Pansy Square Foot Gardening

AT A GLANCE

Botanical Information

Seed to Harvest/Flower: 20 weeks

Family: Viola

Seeds Storage:

Height: 6 to 9 inches

Weeks to Maturity: 14 weeks

A/B/P, Hardiness: short-lived

Indoor Seed Starting: 14 to 16 weeks

perennial in Zones 7 to 10,

before last frost

annual elsewhere

Earliest Outdoor Planting: early

Spacing: 4 per square

spring or early fall

Additional Plantings: not needed

Growing Season

Last Planting: not needed

Spring: yes

Summer: if cool

Fall: yes

Winter: no

The best word to describe pansy flowers is "adorable/5 The little "faces" look up at you like they offer hope for a lovely spring after a cold winter and as a last hoorah of color in the fall. Even the flowers without the actual black blotches look like happy faces. Pansies come in so many colors and color combinations that its difficult to keep up with the changes and even more difficult to choose which ones to plant. They are easy to grow, as long as you remember that they like cool, moist conditions. When the weather gets hot and dry, plan to either discard or move your pansies. Tiny pansy-like flowers that crop up all over are Johnny-jump-ups, a self-sowing diminutive cousin to the larger pansy. Hybrids come in various colors, but usually revert back to the common purple and yellow color scheme over time. They are not weeds, and rarely dominate other plants, so enjoy their happy faces.

Starting

Location: In hotter areas, look for heat-resistant types and plant in moderate shade. Pansies can be planted in full sun where summers are cool. Seeds Indoors: Growing pansies from seed indoors can be a challenge. Sow indoors 14 to 16 weeks before the last frost date. Barely cover the seed, then refrigerate for 2 weeks. Once exposed to room temperatures, seeds should sprout in 10 days.

Basil and Beyond

Transplanting: Set pansies out in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked, and again in early fall to bring the gardening season to a colorful close. In warmer climates, set them out in fall for early spring bloom.

Growing

Watering: Weekly, 2 cups per plant. Water more often if the plants wilt and in the heat of the summer.

Maintenance: Keep pansies cool and moist. Deadhead pansies for continuous bloom, and cut back leggy plants to stimulate new growth.

Harvesting

How: Pansies make a cute cut flower; keep in mind that the stems are quite short.

When: Cut pansy flowers just after they unfurl.

Problems

Slugs, snails, insufficient moisture.

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