What is a Pansy?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Fenn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2019
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The pansy is a flowering plant that comes in a wide variety of vibrant colors. Pansies have multiple petals that may be uniform in color or contain several hues. Those with a darker area of color at their centers are called monkey-faced pansies; those that are one color throughout are known as clear-faced pansies. The pansy is a biennial plant that lives for two years. Pansies are easy to find and can be purchased from most gardening centers, either as seeds or cuttings that can be planted immediately. These flowers can grow up to nine inches (23 centimeters) tall, with green, oval or heart-shaped leaves as well as flowers.

Pansies are very popular due to their hardiness. Though this flower grows best in warm, sunny environments, the pansy can often survive freezing temperatures and even snowfall. Icicle pansies in particular are known to thrive despite cold conditions. The pansy also needs to be planted in well-draining soil. Pansies should be watered approximately once a week depending on the amount of rain. Plant food can help pansies to thrive and should be used about once every two weeks. About six hours of daily sunlight will also increase this flower's growth.


Some pansies are fragrant. This light, perfume-like scent is reported to be best detected at dusk or early morning. Blue and yellow pansies are said to be the most fragrant. If a pansy-enthusiast is looking to maximize this pleasant smell, the best way is probably to plant several close containers of multiple blue and yellow pansies.

Pansies are cultivated plants, derived from violas, wildflowers that grow naturally in places like Greece. The pansy was the result of crossing several species of viola. In the 1800s, English gardener William Thompson was credited with creating the first line of pansies with "faces," or the splotches of color at the center of the monkey-faced pansy.

Pansy care is very important if one wishes to fill their gardens with these beautiful flowers. Pansies can fall prey to several types of diseases. Stem rot, leaf spot and mildew can all negatively impact pansies if proper precautions are not taken. These fungi damage either the stems or leaves of the plant. Humid weather can be the chief cause of rot problems. Keeping pansies in an area with good air circulation can help prevent mildew, which causes white spots on the undersides of leaves and stems. Leaf spot can be detected by the yellow, red or brown spots that form on leaves.

Aphids, spider mites and slugs can also damage pansies. The cucumber mosaic virus is caused by aphids, which can also destroy plants by drinking their juices. An aphid infestation can be combated by spraying the plants with soapy water. Sand or bark can be put down in a pansy bed to discourage slugs, which will eat the pansy's leaves and flowers. Tiny dishes of beer are also said to keep slugs away.


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Post 2

@Grivusangel -- I like pansies, too, especially the ones with the "faces." The others are really pretty, but I think the black splotches on the colored petals is so striking. I like to do a variety of colors because, as you mentioned, they do liven up the place during the winter when everything else is brown and gray. But the pansies are colorful.

Post 1

I have pansies around my mailbox and I love them. Since they tolerate cool weather, they usually stay nice through the winter and don't really fade until the summer heat starts in. They also don't require much care, which is a good thing, considering my track record with plants!

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