PansiesPlanting and caring for pansies, an heirloom garden favorite.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 60-85 days from seed to flower
Height: 4 to 10 inches
Spacing: 6 to 12 inches apart in all directions

One of the most widely grown of all garden flowers, pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) — also known as violas — will bloom in a variety of colors all summer long and thrives in cool spring-time conditions. Striking plants with beautiful, round-faced blossoms are perfect for growing in containers, rock gardens, borders or edging. Plants are short lived in hot environments. Self-seeding perennial (grown as an annual in the North), 4-10 inches tall.

Site Preparation:

Pansies thrive in cool, well-drained soil. They prefer partial shade, but will tolerate full sun where summers are cool. Add plenty of organic compost or well-aged animal manure to the soil prior to planting to help retain moisture and prevent plants from wilting during the heat of the day (watch Flower Gardening from the Ground Up – video).

Tired of the same old flowers? Heirloom flower seeds — the ones that Grandma used to grow — add charm to your garden while stirring memories with their abundant blossoms and arousing scents. Best of all, we ship them FREE!

How to Plant:

Pansies may be grown from seed or seedling (see Starting Annual Flowers Indoors). Mature plants are also widely available in cell-packs from local garden centers, greenhouses and nurseries.

If growing pansies from seed, sow indoors 1/4 inch deep, 10-12 weeks before planting out. Seeds will germinate in 10-14 days. Transplant outdoors when spring temperatures are still cool and a light frost is possible. Set transplants at six inch intervals and provide deep, weekly waterings to promote strong growth and good flowering.

Remove spent flowers on a regular basis to extend the blooming period and apply a good organic flower fertilizer several times during the gardening season.

Tip: Plant these low-growers under tall growing, late-blooming plants to get a jump on summer color.

Insects and Disease:

Aphids, spider mites and slugs are a few of the common garden pests found on pansies. Watch closely and apply diatomaceous earth or other least-toxic, natural pest control, when necessary.

Common plant diseases include anthracnose, black root rot and some fungal leaf spots. Treat early with an organic fungicide (sulfur, copper) and avoid overhead watering, to prevent problems.

Seed Saving Instructions:

Violas or pansies are well known for being self-seeders. Seeds can be collected by cutting the entire plant in late summer after blooming has ceased. Dry plants on a sheet and collect the tiny black seeds. Learn more about Saving Heirloom Flower Seeds here.

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