When and How to Plant Pansies: Tips for Flowering Time and Winter Care


When it comes to pansies, gardeners can enjoy their beautiful blooms throughout different seasons, making them a popular choice. Pansies are easier to grow compared to other flowers, and they have a shorter flowering time, showing their vibrant colors in as little as a week after planting. However, there are some differences to consider when selecting pansies for your garden.

Pansies can be grown from either seeds or seedlings. If you want to have a more developed plant, it is recommended to select seedlings. However, if you enjoy the process of growing plants from seeds, you can also try propagating pansies by sowing the smaller seeds in pots earlier in autumn.

When it comes to planting, pansies prefer cooler seasons and cooler soils. They can withstand light frost, but it is best to avoid planting them during the peak of winter. Pansies thrive in well-drained soils and require a sunny or partially shaded spot in the garden. Research the specific variety you are planning to grow to ensure it is suitable for your climate and growing conditions.

Caring for pansies involves everything from watering to pest control. Pansies should be watered regularly, especially during dry periods. It is crucial to ensure they receive enough water, but overwatering can cause root rot. A light and thin spray of water-soluble horticultural aphids can help prevent infestations and keep the plants healthy.

Winter pansies gardening guide: When to plant and how to care for them

Winter pansies are a popular choice for gardeners who want to add color to their outdoor space during the cooler months. These annuals have a long flowering period and can withstand colder temperatures, making them an excellent choice for winter gardening. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about growing and caring for winter pansies.

When to plant winter pansies

Winter pansies should ideally be planted in November, before the ground freezes. This allows them to establish their roots before the cold winter weather sets in. If you missed the November planting window, you can still plant them later, but the flowers may not bloom as fully.

Choosing the right location

Winter pansies thrive in well-drained soil and prefer a sunny or partially shaded spot. They can also be grown in pots or containers if you have limited garden space. Make sure to choose a location that receives at least a few hours of sunlight each day.

Preparing the soil

Before planting your winter pansies, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris. Mix in some compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s fertility and drainage. This will provide your pansies with the nutrients they need for healthy growth.

Planting and caring for winter pansies

When planting your winter pansies, space them about 6-8 inches apart to allow for optimum growth. Water the plants thoroughly after planting to help settle the soil and promote root development. During the winter months, make sure to water your pansies regularly, especially during dry spells. However, be cautious not to overwater them, as this can lead to root rot.

Winter pansies do not require much feeding. However, you can give them a boost by applying a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season.

Pests and diseases

Winter pansies are generally resistant to many pests and diseases. However, aphids can sometimes be a problem. You can control aphids by using insecticides or by introducing natural predators like ladybugs. Ensure that you follow the instructions on any pesticide you use and take the appropriate precautions.

Winter pansies may occasionally develop black/brown markings on their leaves. If this happens, remove any diseased leaves promptly to prevent the spread of disease.

Winter care for pansies

During the winter, pansies can survive freezing temperatures and even light snowfall. However, severe winter conditions can kill them. If you live in an area with very cold winters, it’s best to cover your pansies with a layer of mulch or straw to protect them from the extreme cold.

Propagation and repotting

Winter pansies can be propagated by taking stem cuttings or through seed sowing. You can also repot them into larger containers as they grow to promote healthy root development.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a colorful display of winter pansies in your garden or pots throughout the winter months. They are a beautiful addition to any outdoor space and can brighten up even the gloomiest of winter days.

When should you plant winter pansies

Pansies are beautiful and colorful flowers that can thrive even in cooler winter conditions. If you are planning to grow winter pansies, it is important to know when to plant them to ensure they have enough time to establish roots and start flowering before the colder months.

The best time to plant winter pansies is in the early fall, about 6-8 weeks before the first expected frost date in your area. This will give the plants enough time to grow and establish strong roots before the temperature drops significantly.

Before planting winter pansies, make sure to prepare the soil properly. Pansies prefer well-drained soil with a pH between 5.4 and 5.8. Remove any weeds or grass from the planting area and loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller. Adding compost or well-rotted manure can also improve the soil’s fertility and drainage.

When you plant the pansies, make sure to place them in a location that receives full sun or partial shade. Pansies can tolerate some shade, but they will produce more flowers in full sun. Space the plants about 6-8 inches apart, and plant them at the same depth as they were in the nursery pots, making sure that the roots are well covered with soil.

After planting, water the pansies thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged throughout the growing season. Pansies are relatively low maintenance, but they may benefit from regular deadheading to promote continuous blooming.

  • Plant pansies in rows or in a series for a neater appearance.
  • Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to help conserve moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Inspect the plants regularly for common pests such as aphids, snails, and slugs.
  • If necessary, treat the pests with insecticides or other appropriate pesticides.
  • Divide and replant winter pansies every 2-3 years to maintain their vigor.
  • When winter pansies have finished flowering, cut them back to promote new growth and prevent them from becoming leggy.


In some cases, winter pansies may suffer from diseases such as black/brown root rot or yellowing foliage. To prevent these diseases, it is important to plant pansies in well-drained soil and avoid overwatering. Also, ensure good air circulation around the plants and avoid wetting the foliage when watering.

If you want to obtain winter pansies through seed, it is recommended to start sowing them in late spring. The seeds should be sown in a potting mix and kept in a cool, well-lit area until they sprout. Once the seedlings have grown a few inches tall, they can be planted in the garden.

Winter pansies are excellent companion plants for other cool-season flowers and vegetables. Their colorful blooms can add charm to gardens, containers, and hanging baskets. Whether you grow them from seed or purchase them as bedding plants, winter pansies can provide a splash of color and cheer during the winter months.

How to sow winter pansies

Winter pansies are a great addition to any garden, bringing color and cheer during the colder months. Sowing winter pansies from seed is a cost-effective way to add these beautiful flowers to your garden. Here are some tips on how to successfully sow winter pansies:

1. Choose the right seed:

When selecting winter pansy seeds, look for a variety known for its winter hardiness. Good options include the Viola x wittrockiana subspecies, which is part of the Violaceae family. These seeds are often sold in a series of colors, offering a beautiful display in your garden.

2. Prepare the soil:

Pansies prefer well-drained soil, so make sure your planting area has good drainage. Adding organic matter, such as compost, can improve the soil’s texture and drainage. This helps the roots of the pansy plants establish and grow.

3. Sow the seeds:

Start sowing the seeds indoors in late spring or early summer. Use small pots or plug trays filled with a good-quality potting mix. Moisten the soil before sowing the seeds to ensure good contact. Scatter the seeds evenly on the soil surface and lightly press them down without burying them.

4. Provide the right conditions:

Place the pots or trays in a warm and brightly lit area. The seeds should germinate within a week or two. If the temperature is too cold, consider using a heat mat to encourage germination. Once the seedlings have emerged, move them to a cooler location to prevent them from becoming leggy.

5. Transplanting:

When the seedlings have developed two to four true leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into larger containers or directly into the garden. Choose a spot with partial sun to full sun and well-drained soil. Space the plants 6-8 inches apart to allow for air circulation.

6. Care for your pansies:

Pansies are vigorous bloomers, but deadheading spent flowers regularly will help prolong the blooming season. Water the plants regularly, especially during dry spells, to keep the soil moist. Applying a layer of mulch around the plants helps retain moisture and prevent weed growth.

7. Winter care:

In colder regions, protect your pansies from severe frost by covering them with a layer of straw or pine needles. This will help insulate the plants and prevent frost damage. Pansies are generally hardy but may suffer from diseases like black spot or powdery mildew. Using disease-resistant varieties and practicing good horticultural practices can reduce the chances of these diseases.

By following these tips, you can successfully sow winter pansies and enjoy their beautiful flowers throughout the colder months. Research the different varieties available and choose the ones that suit your garden’s conditions. Winter pansies are a wonderful addition to any garden and will brighten up even the dullest winter days!

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.