Planting Pansies: Is it Safe Yet?

orange pansies in blue container

Pansies brighten up containers when not much else is blooming.

As we dig out from yet another (please, please, please make it the last) spring snowstorm, gardeners can’t help but wonder: Is it safe to be planting pansies yet? Judging by the long-term forecast for the Twin Cities, it looks like this weekend may be a good time to plant pansies in your containers for outdoors.

Pansies are tough little plants: They can easily take temperatures below freezing, though not below about 25.  However, since you will undoubtedly be planting pansies that were raised in a greenhouse, be sure to bring them inside for the first few nights. You may even want to pick them up today, giving them time outdoors during the day and indoors at night before planting pansies in their final location. Just as vegetables that are started under lights need a period of hardening off to get used to outdoor temperatures and winds, pansies appreciate a few days of indoor evenings to get used to the outside.

maroon and yellow pansies in greenhouse

Nurseries all over the state are loaded with pansy pots. This is the week to get yours!

Once they have adjusted, pansies are off to the races. They will flower profusely from planting time until the weather gets super hot. Last year, I planted pansies in my front-door container in April—a much warmer April than we are having this year—and left them there until July. At that point, they were looking a little scraggly, so I moved the pansy pot into a more secluded location on the back patio. With regular watering, it held on and bloomed nicely again in the fall.

Pansies come in so many colors: purples, yellows, deep burgundies, you name it. Match some with pussy willows for a spring look, then change out the willows for something more summery when (if??) the weather warms up.

After the winter and spring we have had—the coldest start to an April on record and record snowfall—it’s time to be planting pansies all over the North.

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