Pansies are one of the most popular backyard flowers, and for good reason. Their joyful silhouette and vibrant colors bring interest to an otherwise blank canvas. While these hardy plants thrive in the cold, to guarantee their health through spring, it's essential we provide them with the proper care throughout winter.
Whilst you may be focused on lawn care and planting bulbs to complete your modern garden ideas before 2024, other areas of the backyard require your attention as well. Pansies, despite being a popular wintering flower, are one of them. Although they are pretty hardy, they are vulnerable to extreme cold, and sometimes they need an extra layer of protection.
Luckily, our expert gardeners are on hand to help you get your healthiest pansies ever. Here's how to best care for your flowers during the colder months and what temperature will kill them if left alone.
What temperature kills pansies?
A favorite for container gardening, pansies are pretty hardy plants and can thrive in cool weather between 45°F to 65°F, but they can become vulnerable as it gets colder. 'Pansies generally tolerate cold temperatures well,' says professional gardener Zahid Adnan from The Plant Bible, 'however, if the temperature drops significantly below freezing, pansies may suffer frost damage.'
As Zahid notes, even the most hardy plants have their limits, so if you're in a location that suffers particularly hard winters, you will want to pay attention to the following advice.
What should you do when it gets too cold for pansies?
Pansies aren't typically on our list of plants to overwinter, however, this can be an option if you feel your conditions are particularly cold. 'In cases where temperatures plunge below zero, covering pansies with a frost cloth or bringing potted plants indoors overnight can help protect them,' says Zahid.
There are also other ways to protect your pansies without bringing them inside, such as sheltering them from the wind. If you frequently get super cold weather, however, Jonathan Holmes, owner of Planted Shack, suggests going straight to overwintering.
'I highly suggest bringing pansy plants indoors before temperatures drop below freezing,' says Jonathan. 'In my experience, it's not worth the hassle trying to protect them outside when a few hard freezes can kill them off completely. Pansies are cold hardy, not freezing hardy, but it very much depends on the zone they're in.'
How do you care for pansies in winter?
If you're in a high-hardiness zone and don't usually get freezing conditions you might not feel the need to bring your pansies inside. Despite this, it can be worth giving them a little extra care during the colder weather.
'Following a few general practices will contribute to the overall well-being of pansies during the winter months, ensuring they emerge in spring with vigor and beauty,' says Zahid. The first of these is mulching. 'Apply a layer of mulch around pansies to insulate the soil and protect the roots from extreme cold,' he explains.
Throughout winter you should be extra careful not to overwater as the moisture won't evaporate so quickly. As Zahid notes: 'Be cautious not to overwater, as waterlogged soil can lead to root rot.' That said, neglecting to water completely is also a mistake. Be sure to test the soil first to check how damp it is.
To ensure flourishing blooms throughout the whole season, you should also practice deadheading from fall into winter. Deadheading spent flowers will encourage continuous blooming so remove any damaged or diseased foliage as it starts to get colder and you'll soon notice your blooms spring back in no time (ensuring they're not too cold, that is!)
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Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.
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