A little history of pansies
From a botanical point of view, the different types of pansies belong to the genus of violets (Viola). The wild pansy (Viola tricolor) grows naturally in fields and meadows in Asia and Europe.
The pansies that grow in our garden (Viola wittrockiana) probably got their name because of their appearance: the petals are arranged so that that the upper flowers form two chairs. The "stepmother" sits on these, while the "daughters" sit on the side petals. The lowest flowers are reserved for the "stepdaughters".
Features of the plant
The biennial plants are typically only green in their first year. Only in the second year do they begin to bloom and then pass away. Pansies bloom in different colors from April to October and usually have five petals.
These can reach a total size of four to six centimeters. The special thing about the flowers of the pansy is that they can develop a play of up to three colors.
Image source: Marta Boroń, Bratek ogrodowy – Viola x. wittrockiana – Garden pansy (35175894503), size by botanicly, CC BY 2.0
Pansy Location: No great demands
As far as location is concerned, pansies are basically relatively flexible. They can thrive in a partially shaded location or in a sunny spot. However, they prefer a less sunny location.
Hibernation done right
Here is useful information about wintering: the colorful pansies are usually hardy. However, if periods of frost occur over a long period of time then this can become quite a problem and winter protection for your plant is necessary. Brushwood, leaves or even a little fleece are suitable for this..
Image source: ΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ ΖΑΧΑΡΑΚΗΣ, Viola fragrans, CC BY-SA 4.0
The real pansy soil
Even if the blooming garden pansy is very easy to care for, you should still make sure when caring for the pansy that the plant grows in nutrient-rich soil. The plant prefers a lime-poor and humus-rich substrate and leads to beautiful flowering.
Tip: It is best to mix a bit of mature compost (if available) or some horn shavings into the standard garden soil.
Watering pansies: moisture yes - waterlogging no
Even moisture in the soil is a prerequisite for proper pansy care. This allows the plant to grow very luxuriantly and you can enjoy the picture of flowers. However, the substrate in which the plant grows should not be too wet so that waterlogging occurs, as this can quickly lead to rot.
Fertilize pansies: avoid over-fertilization
The compost or the horn shavings, which you ideally have mixed under the soil, form great starting conditions for an optimal nutrient balance, which of course should not be missing when caring for pansies. If your plant grows in a flower bed, you don't normally need to fertilize it as the nutrients are sufficient.
You can only give them a little fertilizer next spring. However, if your pansies are growing in flower pots or boxes, there may be a nutrient deficiency. You can prevent this by fertilizing with liquid fertilizer every two to four weeks.
Image credit: Photo by David J Stang, Viola Sorbet Yellow Frost 1zz, CC BY-SA 4.0
Pruning pansies: this is how you get a long flowering time
If you want to enjoy a long-lasting flowering period for pansies, then you should also prune them regularly. I.e. You simply remove the faded flowers and thus maintain the appearance of the plant. When the first bloom in autumn has passed and winter is approaching, it is best to cut them back to the ground.
Repot or transplant pansies
When caring for pansies, there is basically no need to repot or transplant, as the small flower only thrives for about two years. Therefore, the effort for a change of location is not really worthwhile.
Propagating pansies: Various methods will help you
Propagating your own pansies at home can be done using different methods. If you have a green thumb and a lot of instinct, then you can collect the seeds of the plant and sow them behind a glass cover or outside from June.
However, the method of dividing the mother plant is simpler. It is best to use a slightly larger specimen and carefully divide the root ball into two parts. You already have two small pansy plants that you can replant.
In the third method, you can use the longer runners of the plant as offshoots. It is best to root them in a pot or in a flower box before planting them in a flower bed.
Are pansies poisonous?
When caring for pansies, you don't have to worry about whether the plant is poisonous to babies, dogs or cats. All parts of the plant are non-toxic.
Tips for a real pansy bloom
Tip 1: Avoid excessive fertilization, as too many nutrients damage the plant and inhibit flowering.
Tip 2: Regularly check your pansies for snail infestation. These are particularly common in flower beds. To protect your plants from this, dry coffee grounds, which you sprinkle on the ground, are perfect for this. This has a toxic effect on snails.
Tip 3: To ensure that the pansies bloom for a long time, you should also protect them from fungal infection (downy) mildew. Here it helps to sow the small plants yourself, because they are more robust than the pre-cultivated pansies from the nurseries.
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