In Kentucky gardens pansies are grown as cool season annuals. Many pansies are planted in landscapes and flower beds in the fall, they overwinter and are the first signs of color you will see in the landscape in the spring. Once the days start to warm up and we move into summer, the plants will start to deteriorate and will be removed from the landscape.If you didn’t plant your pansies last fall, you will notice that there will be some around for sale in the early springtime. However, those plants that were planted in the fall and overwintered will produce many more blooms than those that are planted in early spring.
Pansies are very hardy plant and can withstand the cold winter temperatures. You may notice when temperatures get below 15°F that the flowers will start to show some damage and at temperatures below 10°F the leaves will start showing damage but he good news is that the root system will survive so that you will still have pretty flowers come the spring thaw. If there is no snow cover to protect the plants and roots and temperatures fall below 0°F there is a danger that plants can be lost.
There is a vast selection of colors to choose from when selecting pansies for your landscape. In general the smaller the flower, the more blooms you will see on the plant, the larger the flower the less blooms per plant. You will find that these flowers can really add a punch of color to your landscape that you don’t normally see in the spring flowering bulbs as well as showing color a few week before the earliest bulb flowers.
Pansies prefer a full sun location with good drainage but if you plant them in a partial to full shade area you may notice they do not grow and perform as well in the spring but will survive longer into the summer months. You may also notice that if you leave the pansy plants in your flower beds into the summer before removing, there will be “volunteer” plants show up in those planting sites the following growing season. For this reason many people have mistaken pansies as perennials.
To get the most vivid display out of your pansy planting it is best to plant in groups instead of in lines or in single plantings. Their blooms can be very fragrant and the more you plant the more of a subtle aroma visitors will notice, especially in the spring when everyone is tired of the gray of winter.
Submitted by Lori Bowling, Agent for Horticulture, Boyd Co. Cooperative Extension