Winter pansies are smaller than normal garden pansies and are actually a short-lived perennial. Start them from seeds sown directly in your garden. They will bloom during cool weather for two to three seasons. Winter pansies often self-seed in your garden, so newly-grown seedlings replace the spent older plants.
Choose a spot that is in full sun to partial sun with soil that is fertile and well-drained.
Prepare the planting bed. Apply a 2-inch layer each of compost and peat moss to the surface of the soil. Dig them in by turning over the soil with a spade. Rake the area smooth.
Sow winter pansy seeds in early fall in USDA zone 7, or warmer. Sow winter pansy seeds in early spring in USDA zone 6, or colder. Scatter the seeds on the surface of the planting bed and cover with a ¼-inch layer of peat moss.
Mist the planting bed with a fine mist from a hose-end sprayer. Check the soil daily and mist as needed to keep the surface moist until germination occurs in 7 to 14 days. Thereafter, watering is only needed if the weather is dry with no natural rainfall.
Thin the seedlings when they are 2 to 3 inches high so they stand 6 to 8 inches apart.
Mulch the planting bed with a 2-to-4-inch layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or buckwheat hulls.
Fertilize winter pansies by side dressing with well-rotted compost in early spring. Pull back mulch and apply a ½-inch layer of compost around the plants. Replace the mulch.