Pansies are cheerful, cool weather bloomers. Although primarily associated with spring, they are also excellent for fall color, often flowering intermittently throughout the winter, if the weather is mild.
Choose a sunny or partly shaded location. First, prepare the area to be planted, using 1/2 composted leaves and 1/2 existing soil. Add 5-10-5 fertilizer at the recommended rate and to promote root development, use Root Stimulator at the time of planting. Mulch around your newly planted pansies to conserve moisture and discourage weed growth. Pansies also make excellent container plants and can brighten up a dull corner of your deck or patio throughout spring or fall.
Remove faded blooms regularly to encourage further bud development and thus extend their flowering season. Pansies are extremely cold hardy. The flowers can withstand temperatures to 20° F. and the plants themselves can tolerate temperatures down to 15° F. If weather colder than this is predicted, cover your pansies with newspaper. Remember, pansies don’t like to dry out, so check the soil around them frequently when the weather is dry. When watering, use a slow trickling hose for 5 minutes.
Plant as early as possible. The more established the plants are, the better they’ll be able to withstand cold, desiccating winter conditions. Choose hardy varieties in northern areas such as Zones 4-6. Pansies are also susceptible to saturated soil. They have been known to over winter successfully, only to succumb to excessive moisture as the winter’s snow and ice begin to melt. Be sure they are grown or planted in a well-drained location.