Growing Tips: Pansy

Quick Reference:

A tender perennial that is grown as an annual in cool climates.  Germinates in 10 to 20 days with an optimum soil temperature of 65-70 degrees F. Cover small seeds with no more than 1/16 inch fine soil spaced ½ to 1 inch apart. Seed needs darkness for germination. Cover container with black plastic until seedlings emerge. Space plants 8 to 12 inches apart in the garden. Plant height: 6 to 8 inches.

When and where to plant:

Pansies are slow growing and in Alaska should be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost to assure bloom over a long season. Pre-chilling seed before planting is not essential but germination can be improved by placing seed between moist paper towels and placing towels in a closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Chill for two weeks. Keep towels moist at all times while in refrigerator. Fill a container that has drainage holes with a sterilized potting soil and sprinkle seed on soil surface, if seed is pre-chilled DO NOT allow the seed to dry out before planting. The seed must be thoroughly covered with soil as it requires darkness to germinate, water well for good seed-soil contact, cover container with black plastic to provide darkness, reduce evaporation and keep moist until seedlings emerge. Remove plastic immediately as soon as the seedlings start to emerge. When seedlings show their first green leaves water with a liquid solution of fertilizer and repeat every two weeks. As soon as the seedlings have 3 to 4 true leaves transplant to individual plastic pots and grow in a cool, sunny area, preferably around 50 degrees F, until the garden is ready. Pansies transplant easily. Select an area with full sun or light shade, a rich, moist soil, cultivate, enrich with plant food and organic matter and transplant seedlings outdoors when the soil has been prepared and has warmed, pansies will withstand a light frost.

Care:

Keep soil moist and feed monthly. Pick faded blooms frequently to promote more bloom.