How to Garden with Pansies

How to Garden with Pansies

Use our easy-to-follow comprehensive guide to growing and using pansies.



Pansies (and their miniature sisters, violas) are compact plants; at most, they’ll grow 9-inches tall and spread the same distance. Their flat, five-petal blooms come in three sizes, ranging from 1-4 inches, and are surrounded by bright green oval or heart-shaped leaves with scalloped edges. Pick from 3 captivating color patterns:

  1. Single-Hued: Blooms of a solitary color, like lemon yellow or pure white.
  2. Penciled: Single-hued, with dark lines radiating from the center. We love pale orange petals with brown-black penciling.
  3. Blotched: The most well known, these flowers have a solid-colored center that’s surrounded by a darker face, such as rose-blotched magenta.

Tip: Some nurseries offer even more varieties, from bi-colored periwinkle plum blossoms to brown-faced blooms with watercolor-like edges. For a sweet-scented garden, opt for aromatic pansies usually blue and yellow varieties then concentrate the plants in one area.

Basic Pansy Care
You don’t need a green thumb to grow pansies just follow our five easy guidelines:

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  1. Buy bushy plants with lots of buds, avoiding any with lots of open or withered blossoms.
  2. Put pansies in direct sunlight, where they’ll bloom best. When planting them in the ground, position 6-10 inches apart to allow for root expansion.
  3. Plant pansies in loose soil enriched with organic compost, or mixed with granular or time-release fertilizer. Use the amount recommended on the packaging.
  4. Water pansies once a week or more during droughts, in the morning if possible.
  5. Encourage more blooms by pinching off dead flowers. If the plants start to seed, trim them back. They’ll thrive in cool weather but tend to wilt as temperatures rise. If desired, trim back the plants and continue to water regularly and fertilize monthly. They’ll begin blooming again in the fall, though sometimes they just can’t survive the summer.

3 Ways to Use Pansy Blooms

  1. Enjoy pansy season to its fullest with our inspired ideas for their expressive blooms. Press the flat, rich-hued flowers, then use them for crafts and decor.
  2. Garnish salads, cupcakes, appetizers and other foods with fresh pansy blossoms. The edible petals have a fresh floral flavor with hints of spearmint.
  3. Display flowers in bud vases. Make your own by cleaning empty vanilla extract and perfume bottles, then fill them with single stems or baby bouquets. To create a nature-inspired centerpiece, arrange your blossom-filled bud vases on a cake stand.

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