Pansy are among the first plants to appear outdoors at the garden center in the spring. And despite their sweet, colorful faces and sometimes intricate bloom markings, they are remarkably. If you think ahead, seeding pansy yourself allows you to choose from a wide range of varieties to add to container arrangements and the garden. In this article, I’m going to share some tips for growing pansy (and their Viola cousins) from seed both indoors and out, as well as advice on how and when to plant your seedlings outside.
Pansy come in a vast range of colors, from oranges and yellows, to pinks, purples, and almost-black. Some have intricate veining on the petals. Some have ruffled petals. That’s why it’s so fun to grow your own. There are a lot of options to choose from. Also, pansy are edible, so they look really pretty in or when they’ve been candied for a decoration.
Pansy have been hybridized from Violas, also called Johnny-jump-ups, which are part of the violet ( Violaceae ) family. Pansy tend to have larger flowers and their five petals are arranged a bit differently. When looking at a Viola flower, two petals point up and three point down. With pansy, four petals point upwards, with one pointing downwards. All of them are a cheerful part of a spring garden.
Start with filling cell packs or pots with dampened soilless mix. Sprinkle the tiny seeds into the growing medium, gently pressing them into the mixture so they’re covered. Remember, they need darkness to germinate. Use a mister to keep the soil moist and place the tray in a dark room. Pansy seeds can take anywhere from one to three weeks to germinate.
Once the seeds have germinated, move the tray to a location with bright light. I place mine under grow lights, keeping the soil lightly moist until they’re ready for early spring planting.
Before I knew this helpful germination tip about starting the seeds in darkness, I tried growing pansy under lights from the start. It did work, but just took a really long time for them to germinate. Seeds can also be started indoors or outside in the summer for a fall planting.