What Temperature Will Kill Pansies (Advise for Gardeners)

Pansies are popular flowers that bring a delightful touch of color to gardens in cooler months. These hardy plants are known for their ability to tolerate cold weather, but like any other plant, they have their limits when it comes to temperature. To ensure the health and longevity of them in your garden, it’s really important to know the temperature thresholds at which they may be in danger.

In extremely cold situations, such as temperatures falling below 10 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours, pansies and their roots may struggle to absorb water from the frozen soil, increasing the risk of plant death source. This is particularly common in shady areas or places with northern exposure.

winter temperatures

Table of Contents

What Temperature Will Kill Pansies

The survival of pansies in freezing temperatures varies depending on factors such as the duration of the cold snap and their establishment in the garden. Generally, when temperatures dip below 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius), pansies may begin to wilt or even freeze source. However, if the cold period is short and the plants are well-established, they can recover and continue to produce blooms.

Understanding Pansies and Temperature

Pansies have a hardy nature, and their root systems become strong to resist harsh weather conditions.

However, it is crucial to note that pansies have their limits. When the temperature dips below 10 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period, pansies may start to struggle.

In such scenarios, the roots cannot absorb water from the frozen soil, and this can be especially problematic in shady areas and beds with northern exposure. Persistent frozen soil combined with drying winds can eventually kill the plants.

Air temperature is a critical factor in pansy survival, but soil temperature can also play a significant role. As air temperatures fall below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, pansies shift into defense mode, causing their green leaves to potentially wilt and take on a grayish hue. This change in appearance does not necessarily mean that the pansies are dying; it’s merely a natural response to below-freezing temperatures.

To help them through colder temperatures, it is important to provide them with proper care. Using well-draining soil is a key factor since pansies are not tolerant to cold, pooled water. Ensuring proper soil drainage and avoiding water pooling around the stem and roots can prevent plant damage during winter. Maintaining soil temperature between 45-65F is vital for them to thrive.

healthy plants 3

Climate Preferences of Pansies

Pansies are known for their ability to tolerate cold and cool temperatures, making them a popular choice for gardeners seeking a hardy plant that can survive cooler conditions. 

Pansies typically experience their best bloom when temperatures range between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, making them a unique choice for gardens in colder climates, as most other flowering plants require a minimum temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth.

To support pansies during the winter months and ensure their roots can endure cold temperatures, it’s important to plant them in soil that maintains a temperature between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Proper timing is essential as well; in zones 6 and 7a, the ideal planting time is at the end of September, while for zone 7b, planting healthy pansies should occur in early October, and in zone 8, pansies benefit from being planted at the end of October. 

Furthermore, pansies require extra fertilizer in the winter to promote healthy growth during this time.

Another factor to consider in maintaining pansies during cold, winter weather, is proper drainage in the soil. Cold water shouldn’t pool around your pansies either, as this can potentially harm the plants. 

To help preserve heat around the plants, a layer of mulch, such as pine straw, can be added which is very effective in holding warmth.

cool weather

Temperature Ranges: Optimal and Threatening

During the daytime, pansies flourish in temperatures ranging from the high 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit. At night, they prefer slightly cooler temperatures, with 40 degrees Fahrenheit considered ideal. These conditions allow them to grow and bloom properly.

When temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.6 degrees Celsius), they will begin to face struggle. 

The roots of the plants may struggle to absorb water from frozen soil, especially in shady areas and locations with northern exposure. Prolonged exposure to such extreme cold can lead to plant damage and even death.

Additionally, pansy cold tolerance is influenced by the soil temperature at the time of planting. It is recommended to plant winter pansies in soil ranging from 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (7-18 degrees Celsius). Planting them according to regional hardiness zones can also mitigate temperature-related stress.

warmer climates

Effects of Cold Temperature on Pansies

While pansies can survive in single-digit temperatures, their foliage tends to wilt and turn grey-green when the air temperature drops below 25°F (-4°C). This color change is a defense mechanism against freezing temperatures, and they will generally bounce back when warmer weather returns.

It is important to note, though, that the plant’s ability to produce vibrant flowers in the spring might be affected by extended periods of extremely cold weather.

Furthermore, pansies are known to tolerate low temperatures, down to 20°F (-6.6°C). This frost resistance can be attributed to their strong root systems, which allow them to withstand harsh conditions. 

However, it’s really important to ensure that they are planted in well-draining soil, as consistently damp and cold soil can lead to root rot and the eventual death of the plant.

In regions with particularly cold winters, certain cultivars of pansies have been specially developed for increased cold tolerance. These cultivars produce flowers that are more resilient, but care should still be taken to protect them from prolonged exposure to extreme cold.

frozen pansies

Recognizing Cold Damage in Pansies

When pansies are exposed to temperatures below their tolerance, some common signs of cold damage include wilting, blackened or discolored leaves, and limp stems. 

Frost damage may be more evident on the tender petals, which can become translucent, mushy, or withered. In some cases, they might recover from mild cold damage, but severe conditions will eventually kill them.

To better protect your pansies from the cold, make sure to plant them in well-draining soil, as these flowers are not tolerant to cold, pooled water. Like mentioned above, in the event of a sudden drop in temperature, consider adding a layer of mulch or pine straw to insulate the plants and help retain heat.

So summarise, keep a close eye on your pansies during cold weather to detect any signs of damage. If you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, take the necessary measures to protect your plants and help them recover from the cold. 

In doing so, your pansies can continue to thrive and display their beautiful colors throughout the winter months.

dead pansies

Preventive Measures against Cold Damage

By implementing a few preventive measures, you can help your pansies thrive and survive even the harshest winters.

Proper Selection of Pansies

Choose cold-tolerant cultivars that are well suited to your region, especially if you live in lower hardiness zones with extreme cold temperatures. Some pansies are specifically bred for increased cold tolerance, increasing their chances of surviving through winter.

Appropriate Planting Time

Planting pansies at the right time is crucial. In colder climates, it’s best to plant pansies in early spring or late summer. This gives the plants enough time to establish a strong root system before winter arrives and ensures they can better withstand lower temperatures.


When the temperature is expected to fall below 25°F, adding a layer of mulch around the base of pansies can help protect them against frost damage. Pine straw can be an effective choice, as it helps insulate the plants and trap heat. Simply pile on a couple of inches of pine straw around the pansies, and remove it once the cold weather has passed.

Providing Cover

If your area is expected to experience an extreme cold snap, consider covering your pansies with a frost-protective cloth. This barrier will provide some insulation and help to protect the flowers from freezing temperatures. Be sure to remove the cover once the threat of severe cold has passed.


Pansies require adequate moisture to survive and thrive, even during cold months. Ensure the soil around your pansies remains moist, but not waterlogged, throughout the winter. Proper watering can help prevent your pansies from suffering cold-related stress and make them less susceptible to frost damage.

By following these preventive measures, you can help your pansies withstand lower temperatures and continue to add color and beauty to your garden throughout the cold winter weather.

pine straw

Reviving Damaged Pansies

To revive damaged pansies, follow these steps:

  1. Check the soil moisture: Overwatering or underwatering can lead to wilting pansies. Ensure that the soil is moist but not soggy. Water your pansies when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch.

  2. Move your pansies to a suitable location: Pansies prefer cooler temperatures and may droop when exposed to direct sunlight and high heat. They perform their best in partial shade. If your pansies are in direct sunlight, consider moving them to a shadier spot or providing some form of shade cover.

  3. Protect from frost: While pansies can tolerate some cold and freezing temperatures, frost can damage or kill them if left unprotected. When temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, cover the pansies with a frost cloth or use other methods to insulate them from the cold.

  4. Prune damaged parts: Remove any dead or damaged leaves and flowers to promote new growth. This helps your pansy plant allocate its resources towards healthy growth and encourages blooms.

  5. Fertilize: Giving your pansies a boost of nutrients can help them recover from damage. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to provide essential nutrients that support the growth and flowering of pansies. Always follow the product’s instructions for proper application rates.

frozen soil


Pansies are hardy plants that can tolerate cold temperatures, but their survival depends on several factors, including soil moisture, temperature, and duration of cold snaps. Pansies can begin to wilt or freeze when temperatures dip below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and prolonged exposure to extreme cold can lead to plant damage and death.

 To help your pansies survive the winter months, it’s important to choose cold-tolerant cultivars, plant them at the appropriate time, provide proper soil drainage, mulch around the base, and cover them during extreme cold snaps. If your pansies suffer damage, you can revive them by checking soil moisture, moving them to a suitable location, protecting them from frost, pruning damaged parts, and fertilizing them.

Share your love
Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

I hope you enjoy reading some of the content and ideas from this site, I tend to share articles and product reviews on a daily basis, so be rest assured… you won’t run out of things to read!

Articles: 345