How Do I Protect Perennial Pansies During the Winter?


Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) are annual flowers available in over 250 cultivars. Colors include red, orange, violet, rose, maroon, white and gold. Pansies also come in tri-color (Viola tricolor). Pansies thrive best in U.S. Department of Agriculture Zones 4a to 9a. Pansies are planted in the fall, producing single and double blooms through late spring. Proper care and protection help pansies thrive through the winter.

Step 1

Confirm pansies are planted in a spot with well-drained soil. Well-drained soil helps excess water drain away from the pansies' roots.

Step 2

Water the pansies with 2 inches of water a week during winter.

Step 3

Cover plants prior to frost. Newspapers, plastic liners and sheets are great resources for covering pansies during winter. If pansies have suffered frost damage, allow them to warm up naturally in the sun.

Step 4

Prune pansies by removing any dead or diseased leaves or blooms during the winter. Signs of diseased leaves include wilted leaves or leaves speckled with brown spots. Note that pansies' blooms may appear wilted after a frost, but they often recover on their own.

Step 5

Add 2 inches of mulch around pansy roots to help prevent weed growth during the winter. Mulch also keeps pansies warm during cold days and nights.

Step 6

Fertilize pansies with a fertilizer containing 50 percent nitrogen, after the temperature drops below 50 degrees F. Nitrogen helps pansies with rapid growth and improves foliage quality throughout the winter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Fertilizer is harmful to children and pets if ingested. Many fertilizers have the same appearance as fruit juices when they are mixed with water.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil
  • Fertilizer


  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Pansies & Johnny-Jump-Ups
  • Utah University Extension Service: Pansies No Wimps To Winter Weather
  • The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: Pansy Diseases in the Landscape

Who Can Help

  • National Gardening Association: Winter-Hardy Pansies
  • Old Farmer's Almanac: Pansies
  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Success with Pansies in the Winter Landscape
Keywords: protect perennial pansies, protect pansies, winter pansies

About this Author

Brandii Lacey began writing in 1997 at "The Mountain Times" in Boone, N.C. Her articles appear on, GardenGuides and eHow Home & Garden. She provides travel and lifestyle content for LIVESTRONG.COM. Lacey is the senior plays editor and on the nonfiction editorial team for "Mused Literary Review" magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from Appalachian State University.