How to Start Pansies


Pansies bloom profusely during spring and fall. As cool-season annual flowers, they put on their best show when other, warmer-season flowers are dormant or have finished flowering for the year. Pansies come in a broad range of colors, with most varieties sporting at least two hues on each flower. While pansies are readily available at garden centers in season, it is much less expensive to start your own bedding plants at home by planting the pansies from seed.

Step 1

Fill a seed-starting flat with a quality potting mixture. Create your own seed-starting mix by combining one part loam, one part compost or peat moss, and one part sand.

Step 2

Set the seedling flat inside a slightly larger drip tray. Water the soil until the excess moisture begins draining from the bottom of the seedling flat. Empty the drip tray once the seedling flat is done draining.

Step 3

Sow the pansy seeds on the soil surface and cover with 1/8 inch of fine potting mix. Space the seeds 2 inches apart in all directions. Mist the soil surface with water to moisten, then firm the soil surface with your hands or a flat board, ensuring the seeds are in contact with the soil on all sides.

Step 4

Cover the seedling flat with a sheet of plastic wrap, which helps retain moisture during germination. Set the flat in a warm room to germinate.

Step 5

Remove the plastic once the seeds germinate, approximately five to eight days after sowing. Set the flat in a warm, sunny area.

Step 6

Water the seedlings when the soil surface begins to feel dry. Water just until the excess moisture begins to drain from the bottom of the flat.

Step 7

Transplant the pansies once they grow their second set of leaves, which are the true leaves. Fill 3-inch-diameter seedling pots with the same soil mix used for seed-starting. Water the soil until it is moist.

Step 8

Lift the pansies from the tray by the leaves, avoiding contact with the stem. Plant one seedling per pot, sowing at the same depth the plant was growing at in the tray. Continue to water the individual pots as you were the seedlings in the flat.

Tips and Warnings

  • Frost kills pansy seedlings if they are not properly prepared for outdoor conditions. Set the seedlings outdoors during the daytime starting one week before transplanting. Place in a protected area and gradually move them out into the sun over the week.

Things You'll Need

  • Seedling flat
  • Potting mix
  • Drip tray
  • Seeds
  • Board
  • Plastic wrap
  • Seedling pots


  • West Virginia University Extension: Pansies
  • University of Missouri Extension: Starting Plants From Seeds
Keywords: growing pansy starts, planting pansies, pansies from seed

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.