Pansies are hardy bloomers that will add a splash of bright color to the flower bed in early spring while the days and nights are still too chilly for most flowering plants. Versatile plants that are available in a wide range of colors, pansies (Violax wittrockiana) will thrive not only in flower beds, but in containers, strawberry pots, hanging baskets and window boxes. Raising pansies is a fairly simple process, but the rewards are gigantic.
Prepare the flower bed at least a week in advance. Select a spot in full sunlight. Use a garden fork or spade to cultivate the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Spread 2 inches of organic matter such as manure or compost on top of the soil, then work it thoroughly into the soil.
Purchase pansy bedding plants at a greenhouse or garden center. Select compact plants with solid green color and no yellow or brown leaves. Avoid tall, spindly plants. Plants with plenty of buds are best.
Plant pansies in late winter, five to six weeks before the last frost. Dig a small hole with a trowel, no larger than the size of the pansy plant's root ball, allowing 8 to 12 inches between each plant. Plant the pansy in the hole.
Fill the hole with the same soil and tamp the soil down lightly around the plant. Water the pansies immediately after planting.
Spread two to three inches of organic mulch around the pansy plants, but don't allow the mulch to pile up on the plants. An organic mulch such as chopped bark or pine needles will conserve moisture and deter weeds.
Water the pansies regularly, giving the plants a total of about an inch of water every week. Water at the base of the plants and avoid splashing the leaves as much as possible. Water in the morning so the moisture will have time to evaporate before evening.
Feed pansies a balanced granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Apply a teaspoon of fertilizer for every square foot of planting area. Repeat every three to four weeks during spring and summer.
Pinch spent pansy blooms. Removing the wilted blooms will enable the plant to continue blooming all summer instead of expending energy making seeds.