Planting pansies from seed (Viola wittrockiana) allows you to cultivate more varieties at a lower cost per plant. Pansies can be started inside in the spring or fall, depending on the season. As long as the temperature doesn’t dip below freezing, these short-lived, evergreen perennials will blossom.
When to Plant
Pansies are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 10, but they don’t do well in USDA zones 8 through 11 during the summer months. The blooming period of mature pansies can be extended by planting them partially shaded during warm weather. In most zones, pansies grow as cool-weather annuals.
Seed Starting Basics
Soilless seed-starting mix should be used in each cell or container. Vermiculite and peat are commonly used to make them. The seed starting mix should be thoroughly moistened after the pots have been filled. Ensure there aren’t any dry spots in the potting mix before adding more potting mix if it settles after watering.
Add 1/8-inch of potting mix or clean sand to each of the pots, then plant a panty seed in each. Keep the pots moist by covering them with plastic or damp burlap. When the seeds begin to sprout, remove this cover. Within ten to fourteen days of planting pansy seeds at 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the seedlings will sprout.
So, until the second set of leaves emerges on your pansy seedling, keep them in the shadow. After that, as long as the soil is kept moist, they may tolerate some exposure to direct sunshine. While seeds are germinating and during the first several weeks of growth, sprinkle the soil with a spray bottle. Keep the soil well-watered but not saturated.
A quarter strength water-soluble fertilizer can be applied to seedlings when they have several sets of genuine leaves. All-purpose plant food with an NPK ratio 24-8-16 can be made by mixing 3/4 teaspoon per 1 gallon of water. Instead of watering your lawn on a weekly basis, use this fertilizer solution. When watering during the week, sprinkle the soil with plain water in the mornings to keep it moist but not overly saturated, as needed.
Plants should be spaced 6 to 12 inches apart when they are transplanted into the garden or into a larger container. Individual cultivar spacing instructions will be included in the seed packet. Plant pansies in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil at the same depth they were previously growing. The seedling should be watered thoroughly. One inch of water a week is all that mature pansies need.
History of Pansy Flowers
As soon as you’re ready for the garden or a larger container, plant the pansies 6 to 12 inches apart from each other. Each cultivar’s spacing suggestions will be included in the seed packet. Plant pansies in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil at the same depth they were previously growing. The seedling should be thoroughly watered. Each week, mature pansies need one inch of water.
V. tricolor has five circular petals arranged in a butterfly-like fashion, but the flowers are tiny, typically less than an inch in diameter. Their color is either deep purple or some combination of purple, yellow, and white. The tricolored varieties inspired the old name ‘herb of trinity,’ another old name.
Annual Flower Gardening Tips
Common Pansy Insects & Diseases
There are few illnesses or insects that might harm pansies in their natural habitat. A bed of pansies, on the other hand, will not be skipped by slugs in areas where they are common. You can either use slug traps or diatomaceous earth to protect your plants. Take a sample leaf to a garden center for proper identification and plant care if mildew or any fungi are seen.
Should I Grow Pansy Seeds Or Plants?
It’s best to start pansies indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the latest frost date so that they have time to mature. Darkness is necessary for the germination of pansy seeds, so press them into the soil and cover them completely. It’s a good idea to cover the pots in black plastic. Planting media should be kept moist and seeds should be moved to a greenhouse or a light garden like Burpee’s after 14 days of sprouting at 70 degrees F. Harden off pansy seedlings in a cold frame or a sheltered area outside during the day about a week before transplanting them into the garden.
During the summer months, pansies go dormant, as they are a cool-season flower. So, they only appear in the garden center’s shelves in the early spring or the late autumn season. Among the beautiful diversity of hues available in their blousy blossoms is a purple and orange bicolor variety as well as pink, lavender, yellow, and even black. To be able to cultivate a wider range of types, planting pansies from seed is a good idea for both pansies and veggies.
To extend the blooming season of pansies, grow them in areas that receive afternoon shade. This is particularly relevant in hot and humid regions like the South. Don’t give up on pansies, even if they die back in the summer. When the weather cools down in the fall, many plants will reseed themselves by just cutting them back to the ground.
Many types of pansies are hardy enough to survive in USDA zones 5 and 6, depending on the cultivar.
Starting Pansies From Seed
Despite the fact that pansies take a long time to germinate and are slow growers, they are very easy to grow from seed. Pansy gardeners, on the other hand, are rewarded with blooms that last for weeks on end.
Pansies need to be started from seed around 10 to 12 weeks before the last spring frost is forecast, so plan accordingly. Pansies can be started from seed in Pennsylvania any time between the middle of January and the middle of February.
Seed pansy seeds in new or sterilized seeding flats filled with high-quality seed-starting potting mix. After the seedlings have germinated, you won’t need any grow lights. To ensure that pansy seeds sprout, cover the seed flats with a black plastic garbage bag after planting them approximately 1/6 inch deep in sowing flats. Using a seedling heat mat will help to elevate the soil temperature a few degrees and increase germination rates.
It takes around two weeks for pansy seeds to germinate, even if a heat mat is used. It takes a lot of perseverance to grow pansies from seed, but at the 10-day mark, start checking the black plastic bag daily for evidence of seedling emergence.
Removing the plastic bag and placing the trays under grow lights is a must after you see a few seedlings raising their heads above ground. Don’t let your pansy seedlings grow waterlogged by running the lights for 18 to 20 hours a day and watering them frequently.
Pansy seedlings should be transferred into cell packs or tiny nursery pots as soon as they have their first genuine leaves. It’s best to just use a regular potting soil for this. You can also begin to feed the seedlings with an organic liquid fertilizer, such as fish hydroslate or kelp emulsion, diluted to half of the suggested strength. You should fertilize at least once a week.
Hardening Off Pansy Transplants
Pansies can be transplanted outside in the early spring. Be patient, however, while you proceed through this procedure. This should not be done hastily like any other part of raising pansies from seed. During the first week or two of their hardening off period, gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of light that pansy transplants are exposed to in a sheltered position. Transplant your seedlings into the garden once they have spent enough time in the sun.
It’s rewarding to grow pansies from seed. These cheery tiny plants look fantastic in flowerbeds, borders, pots, and window boxes everywhere they’re used.