Thursday, 28 January 2016


Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

Bedding plants look fantastic in a garden, but can be expensive to buy.  You can grow bedding plants easily at home from seed for a fraction of the price of buying them in the shops, and you can get to choose from so many more varieties too.

Not to be confused with violas or violettas, pansies derive from the wild pansy, viola tricolour. The other main contributor to the huge range of hybrid varieties now available is  the mountain pansy, V. luteaThe crossing of these two plants resulted in the garden pansy, V. x wittrockiana.  

Pansies are a firm favourite as they add so a distinctive block of colour in a garden.  These cool season annuals, biennials, or hardy perennials and bloom in early spring or autumn depending on the species and actual time of sowing the seeds.  They can be grown for both summer and winter bedding, just ensure you choose the appropriate summer or winter variety. 

Pansies become straggly in their second year so it is therefore best to sow them annually to ensure a good flowering display. 

Growing pansies from seed

Pansies can be sown in early spring, ready for planting out in May for a summer display. Alternatively you can sow seeds in June for a autumn planting to flower in the spring.

Pansies prefer full sun and moist, rich soil that is well drained. Fill a seed tray with seed and potting compost.  Sow the seeds thinly on the surface of the soil and thinly cover with vermiculite.  Gently water and place in a warm, sunny position with a temperature of between 15-18C.  

The seedlings will germinate in 14-21 days. Keep the temperature consistent and water as required, as high temperatures and fluctuating moisture levels are the most likely causes of failure.

Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle.   Place the into 9 cm pots filled with seed and potting compost.  Plant your seedlings into your garden 8-10 weeks after sowing, but remember to harden off  the plants in a cold frame prior to planting in their final position.

Autumn planted Pansies tend to fend off cold better if they are well fed, so feed your plants in autumn with a water-soluble general purpose fertiliser. 

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