The name ‘pansy’ comes from the French ‘pensée’ meaning ‘thought’. The choice of colours and combinations is truly staggering, ranging from the soft and subdued to the bold and brash, so there is a pansy to suit us all. Bushy and compact, they flower freely over a long period, making them perfect for patio pots and containers. Although hardy perennials, they tend to be short lived, exhausting themselves after flowering for months on end and are best replaced when plants begin to decline. For good displays of winter pansies, make sure they’re sheltered from the worst of the wet weather, they dislike waterlogged compost.
How to Sow and Grow Pansies
Pansies prefer a sunny or partially shaded position in well-drained, moderately fertile soil.
Sow indoors to flower the same year, 0.5cm (1/4”) deep, in a tray of compost. Water well and place on a warm kitchen windowsill. A temperature of 15-20°C(60-68°F) is ideal. Keep moist. Seedlings usually appear in 14-28 days. Transplant to other trays 5cm (2”) apart when large enough to handle. Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions, avoiding frosts, before planting out to 15cm (6”) apart.
Or sow outdoors thinly in a seed bed, 0.5cm (1/4”) deep, into finely prepared soil which has already been watered. Thin seedlings to 5cm (2”) apart, when growing strongly plant them out to flowering positions, spacing 15cm (6”) apart.
Tip Remove dead flowers and provide an occasional liquid feed to prolong flowering.