Can Pansies Survive Frost and Overwinter in the Garden?

Updated: May 11, 2023

Pansies can handle light frost and offer multiple seasons of colorful blooms. Learn how to overwinter pansies and enjoy flowers in fall and spring.

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If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking to extend the seasons of color in your garden. This year, instead of planting twice — mums for fall color and bulbs for early spring blooms — plant pansies once for two to three seasons of color! Advancements in the garden industry have created new varieties of spreading and trailing pansies that are even more tolerant of cold temperatures and frost. So northern gardeners, up to USDA Hardiness Zone 5, can overwinter pansies for a burst of color again in the spring.

Can Pansies Survive Frost?

In fact, these hardy annual varieties are able to withstand light frost. When planted in fall, these pansies will return in spring along with colorful bulbs, and for some gardeners in the South, pansies can bloom throughout mild winter months!

Here’s how to overwinter begonias as houseplants.

Cool Wave Pansies

Pansy Cool Wave White BloomBall Horticultural Company
Pansy Cool Wave white

Zones 5 to 9

Beautify the growing season with cool-season pansies. With delightful color and a spreading and trailing growth habit, they’re perfect for spring and autumn containers. One of the first plants you see in spring, it’s among the surest signs that winter is on its way out.

Why we love it: These colorful pansies bloom for a long time. That’s just one of the benefits of the Cool Wave brand.

pansy flowersCourtesy Virginia Raymond

If you’re interested in digging in and planting pansies this season, here’s a simple list of Do’s and Don’ts for overwintering.

  • Do — Plant pansies in a location with full sun during the fall, winter and spring. Pansies can be planted in containers and hanging baskets, but be sure to transplant into the ground for overwintering.
  • Don’t — Worry about protecting pansies with straw or branches when temperatures start to drop. Pansies are resilient, and will withstand frost and will still overwinter if left uncovered for the winter.
  • Do — Check to make sure where your home falls within the USDA Hardiness Zone. These new pansies won’t overwinter north of Zone 5. You can find out your location here.
  • Do — Enjoy your pansies until the heat strikes, usually into mid-May in the South and into June in the North.

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