Pansies look beautiful in the garden, but they can be finicky and die if you’re not careful when growing them.

Your pansies died because of overwatering causing fungal problem such as root rot. Your pansies may die due to excess heat causing them to wilt. They may have died due to fungal or bacterial diseases in the soil.

I’ve written several possible reasons below that will help you figure out why your pansies faced problems and what you can do better the next time.

1. Too much heat

Pansies are a cool-season plant that grows best in spring, fall, or winter climates when the temperature is between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If the weather becomes too hot beyond such temperatures, the pansies will begin to die. 

Make sure you start growing your pansies only when the weather starts to get conducive. This will be best in spring after the last frost has passed. On in the fall when the temperature has started to decrease and is suitable for the plant.

The pansies will grow well in areas that have mild winters where there are only a few freezing nights. But they will die if you try to grow them in a region that has freezing winter.

2. Overwatering or underwatering

Pansies need good moisture in the soil to grow well but it should not be soggy. You need to provide them an inch of water every week.

If the soil gets less water, the pansies won’t grow well due to a lack of moisture and nutrients. If you forget to water them for several days, the pansies may die. The common sign of a lack of water is dried out, yellow, and drooping leaves.

If you water the soil too much and there is poor drainage, the water will start collecting near the roots. This will cause fungal problems such as root rot that will damage the roots. They will turn black and soggy.

The plant will not be able to absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil and provide to the foliage. This will cause the leaves to turn yellow, drooping, and the plant will eventually die.

You must check the moisture content of the soil before you water the plant. Stick your finger 1-2 inches into the soil and check the tip. If the finger comes out dry, it means the soil is dry and needs good watering.

If the plant is suffering from root rot, you need to dig it out and cut off the affected roots. Then plant it in another location that has good drainage.

3. Poor soil

Pansies prefer slightly acidic soil that has a pH between 5 to 6 so they can grow well. If the soil is too alkaline it can stunt growth and the plant may die.

Pansies need fertile soil with good texture to grow well. The soil should retain moisture but also drain out the excess. If the soil contains too much sand or clay, it will cause issues like overwatering or underwatering.

I suggest you find out the condition of your garden soil before you grow pansies in them. You can get a soil test conducted by sending soil samples to your local Extension Service.

They will give you all the details about the soil and the amendments you can use to improve the condition of the soil.

I also recommend adding organic compost to your soil every few months. This will improve the texture as well as add nutrients to the soil.

compost packet
Packet of compost I used for my plants

4. Lack of nutrients

If the pansies are unable to get the required nutrients from the soil they will not grow well and eventually die.

You should add organic compost when you’re preparing the garden soil for growing pansies. I would also suggest adding a balanced fertilizer such as one having N-P-K of 10-10-10.

You can keep adding this fertilizer every month to keep a constant supply of nutrients for the plants. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the amount of fertilizer to use.

organic fertilizer
Organic fertilizer I use for my plants

Once the flowers are growing, you need to switch to a fertilizer that is lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus. This ensures that the plant does not prefer growing foliage over flowers. A fertilizer having N-P-K of 5-10-5 would be good to use.

I recommend using organic fertilizer as it provides nutrients to the pansies without affecting the other plants and wildlife.

Make sure you don’t use too much fertilizer as this can cause fertilizer burn. The roots of the pansies will burn and the plant can’t get the required nutrients and moisture so it will die.

5. Too much light

Pansies are a shade-loving plant and if you grow them in full sun for a long time, they will tend to die. If the pansies don’t get enough sun that will also cause a problem in their growth.

You want to grow pansies in a location of your garden that gets plenty of sunlight but also partial shade. Lack of sunlight will cause them to grow tall and spindly as they try to reach for the light. Too much sunlight will stress the plant and it will have poor growth.

If you’ve already planted the pansies in your garden and there’s too much light, you can use a cover to shade them. 

If the pansies are growing in a location that has poor sunlight, you either need to move it to another location or try and remove obstacles that are blocking the light.

6. Lack of pruning

You need to prune the pansies once they have grown enough foliage. Otherwise, they will crowd up and have poor growth due to a lack of resources. The plant also may go to seed and start to die as part of the process.

You want to make sure to prune the pansies every week to keep them in check. Make sure you don’t prune more than 1/3rd of the plant at a time. Otherwise, you will end up damaging the plant.

If the pansies are growing on the plant, you want to start deadheading. You should remove the unwanted flowers that have poor growth, diseased, or dead.

This helps the plant focus its energy on growing more foliage and flowers rather than trying to revive unwanted and dead parts.

7. Lack of growing space

If the pansies in your garden don’t get enough growing space they will have a lack of nutrients, moisture, and aeration. This will cause them poor growth and even death.

You want to space the pansies in your garden at least 6 to 10 inches apart so they can grow well and avoid overcrowding.

You should check the seed packets or tags on the seedlings on how much space is needed between the seedlings as they grow.

If you have already planted the pansies, you’ll need to remove a few and move them to another location in the garden.

8. Pests

Your pansies can get attacked by pests especially when they are stressed out. Some of these pests will suck nutrients from the plant causing them to die.

Some common pests that attack pansies include aphids, spider mites, thrips, snails, and slugs. Pests like aphids and thrips will suck the sap out of the leaves.

Ants farming aphids on my pepper plants
Ants farming aphids on my pepper plants

It’s easy to get rid of these pests by spraying water on the leaves and dropping them on the soil. They cannot get back on the plant once they fall off. You want to make sure to spray the underside of the leaves where they may hide.

Slugs and snails will come out at night and eat away at the leaves causing plant damage and stress. The best way to get rid of them is to go at night with a flashlight and pick them off by hand. Drop them in a bucket of soapy water to get rid of them.

For some pests, you may need to use a pesticide and I would suggest going for natural ones such as neem oil, horticultural oil, or diatomaceous earth depending on the type of pests you’re dealing with.

9. Fungal diseases

If your pansies are affected by some fungal diseases they can cause the death of the plant. The most common problem plants face is fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, leaf spot, and botrytis blight. 

The best solution to fungal diseases is to keep the foliage away from moisture and humid conditions. When you water the pansies, make sure to water the soil and avoid splashing it on the leaves.

You also want to avoid overwatering that leads to a collection of moisture near the roots that invites fungal problems like black root rot or crown rot.

If a fungal disease has already attack the plant, you can cut off the affected parts of the plant, and that may save it.

Another option is to apply neem oil or horticultural oil on the affected parts of the plant depending on the type of fungal disease.

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