Can You Pinch Back Leggy Pansies?

Can you pinch back leggy Pansies?- Yes you can pinch long leggy stems. Pansies are bright colorful cool-weather flowers. They are perennial in USDA zone 7 through 10. You can also grow them as annuals in cooler regions.

In favorable conditions, these small flowering plants can grow for a couple of years. They develop new shoots and stems in spring ad then bloom till summer. Later the flowers fade off to spread their seeds. The plant itself may or may not survive the winter condition depending on the temperature. Now at a time when all other trees shed their leaves and your garden is full of shade and fallen leaves. Then some of your pansies may develop long leggy stems. It happens mostly due to inadequate sunlight.

It is quite hard to manage a leggy pansy seedling. Although if it is a mature flowering plant with a few leggy stems then pinching can help. Seedlings with a single main stem may not respond well to pinching. Usually, the seedling will die either by pinching stress or due to stem rot.

Can You Pinch Back Leggy Pansies?
Can You Pinch Back Leggy Pansies?

Gladiolus Pests and Disease Treatment

Is it helpful to Pinch Pansies?

Indeed Pinching a Pansy or any member of the Viola family is helpful. Early pinching of healthy seedlings can make the plants bushy and full of foliage. It will encourage the plant to develop new stems. This will result in multiple stem growth in the pansy plant. More stem simply means more flowers.

Pinching is an essential part of plant care. It is helpful from making a plant busher to keeping it healthy and free from disease Sometimes pinching pansies become a necessity in order to control the pest population. A Pansy plant with dense foliage may attract sap-sucking bugs. Pinching the tips as well as a few leaves can be helpful in pest control.

Lastly pinching pansies can control their leggy stem growth, especially during rainy or cloudy days. Pansies can develop long leggy stems in shade or during the rainy season. Pinching or trimming these extra-long growths can keep the plant clean and tidy.

How to fix Leggy pansies?

We must understand the problem before discussing the solution. Pansy plants may develop long leggy stems. It can happen with the seedlings as well as a mature flowering plant. So what is the cause of this problem?

It is the sunlight. Yes, lack of sunlight is mainly responsible for leggy growth in pansy plants. It is common with plants kept in shade or indoors. Although pansies in your garden may also develop long leggy stems during cold days. Sometimes this can occur during the fall season. Overhead fallen leaves may restrict sunlight leading to leggy stem growth in pansies.

Too much nitrogen in the soil can also cause leggy growth. It usually happens with seedlings grown in a compost mixture. If lighting and fertilizer are not problems then consider spacing the plants. Crowded seedlings may develop leggy growth due to a lack of space and completion for resource distribution.

Now as we know the cause, it’s time to solve the problem.

Fix Leggy Pansies

  • Adjust compost and organic matter in the soil with sand. It will create a balance and regulate nitrogen concentration.
  • Sow the pansy seeds at proper separation. I know it’s hard to sow these tiny seeds one by one. Yet you can mix them with sand and sprinkle them evenly on the soil surface. Try to maintain only 50-100 seeds in 2*2 feet areas. A pinch of pansy seed may double or triple up this count. So keep it low and well-spaced.
  • Thin out a few seedlings from the group to create empty space. Thining should be done at a regular 10-15 days interval. Take out unhealthy and leggy seedlings and leave others to grow until next time.
  • You can plant single seedlings even the leggy ones to their respective location. Just keep a minimum of the 8-inch distance between adjacent pansy plants. Support leggy seedlings gently with dry wood chips or stone. The seedling will become stronger with time and develop new roots along its neck. Although it may require little extra care until maturity.
  • Once the pansy plant is established in a location allow it to grow and thrive. Meanwhile, keep the area clean and remove any competing weeds or grass. Also, remove fallen leaves or any unnecessary shade.
  • Allow full sun for 4-6 hours in cool areas. 4 hours of sunlight with part shade in hotter zones should be sufficient for pansy plants.
  • If a mature pansy plant develops a leggy stem, especially during cloudy weather then pinch it off. Pinch the leggy stem to 1 inch of its base and let the plant thrive. The pansy plant will continue developing more branches to replace the previous one. Next time allow the full sun to avoid leggy growth in pansies.
  • Read How to Care for Gladiolus Plants?

Is It necessary to pinch back Pansies?

It is not necessary to pinch off pansies unless it becomes leggy. Leggy stem growth is not healthy for blooming. They usually drop off on the ground and attract a lot of pests. These long leggy stems are more susceptible to sapsuckers like aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs.

The delicate pansy plant may not survive a severe pest infestation. Therefore remove the leggy stem before it gets infected.

Pansy or viola plants may not require occasional pinching n healthy growth. They can develop multiple branches along with beautiful flowers. Although if you want to encourage it for branching then pinching is necessary. Manual pinching in pansies should be stopped at least 15 days before the average flowering season in your locality. Otherwise, the plant will spend its resources in branch development and it may not bloom properly.

In USDA zone 7 through 10 pansies are perennial in nature. Here you may pinch off the stems after the flowering season to stop seeding. This will encourage a second round of flowering. Although these flowers will be of smaller little inferior quality.

If the plants survive winter in your locality then do a gentle pinching in early spring. It will boost branching and seasonal flowering.

Overall pinching a pansy plant is not necessary unless you want to alter its natural growth pattern.

What do you say-Can You Pinch Back Leggy Pansies? Write down in comments.


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

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