Can Pansies Survive Frost? | 3 Tips to Protect Your Pansies

Pansies are beautiful flowers and they can survive frost. If you live in certain growing zones, they can even survive a little snow. People living in zones 4-8 can expect their pansies to last through light frosts and snow, while those living in zones 9-11, where it is a little warmer, can even enjoy flowering pansies during the winter months.

This article will explore the best ways to keep your pansies growing strong during the winter months.

3 Ways to Protect Pansies From Frost

Even though pansies usually won’t die from a light frost, it’s still good to protect them so they can grow at their best. Here are a few ways to do that.

1. Use Pine Straw Mulch

We all know that mulch can keep plants warmer, and pansies are no exception. While you can use other types of mulch to protect your pansies from frost, most experts agree that pine straw mulch is the best. Just place some around the plants in a nice thick blanket and that should do the trick.

2. Bring Them Inside

If it’s going to get too cold, it’s best to bring your pansies inside if you can. Of course, you can only do this if they’re in pots or containers. It is a good option when your pansies are in containers. Just remember that the indoor temperature shouldn’t be too warm because this isn’t good for your pansies, either.

3. Cover Them With Fabric

There are special cloths made just for protecting plants from the cold, but you don’t necessarily need this to keep your plants warm. Just buy a thick, soft piece of fabric and wrap the plants with that. Flannel is a good option for doing this.

When to Plant Pansies to Avoid Frost Burn

The best time to plant pansies is either early spring or in the fall. Keep in mind they do best in soil that is between 45 degrees and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so never plant them when the ground is cold.

You can buy already established plants at a nursery or grow them from seed. If you choose the latter, plant the seeds indoors in late winter, roughly 8-10 weeks before the last spring frost in order to get blooms in the spring. If you want blooms in fall or winter, plant the seeds in late summer.

Check out this great video with tips for growing winter pansies.

Do I Need to Cover Pansies to Protect Them From Frost?

It is best to cover pansies when you’re expecting a frost, preferably by using either garden fabric or overnight using a plastic cover. Remove the cover once the frost has passed.

Your goal should be to plant the pansies early enough for the root system to be fully developed before the temperatures are expected to reach 25 degrees.

If the root systems are completely developed and you don’t cover the pansies before a frost, the plants might not survive.

Can Pansies Survive a Light Frost?

Pansies can survive a light frost and even single-digit temperatures. In fact, pansies can tolerate cold temperatures much better than they can warm or hot temperatures. This is why so many people, especially those living in milder climates, grow their pansies in pots or containers.

When they’re grown in pots, you can easily move them inside if it’s too cold – or too hot – outside. Pansies also may start to wither if you bring them indoors and the inside temperature is too much higher than around 70 degrees.

My pansies have been growing well over winter.

Will Pansies Come Back After a Freeze?

Many pansies will come back after a freeze. Sometimes when it freezes, the flowers or blooms will wither, but if this happens to you don’t panic or throw away the plants.

Just leave them alone and they’ll likely bloom again, which is one of the reasons many people plant them so they bloom in the fall or early winter. While other plants may turn brown and even die if it’s too cold outside, that rarely happens with pansies.

Pansies can get nibbled by slugs and snails in cold weather.

At What Temp Should You Cover Pansies?

Most experts agree that when the temperature gets down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, your pansies need to be covered. While they can survive the cold and even freezing temperatures, you don’t want them to be exposed to lots of bitter-cold weather for long periods of time.

If you’d like to know what temperatures are considered optimal for pansies, it is 32-40 degrees at nighttime and high 50s to early 60s in the daytime.

How Cold Can Potted Pansies Tolerate?

Potted pansies can tolerate a lot of cold, just like pansies planted in the ground. But it is still recommended that you bring them inside once the temperature reaches about ten degrees Fahrenheit.

There is one other time when you’ll want to bring potted pansies inside, and that’s when it’s extra windy outside. Pansies simply do better when they’re inside as opposed to being outside in cold, windy weather.

How to Best Grow Pansies

If you follow a few simple rules, your pansies will grow successfully. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you love pansies.

Planting Them Outdoors

Pansies need moist soil that drains well. You’ll want to keep them in full or partial sun, but keep in mind they need cool temperatures to grow and thrive.

If you have a spot that gets early morning sun but not the heat of the daytime, this is a great place to plant your pansies. Pansies usually grow 6-9 inches tall and 9-12 inches wide.

Planting Them Indoors (in Pots)

When planting pansies in pots, all you need is a pot no wider than 12 inches in diameter and standard potting soil. In spring or fall, pansies do best if facing south. Once summer arrives, you’ll want the plants to be on the east side of your home so they can get morning sun and afternoon shade.


Pansies survive frost and even snow because they are a winter plant, but they still do better if brought indoors when it gets below freezing outside. For the best results, cover them in the winter and if you bring them inside, make sure your indoor temperature doesn’t get too high.