE CLEAR PANSY
Since they are faceless and have only one solid hue, these pansies are known as “clear.” A Scottish grower developed them in the late 1800s, and after being exported abroad, they quickly rose to prominence in North America. The clear pansy is still prized for its beauty, transforming your flowerbed into something resembling a watercolor cutout.
- THE MAMMOTH PANSY
The enormous pansy was created to stand out and be the focal point of your garden, not merely to provide a hint of color. These pansies have sturdy stems that extend six to eight inches above the ground on average, and their roots spread out to easily fill a container or cover a garden space.
- THE WHISKERS PANSY
The whiskers pansy is properly named and has a captivating appearance. The delicate, tiny lines that fan out from the center of its vibrantly colored petals resemble animal whiskers. The whiskers pansy was only discovered in open fields until recently when agriculturalists learned how to make the pattern through hybridization. The mean size of this particular pansy varies according to its color: Light-blue, orange, and red-gold flowers grow slightly less, at two to a half inch on average, compared to the purple-white, white, and yellow flowers.
- THE VIOLA TRICOLOR PANSY
Because they are all linked to the viola flower, pansies have a long history of cultivation dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks, when they were first employed as medicines. The viola tricolor pansy is one of the earliest forms of pansy. It shares many traits with the viola but differs noticeably in two ways: it started from a single stem and spread out above ground, unlike the viola, which branched below ground, and its flower is more prominent and rounder than the viola.
How to Grow Pansies From Seeds
Pansies will release easily rooted seeds if the plants are not deadheaded. In colder climates, you might see that the old plants were replaced by a dense cluster of volunteer seedlings the following spring.
However, as the majority of pansies are F1 hybrids, their seeds won’t develop into plants that look like their parents. You’ll most likely receive blooms that have genetically reverted to one of the hybrid’s parents. This is okay because you can like the unexpected outcome. Purchasing commercial F1 hybrid seeds, produced by manually cross-pollinating one species with the pollen of another species, is the ideal way to start growing hybrid pansies from seed.
Pansy seeds benefit from two weeks of stratification to increase germination. When the seeds start to sprout, scatter them over a tray of the seed-starting mixture, wet them, and cover them with black plastic (about two weeks). To germinate, pansies need darkness.
After that, remove the cover, relocate the tray somewhere bright, and keep the soil moist. Transplant the seedlings into small pots when they are a few inches tall and have at least two sets of true leaves. Keep them growing in a light area until it is time to move them outside. Before planting outside, harden off seedlings for two weeks by exposing them to outside environments.
Potting and Repotting Pansies
Pansies are a favorite for containers and window boxes because of their erect posture and attractive hues. Use a reasonably loose, well-draining potting mix and a container with good drainage because they don’t like damp roots. It makes sense to apply a slow-release fertilizer to the potting soil. Deadhead frequently, prune down leggy growth and feed the plants every few weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer.
Even though some pansy types, like the ice pansy, are intended to tolerate mild snowfalls, anticipate the pansies to wither away in the winter. If you didn’t deadhead your garden’s pansies, you might be shocked when volunteer seeds start to grow in the springtime.
During wet seasons, slugs can irritate, especially if your plants are partially shaded. Thin the plants or use a slug bait to make the area less wet. Aphids can occasionally attack pansies. Use insecticidal soap to get rid of them. Since pansies are fairly little and sensitive, use caution if you choose to eliminate aphids with a forceful blast of water.
How to Get Pansies to Bloom
Pansies have such strong root systems that they nearly always bloom successfully, even in poor soil. However, you can promote larger blooms and more significant growth by applying a balanced liquid fertilizer once each month and switching to a bonemeal fertilizer just before the blooming season. To make room for new bloomers, remove any leggy plants. To make place for additional vibrant blooms in the late season, deadhead blossoms as they fade back once again.
Are Pansies Annuals or Perennials?
Pansies and all violas are commonly considered annual flowers, although they are truly hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8. In the sweltering summer, they frequently get overly lanky. The development of heat-tolerant pansies that can sufficiently withstand hot conditions has yet to be very successful.
However, pansies are surprisingly robust in cold climates. They can withstand frost and recover from even single-digit temperatures. This makes them a great flowering plant for fall and early winter color if the blooms wither in the cold because the plants frequently survive to bloom again.
Pansies can be the perfect flowers to cram between walls and pathways, and thanks to their vivid colors and varied patterns, they go well with many other flowers you want to highlight in your garden. They can be planted most of the year due to their resilience.
What are alternatives to pansies?
Some plants resemble pansies quite a bit. Although smaller, violas are far more common. These hardy plants, called panolas, are a hybrid of violas and pansies.
Can pansies grow indoors?
You can have success growing pansies indoors since they make excellent container plants. Ensure they receive enough sunlight and have a pot with good drainage.
How long can pansies live?
Even though the pansy only blooms for one season, it readily releases volunteer seeds that can repeatedly sprout in subsequent seasons.