How to Care for Garden Pansy Flowers
Pansy flowers are hybrid plants derived from Viola tricolor, the wild pansy. Scientifically known as Viola x wittrockiana, they interbred naturally in Northern Europe and became what we now call the garden pansy. At present, there are a large varieties and types of pansy, varying in size and color. In addition, it is highly valued in the gardening world for its precious flowers.
Pansy flowers are ideal for planting at the foot of shrubs because they are able to prevent the growth of weeds. Taking these aspects into account, it is a very desirable plant and you might be thinking of growing it yourself. If so, one HOWTO is here to help with our article on how to care for garden pansy flowers.
Characteristics of garden pansy flowers
To know how to care for pansies, you must know the characteristics that distinguish them from other plants. here are the general properties of all garden pansy flowers, regardless of species:
- It is a perennial plant if it receives optimal care.
- It is a biannual flower. This means it will develop leaves in its first year and bloom in the second.
- Its flowers are edible and are often used as garnishes in restaurants specializing in haute cuisine.
- Pansy flowers bloom predominantly in the fall. In very hot climates, flowering lasts until spring.
- The plant acts effectively as a natural cover for shrubs and other plants.
- These flowers began to be domesticated two centuries ago, between the years 1820 and 1830.
Although the pansy is ideal for flowerbeds and shrubbery, it can grow in other places. In fact, with the right care, it can be an ideal plant for an outdoor balcony or terrace.
Garden pansy light requirements
Pansy flowers require some basic levels of essential care to grow, produce leaves and flourish. To stay in good health, it is essential that you cover all their vital needs.
As with all plants, we need to know whether they are best in sun or shade. With a flowering plant like the pansy, this is particularly important as we don't want to whither their petals. When this plant was first crossed in northern Europe, they were able to withstand a considerable variation of temperatures.
This means pansies can withstand low to warm temperatures. However, they will not survive in excessively low or high temperatures. Their, ideal range of soil temperature is 7 ºc/45 ºF to 18 ºC/65 ºF. It is, however, a sun plant and requires a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day.
In very hot climates, it is best to plant the garden pansy in semi-shaded areas. If the temperature is above 18 ºC/64 ºF, then direct sunlight all day can be damaging. In low temperatures, they can withstand frost and are good for preventing the growth of weeds.
If you live in a cold area, you may want to know what other plants are suitable. Here we show you the best cold weather plants for your garden to know more.
Watering garden pansy flowers
One of the great care needs of the pansy plant is to keep the soil relatively moist. However, this does not mean the pansy will tolerate a saturated substrate. Disproportionate watering will cause an excess of water in the roots, causing it to weaken or get sick. You may see this if the pansy starts to wilt and fall over.
During the flowering of the plant, it needs frequent watering (ideally two to three times a week). Everything will depend on the soil and the climate in which it is located to determine the exact frequency of irrigation. Areas of greater humidity will need less watering, but always check the flowers for the state of health of the plant. When not in bloom, the garden pansy will not need as much water, require only once or twice a week.
By allowing the soil to dry a little, the garden pansy can best cope with cold temperatures. It makes the plant hardy, so don't over water them.
Substrate and compost for pansy flowers
Pansy flowers need a soil rich in nutrients. When you plant them in the fall, you should use organic compost for the soil: this way, they will keep for three months. Afterwards, you will have to apply more amounts of organic fertilizer. Our article on the best food scraps for organic fertilizer allows you to make your own if you want to save money.
A recommended organic fertilizer for this plant is worm castings. Its contribution of nutrients and its composition provides great benefits to the pansy flowers and to the soil itself. It is one of the best ways to care for a pansy, but you can also make your own fertilizer at home, if you wish.
Pruning garden pansies
The garden pansy plant usually loses the vitality transmitted by its flowers when the warmest season of the year arrives, coinciding with the months after flowering. If it does not receive the corresponding care, it will end up dying at this point.
If you want to prevent the flower from dying and preserve the pansies in summer, you need to do an aggressive pruning of the plant. When temperatures rise, you will need to trim it until only the stem is left. While this can seem dramatic and it will be sad to lose the flowers, it is essential for continued growth. Plus, you can use the flowers for decoration or even food if you wish.
Pests and diseases of garden pansy flowers
Finally, the last important factor in caring for garden pansies is to ensure they are kept safe from pests and disease. It is important we protect our pansies against the following.
- Aphids: are one of the garden pansy's main threats, an attack of these insects is relatively common and it puts the health of the flower at serious risk. To counteract the attack, use natural and homemade insecticides, such as onion or garlic infusions, chamomile and wormwood. You can also go for Neem oil or potassium soap. If these do not work, use a strong, but safe organic pesticide from the store.
- Fungi: these can habitually damage pansy flowers with powdery mildew being one of the most dangerous. They appear forming white or gray spots on the stems and leaves. We will need to protect our pansies by removing it and treating it with an appropriate antifungal product.
It is possible to keep pansies indoors, but it is not ideal for them. If you don't have a garden or are looking for something to keep inside, our guide to the best indoor plants for low light will help you decide what is best for you.
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