How to deadhead pansies?

How to Deadhead Pansies

Plant pansies in pots and containers or in your garden beds for a profusion of spring colors. Gardeners, both experienced and novice, appreciate pansies for their easy care and many varieties. Removing the spent blooms keeps the pansies from producing seeds and allows the plants to continue to produce plentiful flowers, sometimes all the way into fall. This process is known as deadheading. Don’t think of it as a chore, but as a way to spend quality time in your flower beds.

Study the pansy plant for spent blooms that are beginning to wilt or already have wilted. Separate the stem with the spent bloom gently from the neighboring stems.

Snip off the bloom right above the set of leaves directly below it. A new flower node will form at the leaf juncture.

Look for areas where the petals have already dropped and the seeds are beginning to form. Snip off above the leaves directly below it.

Deadhead any damaged or sickly looking flowers to prevent any possible disease from spreading to the rest of the plant by snipping in the same way.

Check pansies every one to three days while flowering for blooms that need to be deadheaded.

The Fine Art of Deadheading or Picking Pansies

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 10, 2007. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)

Many gardeners do not think of deadheading as an art, but see it rather as a chore. One woman even told me wearily exactly how many daffodils she had deadheaded, ”One thousand eight hundred and seventy-three.” This is not a healthy attitude.
Let’s see, oh, yes, healthy attitudes. Sorry, I, um, well, I was deadheading some pansies, and pulling some little weeds, seeing about a nice rock for the new heather.
You see, when you are deadheading, you are tending to your garden in a most intimate way. To deadhead a flower, you must look at it and at the plant it is growing on. You notice the plant’s health, how well it is doing in regards to the plants around it and the state of the weed population. The choices you make about whether or not to leave a seed pod, how this little plant might be happier two feet closer to the partial shade rather than in the full sun, and if perhaps you can impose on a friend to take some sweet william seedlings off your hands are most easily done while you are observing all your plants from the perspective of relieving them of those dead flower heads.
Well, now, back from shearing the hardy geraniums at the west end of the porch, clipping the orange honeysuckle and training the purple clematis around the corner and up the string on the front of the porch (if I keep working on this article for much longer, I’ll have my deadheading caught up).
There are, of course, those times when you are simply taking a quick walk around and popping off a few spent daisy blooms here and a rose hip or two there, but even then, you are taking mental notes as to what is looking particularly good, what needs to be done when you have more time, what you might want to put in that empty space. Gardens, you see, are never really about product, but rather process. They are about going from daffodils and tulips to forget-me-nots and violets to daisies and roses and pinks to chrysanthemums and hardy asters and tall rudbeckias. Gardens are for keeping the daisies blooming so that there are some for your daughter’s best friend’s wedding in October and rose buds still clinging in the first December snow. And it is only by practicing the fine art of deadheading that you can accomplish that. Product, yes, but only because of the process.
Okay, off to take care of the sweet williams and the feverfew. Oh, by the way, my aunt once told me that she never had a better pansy patch than the one that I deadheaded for her. Maybe I should stop by and see how her pansies are doing this year.

How to Trim Pansies

pansy image by DOLPHIN from

Colorful pansies add interest to spring and fall gardens and containers. In areas with mild winter weather, these hardy annuals can bloom all through the season when other plants are dormant. Cold weather, overgrowth and just the rigors of the outdoors can leave the pansies looked ragged and unkempt if they are not trimmed correctly. Trimming pansies also prevents seed from setting and prolongs the blooming period, as once plants set seeds they no longer have reason to flower.

Inspect the pansies once weekly during the blooming period and trim away wilting flowers as they are found. Cut the flower stem off at the base with a small pair of shears or pinch the stem off with your fingers.

Trim off dead or yellowed leaves from the plants when you are removing the spent blooms. Cut these and any damaged leaves off where they emerge from the stem.

Pinch back container pansies and pansies that are becoming leggy and overgrown. Pinch off the top 1 to 4 inches of each growing stem. This encourages full, lateral growth and leads to a bushy plant.

Cut off the top one-third of pansies that have suffered from frost burn or have become extremely overgrown. Leave at least two sets of leaves on each stem when pruning severely or the plant may not grow back.

Water the pansies and fertilize with a soluble 10-30-20 fertilizer, following label application recommendations, after severe pruning. This encourages the pansies to grow back and bloom further.

No Flowers On Pansy Plants: Help, My Pansies Aren’t Blooming

Pansies are perennial favorites for many gardeners due to their prolific and lengthy bloom time and the myriad of cheerful colors available. Easy to grow, pansies are a terrific option for the novice gardener. Even so, gardeners may find that their pansies aren’t blooming. What causes no flowers on pansy plants? Read on to find out about pansies that won’t bloom and what to do when pansies are not flowering.

Help, My Pansies Aren’t Blooming!

The first thing to consider about pansies that won’t bloom is temperature. Pansies are cool weather plants that take a season to mature prior to blooming and setting seed. This means that in the northern region, pansies should be planted in the fall and in warmer areas, plant seedlings in the winter.

Pansies stop or slow their blooming when the weather gets hot. The heat is a signal to the plant that it is time to start a new generation, so it goes into overdrive to produce seeds instead of blossoms.

If the pansies are planted at the wrong time for your zone, a likely reason for the pansies not flowering is because it is either too cold or too hot for them. This is no reason to panic, however, as these little beauties are quite resilient. They may not bloom when you want them to, but they will likely produce abundantly when the weather warms or cools as needed.

Another reason for no flowers on pansies is the size of their root system. Many people buy a flat of small plugs for some quick color which, of course, have little root systems. If the plants are planted when the weather is still quite cool, they may just need a little time to grow better roots before blooming.

What to do for No Flowers on Pansy

Sometimes, you can help the pansies along by providing them with a bit of fertilizer. Fertilize them every 2-3 weeks with a bit of liquid fertilizer to encourage root and plant growth. Phosphorus fertilizer, like bone meal, will also help promote flowering.

Also, to encourage blooming, don’t be afraid to deadhead what little blooms you may have or even prune leggy parts of the plants. You may prune up to one-third of the plant to stimulate new blooms and growth.

A successful flowering depends on successful planting, so be sure to plant the pansies in a well-tilled bed that is amended with compost or well-rotted manure. This will nourish the plants, but they will benefit from an extra bit of fertilizer in the form of a 5-10-5 fertilizer once in the fall and then again in the spring.

To get the longest bloom time out of your pansies, plant them in an area of the garden that is out of full sun during the hottest part of the day, from noon to 3 p.m.

Lastly, if your pansies are lacking in blooms, it just might be the end of their life cycle. Since pansies are annuals or biennials in most regions, after only about one or two cycles of blooming, they’re ready to go to that big garden in the sky, or the compost pile.

Flowers That Look Like Pansies

Pansies image by L. Shat from

Small pansies are early bloomers that flower in a wide variety of colors. Easy to grow and vibrant, pansies are a simple addition to any garden. They’re a popular choice among gardeners, but they have an extremely strong scent and don’t bloom year-round. Add more color to your garden with flowers that look like pansies and get the look you want during other parts of the year.


Viola Tricolor image by Igor Tarasov from

Violas, like pansies, are part of the violet family. Viola blossoms are slightly larger than pansy blooms and have higher resistance to temperature changes. Violas come in a dazzling array of colors, some blooms growing in tri-color patterns. Violas are capable of flowering into the fall and have such high resistance to cold that they’re a good choice for northern regions. Southern gardeners will find that violas bloom continuously in winter and spring.

Viola flowers cannot survive in strong summer heat (90 degrees Fahrenheit and higher), so plant the bulbs in early spring or fall. Viola soil should be well-drained, evenly moist and in partial shade to protect them from the worst of the sun’s heat. Violas bloom 12 to 14 weeks after planting.


impatiens image by palms from

Impatiens are treated like annuals even though they are actually perennials. The small, colorful blooms are easy to grow and simple to maintain. Plant impatiens, which look like pansies in blossom structure and size, in a partially-shaded spot. Impatiens will wither in face of too much sunlight. The flowers also need to stay moist, so check the soil around impatiens often. Impatiens bloom in shades of white, pink, orange and red, with some bicolor patterns available.

New Guinea impatiens have higher sun tolerance than other varieties of the flower, but they will not last long in full sunlight. Impatiens bloom well into the fall, though frost will destroy the tender flowers. Impatiens are edible, but they are not well-known as a popular choice for food usage.

Miltoniopsis Orchids

Red Orchids image by Dawn from

Miltoniopsis orchids are nicknamed “pansy orchid” because of their resemblance to pansies. Sometimes, Miltoniopsis orchids are incorrectly called Miltonia due to the similarity in the names. Miltoniopsis blossoms requite little light and may be grown under artificial light. The leaves of the plant will turn light green when Miltoniopsis orchids are receiving enough light.

Like pansies, Miltoniopsis orchids need to stay moist to stay healthy. Daily watering may be necessary in order for the plant to thrive during warm weather. Unlike other flowers that look like pansies, Miltoniopsis orchids grow well in warm weather (80 to 85 degrees F), and some varieties will thrive even in hot temperatures (90 degrees F and above).

All Pansies are Violas but not all Violas are Pansies. The two words have become virtually interchangeable, but even though these plants share common origin, there are some differences that could determine which would make the most impact in your property’s landscaping.

Fun Fact: If the flower has four petals pointing upward and only one pointing downward – you’re looking at a Pansy. If the flower has two petals pointing upward and three petals pointing downward – you’ve got a Viola.

Violas – Viola tricolor

These little beauties were imported from Europe in the 18th century. Viola flowers are smaller than their Pansy cousins – about the size of a nickel – but much more abundant. Violas also tend to be more heat and cold tolerant so that means an extended blooming season. The range of colors is not as extensive as Pansies but the traditional solid colors are available along with mixes like Penny Citrus Mix – a fun orange, yellow, and white combo.

Fun Fact: Pansy comes from the French word pensée which means thought.

Pansies – Viola wittrockiana

Probably the most recognizable cool weather flower there is, they are the result of breeding the traditional Viola above with other wild Viola varieties. Pansies are known for their large colorful flowers on dark green, compact plants. These colorful additions to the fall landscape love full sun and are available in “series” with vibrant saturated colors, playful “faces” or even traditional Victorian Era ruffles. With so many choices, we’ll share our favorites:

Delta series – Broadest color selection available with 32 colors and 20 premixed combinations

Majestic Giant series – Extra large 4” flowers with dark center blotch. Solid yellow, white, and purple colors now available as well.

Crown series – Nine clear colors, early flowering

Delta Series

Majestic Giants

Crown Series

Fun Fact: Viola and Pansy flowers are edible and often used to decorate cakes and other baked treats.

They’re Both Winners

Whichever plant you choose, Pansies and Violas will provide months of color in cooler temperatures and take center stage in a seasonal color display, colorfully border a landscaped planting bed, or liven up fall and winter container arrangements.

If you would like a proposal to install fall flowers on your property, please call us at 800-383-0440 or 301-218-1800 or contact us by email– we’re happy to give you our recommendation.

According to the Horticultural Trades Association the names “pansy” and “viola” are interchangeable for many visitors to garden centres.

But the way to tell the difference is that pansies have four petals pointing upwards, and only one pointing down, while violas have three petals pointing up and two pointing down.

Both are reliable and can tolerate sunshine and cold temperatures, which is why the HTA has selected them as equal Plant of the Month for March 2015.

The HTA, which recommends all aspects of the horticultural industry, recommends Viola ‘Aspasia’, a scented flower with creamy white upper petals and yellow lower petals; Viola ‘Jackanapes’, with dark red upper petals and yellow lower petals and the delicate Viola ‘Moonlight’, with pale violet upper petals and light yellow lower petals.

“These hardy, reliable plants have one of the widest colour ranges and can brighten up any garden space by being planted in beds, borders, containers and hanging baskets,” said a spokesman for the HTA.

“In fact they are a great plant to back the Love the Plot you’ve Got campaign from the Garden Industry Marketing Board.”

Recommended companion planting includes contrasting shrubs to complement their mix of colour and lower height.

The HTA suggests Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postil’, also known as Nepalese paper plant, an evergreen medium-sized shrub with highly fragrant deep pink and white flowers that are followed by black berries.

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae, also known as Mrs Robb’s bonnet, a spreading evergreen perennial with dark green leaves and sprays of yellow-green flowers are also suggested.

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