Pansies are hardy plants that have been cultivated to flower in a vast array of colors. Though they are technically a biennial, many gardeners grow them as perennials. However, after several growing seasons they may need to be replaced because their stems get scraggly. These flowers are able to survive cold temperatures, light freezes and little snow cover. They do not do well in humid heat or waterlogged soils. Knowing where to plant your pansies will help you raise healthy, beautiful plants.
Pansies like to be grown in at least six hours of full sunlight. To determine what areas of your yard get this sunlight, draw a diagram of your yard. Monitor your yard throughout the day. Indicate on your diagram how much sun each area receives. Full sunlight is characterized as six to eight hours. Partial light is from three to six hours and shade is three or less hours of sunlight. Pansies enjoy direct sunlight, especially in the winter months because it allows them to warm up. Likewise, flowers planted in shaded locations will produce fewer blooms. Because pansies are planted in the fall, the winter sun helps germinates the seeds or causes them to bloom. For optimal results, plant pansies when the ground temperature is between 45 and 65 degrees F. Planting pansies any colder than 45 degrees F will result in roots that cannot develop and flowers that will not blossom.
Pansies thrive in well-draining soil. If the soil is too shaded, heavily clay or has drainage problems, your pansies will have problems surviving. Root rot is a common culprit for killing pansies and other flowers. Even though full sunlight helps dry out waterlogged soil, you should find out your drainage type and make some amendments to saturated soil. Grab a handful of soil and squeeze. If the soil breaks into clumps in your hand it is sandy. Soil that releases water droplets is clay and soil that is malleable in the hand is loam. To amend clay soil, spread a 6-inch layer of compost and sand over the area. Till the area to make sure the mixture is well mixed with the native soil.
How to Get More Sunlight
If your yard gets full sunlight in an area without a garden bed, you can plant your pansies in containers and move them where the sun hits your yard. You can also get more sunlight to your garden beds by pruning overhanging trees. Avoid planting pansies near large trees, shrubs or ornamental flowers. Choose a south facing location of your yard to get the most sunlight. Move any movable objects like swing sets, patio umbrellas or tall container-grown trees away from the planting areas. Check on your plants during the growing season for stunted growth, few blossoms and discolored leaves that indicate inadequate sunlight.