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What Are the Best Tips for Growing Pansies in Fall?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell

The best tips for growing pansies in fall concentrate primarily on plant selection and location. Most types of pansies will bloom in the autumn as well as in the spring, but certain varietals — typically labeled as “icicle” or “overwinter” plants — tend to do the best. Soil saturation and sunlight are also of particular concern for pansies planted and grown in the fall. Autumn months in many places are characterized by consecutive wet, rainy days, which can affect newly-planted flowers. Finally, gardeners must take care to plant fall-bloom pansies in locations where they will receive sunlight year-round, not just in seasons where the trees have lost their leaves.

In most climates, growing pansies in fall requires little more than setting the plants out near the close of summer. Pansies are generally quite hardy and are usually capable of blooming twice each year, once in the fall and again in the spring. Much of this depends on climate and soil specifics, but gardeners can better their chances of a dual bloom — and with that a successful fall growing season — by following a few basic tips. Tips related to plant choice, location selection, and soil conditions can help make blooms last longer, roots grow stronger, and plants remain heartier throughout even the toughest winters.

Growing pansies works best with established plants, rather than seeds.
Growing pansies works best with established plants, rather than seeds.

Pansy seeds should never be sown in the fall for fall growth. Seeds that take root before the winter are not usually strong enough to withstand frosts, and their root systems are rarely developed enough to last through to spring.  Growing pansies in fall works much better with already-established plants.

Gardeners wishing to start pansies from seed should plan to start fall growth plants in the mid-summer, preferably indoors where temperature can be regulated. Seedlings usually need anywhere from six to nine weeks for their roots to grow strong enough to do well in transplanting. Plants should usually be put in the ground in the early fall, usually in mid-September in the Northern Hemisphere, or mid-March in the Southern Hemisphere. 

The easiest way to get a hold of mature pansies in fall is to purchase them from a nursery. Nurseries often sell many different types of pansies. Varieties that have been specially cultivated for autumn blooming are often the best choices, but they may not always be available. With the right amount of attention and care, most any variety will work.

Gardeners should pay careful attention to the roots of any pansy they are considering purchasing or transplanting. Plants should be tightly planted in their pots and should not have spindly or packed roots. Roots that are either too loose or too dense often have a hard time binding to the soil, which can lead to premature plant death once winter sets in. 

Once the pansies have been selected, plots must be prepared. Growing pansies in fall usually requires more attention to rainfall and water collection than does growing for exclusively springtime blooms. Plants should usually be situated in locations with good drainage, often on inclines. Gardeners can also pack mulch or coarse bark around the plants to promote drainage, which often provides the dual benefit of ground insulation that protects the plants from freezing and popping out of the ground.

Sunlight is a final consideration in caring for pansies in the fall.  Pansies generally thrive best in full sunlight.  Fall gardeners would be wise to pay attention to tree foliage and temporary shading patterns.  Even patches that seem fully exposed in mid-autumn may well turn out to be shaded in the spring once leaves begin to grow back.

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    • Growing pansies works best with established plants, rather than seeds.
      By: sneksy13
      Growing pansies works best with established plants, rather than seeds.