QUESTION: Do pansies come back every year? I was thinking about planting some and I’m hoping that they’ll stick around. – Lisa S
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Pansies are biennials at best and annuals in most cases. These flowers thrive in areas with mild winters and cooler summers.
Therefore, their greatest chance of acting as true biennials comes in the Pacific Northwest. In the Midwest and South, they should be treated as annuals as the summers get too hot for the plants to thrive year-round.
When pansies grow as biennials, and are planted from seed, they only produce foliage their first year and bloom the next. In these instances, it’s important to mulch around the plants to insulate the roots over the winter months.
However, if you plant established pansies in these areas, what typically happens is they bloom at the time of planting and die when winter arrives.
The pansies will go to seed, and as long as there aren’t multiple deep freezes over winter, the seeds will germinate the following year and new plants will sprout.
Again, you should only expect this in areas with mild winters and summers.
For the greater portion of the planting zones, pansies should be planted in early spring or late fall. You should provide adequate care and expect the plants to thrive in planting zones seven through ten.
There are some varieties which can thrive down to planting zone four, but this isn’t as common.
The plants will bloom until either the weather becomes too warm or multiple deep freezes occur. At this point, the plants’ life cycle ends.
You can grow more from seed or purchase new plants the following year to enjoy them again.
I live in planting zone seven and love pansies as they do well around my home from early fall through winter, as we don’t have many hard freezes.
If I provide them enough insulation, I can usually carry them through the following spring at which point they’ll die back when the heat of summer arises.
Therefore, don’t count pansies out just because they aren’t perennials or true biennials for most growing locations.
Instead, embrace this flower for the times of year you can grow it around your home in your growing location and enjoy their slightly cold hardy nature and brilliant coloring.