Why Are My Pansy Seeds Not Germinating? (Possible Problems+Solution)

Pansies are stunning garden flowers that are typically grown as annuals, although they are considered perennials. Pansies bloom best in cooler weather, and therefore usually planted in spring or fall. But are your pansies not germinating from the seeds? Let’s find out why.

Wrong soil temperature, overwatering of the seeds, or planting the seeds too deep can be the reason behind your pansy seeds not germinating. Pansy seeds need stratification before we sow them because it helps replicate the natural conditions, which helps them break their dormant stage.

If your seeds don’t germinate, you can take simple steps like misting your soil instead of pouring water, controlling pests, sowing seeds at the proper depth, and many more.

This article will discuss why your pansy seeds are not growing and what we can do to make them grow.

Pansy seed

Causes behind your pansy seeds not growing

Here are the reasons why your pansy seeds are not growing. They are:

  • Inappropriate temperature for seeds
  • Improper watering
  • Insufficient oxygen
  • Damping-off diseases
  • Seeds are planted too deep
  • Critters are eating seeds.
  • Seeds were stored incorrectly
  • The seeds are too old

Inappropriate temperature for seeds

Temperature can affect the germination of the pansy seeds.

Pansy seeds will generally germinate within a specific temperature range.

If the pansy seeds are not grown with the correct temperature range, the germination rate will get reduced.

If the pansy seeds are exposed to high temperatures, there will be an increase in the evaporation rate which will reduce the humidity and delay or affect the germination process.

Pansy seeds are primarily grown in cooler temperatures, so they do not face much problem when the temperature is low.

The main problem arises for pansy seeds when the temperature is high.

Solution for high temperature

  • If you try to germinate seeds in a warmer climate, don’t forget to provide shade to decrease the temperature.
  • Mulch the soil to reduce evaporation.
  • Water well to ensure that the water requirements are met, and correct soil and air temperatures are maintained.

Solution for low temperature

  • As pansy performs best in cooler climates, it should be sown when the temperature ranges between 45°F and 65°F (7°C and 18°C).
  • You should start sowing pansy seeds indoors before transplanting them to their final growing spot once the weather warms up.
  • Avoid overwatering during the cooler climate.

Also read:

Improper watering in soil

Water is essential for the germination of pansy seeds. It helps in providing the necessary hydration for softening the seed coats and increasing the seed permeability.

The poor or additional supply of water affects the seed germination.


Overwatering is one of the leading causes of poor germination.

Pansy seeds need water, but they don’t like to have it in a large amount.

Watering excessively can cause waterlogging and compaction.

When you water your seedlings too frequently, you allow diseases to grow in the soil, which can rot pansy seeds.

Due to excess water, the air pockets in the soil get filled, and the seedlings do not get enough oxygen to breathe, which doesn’t let them sprout.

  • You should improve the drainage system by elevating the soil and using raised beds to keep the moisture moderate.
  • To ensure that you don’t overwater your pansy seeds, add water only if the soil begins to dry out.
  • You should check the soil’s moisture level before watering by placing your fingertip 2 inches deep under the soil.
  • Bottom watering will also help you avoid adding too much water to your seedlings.
  • You can also transplant the seedlings into new containers with new soil if the condition turns worse.


Too little water can also cause poor germination of seeds. If the soil is dried, then the pansy seeds will not be able to grow.

As the seeds mature, they dry out. To germinate correctly, these mature seeds need to take in a lot of water. They need to absorb a sufficient amount of water for regulating the metabolic processes and for growing successfully.

When seeds absorb water, hydrolytic enzymes in seeds begin turning stored food resources into chemicals necessary for germination.

So without adequate water, seeds will not be able to use their stored energy, and the growth will not occur.

  • Try to avoid excess heat as it can significantly increase evaporation from the soil.
  • Check the soil every few days to monitor whether your pansy seeds need water.
  • You can use a spray bottle to help keep things moist but prevent getting the soil overly wet.

Also read: How Much Water Does A Pansy Need? (Pansy Water Requirements)

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Seeds are not getting enough oxygen

Pansy seedling

Seeds need oxygen so that they can produce energy for germination and growth. Oxygen is interlinked with water requirements. Both under-watering and overwatering could cause seeds not to get enough oxygen for germination.

The coating of seeds needs to be broken down before they can absorb water and oxygen from the environment.

Due to watering, the coating of pansy seeds will not break. And overwatering can cause waterlogging and compaction in the soil. Compactions make it more difficult for oxygen to get through.

Planting your seeds too deeply into the soil is the reason your seeds are not getting enough oxygen.


  • Check whether your seeds need water or not. Make sure the soil is moist and not soggy.
  • Pansy seeds need to be sown 5mm (1/4th) deep. Planting seeds deeper than required can cause problems in their growth and survival.
  • Choose a suitable medium of soil with good drainage capacity.

Also read: What Type Of Soil Is Best For Growing Pansies? (+Best Soil Mix)

Damping-off disease

At times, you sow seeds generously, but they still die. The reason behind this is damping off. Damping-off is a problem that can affect most seeds.

This is a situation when, despite all things in place, the seeds fail to sprout.

Damping-off is caused by several different pathogens that thrive on too-wet conditions of the soil.

Pathogens are disease-causing organisms, often present in the soil. These organisms can wreck the pansy seeds. 

The soil-borne fungi and fungus-like organisms kill the seeds before they germinate, affecting the growth of pansy seeds.


  • You can solve this problem by creating means of good air circulation.
  • Mycostop is a friendly fungicide that can also be used as a seed treatment to prevent seed or soil-borne diseases.
  • Sow pansy seeds with enough gaps in between to prevent overcrowding, which can lead to humid, moist conditions.
  • Avoid overwatering during this situation.
  • Try to provide enough light to the pansy seeds to deal with the problem of damping off.

The pansy seeds are sowed too deep

Seed sowing depth is significant for seed germination. If the depth is incorrect, pansy seeds may not get the warmth, moisture, light, and air needed for germination.

You must not sow the pansy seeds too deep and instead keep them at a higher level so that they can get enough light and start photosynthesis.

If you have sowed your pansy seeds too deep, they will fail to begin photosynthesis fast due to lack of light.


  • Pansy seeds should be sown 5mm (1/4th inch) deep and not more than that.
  • You can remove some soil from the surface to reduce the depth.

Critters are the problem

Thrips 2
Thrips Identification

Sometimes, you might notice that temperature, water, oxygen, and damping-off are not the only major problems, but something more.

The primary reason for failed germination is that the seeds get eaten by critters. If the critters such as mice or squirrels or even birds notice the seeds, they will eat those, leading to failed germination.


  • Check whether the seed is still in the soil or not.
  • Try to protect your seeds with a cloth, row, cover, or mesh.

Also read: How To Get Rid Of Pests On Pansies? (Bugs Identification+Solution)

Seeds were stored incorrectly

Another reason why your pansy seeds are not growing is that they are not viable anymore.

Pansy seeds can lose their viability if they are not stored correctly. If the pansy seeds are stored at a high temperature, this problem can occur.

Unfortunately, in this case, the pansy seeds will not germinate at all. Pansy seeds may have been damaged enough, and they can no longer mature into healthy plants.


Replace your damaged pansy seeds with viable ones.

Also read: How Long Do Pansy Seeds Last? (+How To Store Them Right)

The seeds are too old

There can be one more reason behind your pansy seeds not growing.

Maybe the seeds you are trying to grow are too old. Seeds are only viable for a certain period.

If the pansy seeds are stored in a warm place, they will lose their viability within a year, leading to the poor growth of seeds.


Replace the pansy seeds with the new ones after checking the date on the seeds packet.

Also read: When Should Pansy Seeds Be Planted? (+Tips To Plant)

How can we grow pansy seeds the right way?

Pansy seed in plant

To grow pansies from seeds in the right way, you must follow the given steps:

  • You should start planting pansies indoor for 10-12 weeks before planting outdoor.
  • At first, you need to take a starter pot or tray and fill it with a soil-less starting mix.
  • When it is filled, water it thoroughly to moisten the seed starting mix. Add more potting mix when it settles down after watering.
  • Make sure to water it enough as there should be no dry air pockets left in the mixture.
  • Even though pansy seeds are tiny, sow the seeds around 5mm deep and cover them with a layer of potting mix.
  • After sowing the seeds, cover the tray or pots with a sheet of newspaper or cardboard to limit the light to the seeds as the seeds prefer darkness to germinate.
  • Water gently and keep them moist through the germination period (3-4 weeks). 
  • At temperatures between 65-75°F, pansy seeds will germinate in 10 to 20 days.
  • As soon as the first seeds start to germinate, remove the newspaper or cardboard.
  • When the seedlings start growing, choose a spot in the garden that receives full sun to partial sun and prepare the planting area for seedlings.
  • Let the seedlings grow to at least 5-7 cm before transplanting.
  • While transplanting them into your garden bed, make sure your seedlings are well spaced – at least 20-30 cm apart and water them well.
  • Mulch your seedlings with organic mulch to keep the soil moist for a longer time.
  • Water the seedlings thoroughly since mature pansies require 1 inch of water per week. Make sure you don’t overwater them.

Also read: Do Pansy Seeds Need Stratification? (+How To)

Final words

Pansy seeds need specific conditions to germinate. Temperature and moisture can be challenging to control beneath the soil and are easily affected by weather, human error, and other factors.

Maintain the soil temperature and moisture level for the growth of pansy seeds. Pansy seeds should be sown when the temperature ranges between 45-65°F. 

Pansy seeds should be provided with enough oxygen for proper growth of seeds.

You must avoid overwatering as diseases can occur caused by pathogens that thrive in wet conditions.

Don’t sow your pansy seeds too deeply as they may not get warmth, moisture, light, and air. 

Sometimes, critters eat all your seeds because of which germination does not occur.

If all the factors are correct, then the problem is in seeds. It happens when the seeds are stored incorrectly, or the seeds are too old. Maybe the seeds are not viable enough for germination.

Ref: The University of Arkansas, BritannicaUtah State UniversityWikipediaThe University of GeorgiaThe Pennsylvania State UniversityThe Royal Horticultural Society.


Hello everyone, My name is Richa and I am here to make you a better gardener by creating an in-depth and helpful resource for all the fellow gardeners out there. If I could help even a few people understand their plants better then I call it a success for my efforts.

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