Who You Calling a Pansy?

Let’s talk pansies. I will keep it simple. The first question we get asked time and time again is "When do I plant?" For us, the ideal planting time for pansies is between October 1 and Thanksgiving. October is the start of the season. So stay out of those box stores in September when they are trying to lure you in. Pansies are not ready for planting that early.

So what do pansies like? Warm(ish) days and cool nights. Pansies thrive in full sun. They grow their best and stay the freshest when the night temperatures are in the mid forties to upper fifties. Nights in the seventies only cause the plants to stretch (grow too tall and fall over). When the temperatures are in the thirties and below, pansies just stand still. So no harm done.

Where do I plant pansies? In short, everywhere. Well at least everywhere there is enough sun. And that means? Pansies need at least 4 hours of direct sun to thrive. Less than four hours can be okay and your plants will still bloom. Four hours is our preferred average.

How often do I water? This is the second most asked question. To start out, pansies like a regular watering schedule as they begin to get established in their new home. Once you see that your plants are actively growing you can reduce the water. So how much water? Well another factor to consider is the daytime temperatures. During warm spells in the fall, increase the water. Simply stated, in the beginning you may want to water them daily for the first week. This should be quickly reduced to 2 to 3 times per week as the pansies root into your soil. Pansies are good at wilting (laying down) to let you know that they are thirsty. These plants are strong so don’t panic. They can withstand some wilting without causing any problems. Once we get into mid fall and winter, your pansies may not need any extra water at all. The morning dew can be sufficient enough.

Types of pansies. There are many "brands" of pansies. Trust me, we have grown all the types and we only grow the varieties that perform the best. The first thing to consider when deciding what to plant is bloom or flower size. The smaller the flower, the more flowers a single plant will produce. Larger blooming varieties will yield less flowers per plant. Let’s start small: Violas. This type is wonderful. They bloom their little heads off. Flowers are about the size of a quarter. You will get many blooms per plant and they will give you a good show of color. Next up, the traditional pansy. We prefer the Delta or Matrix series. These are large flowers that vary in size from 2 to 3 inches in diameter. They are equally as hard working and will surely impress. Finally we have the extra large or giant types. Majestic Giant and Colossus. These blooms are huge. I have seen some stretch out to almost 5 inches. Three to four inches is a good average.

Colors of Pansies. I frequently get asked what is my favorite pansy and color. This is like being asked to pick your favorite child. And that all depends on the day, right? Colors range from white to light yellow to orange to red to rose to purple to blue. And many colors in between. Another consideration is choosing between clear or solid colored blooms or blotched. Simply stated, the clear or solid types grow flowers that are all one color. The blotched variety look like "faces" or ink blotch tests. Which is better? Well, that is for you to decide. See you in our pansy field!


It’s autumn. How do I know. Well the calendar says so of course. This is my most favorite season. Finally our summer heat is waning and the nights are cooling. I can still hear my grandfather as he used to reminisce..."Soon you will begin to smell the scent of leaves burning. When you step out for dinner, you will have to bring that sweater just to keep the chill off." Never does the start of autumn go by that I don’t think of him and agree with his memories of his youth. I now find myself sharing these memories with my own children. As an avid plant and nature lover, fall marks the start of returning to the garden. It is so refreshing to spend time outdoors without the draining of summer heat. So I encourage you to take a break from the indoors and step outside and enjoy the weather for yourself.