How To Keep Pansies From Getting Leggy (5 Methods)

Pansies are some of the most gorgeous flowers you can grow. They’re compact, they come in a variety of colors, and they’re extremely easy to care for! However, unfortunately, sometimes pansies get a little leggy.

Here’s how to keep pansies from getting leggy:

  1. Plant them during the right season. 
  2. Give them some shade.
  3. Check your watering habits.
  4. Adjust pH or nutrients.
  5. Check for pests.

In the rest of this article, we’ll discuss five strategies to help your pansies avoid becoming leggy. Let’s get started!

Why Are My Pansies Leggy?

Pansies are stunning plants and an excellent addition to any garden. However, they can get leggy if they aren’t cared for properly or if you grow them during the wrong season. Additionally, pansies get leggy when they grow too tall, which means the stem has grown faster than the roots. 

Your pansies might be leggy because they’re getting too hot, are being over or underwatered, the pH level is off, or you have pests. It’s common for pansies to get leggy in the summer because they are typically cool-weather flowers. Pansies bloom best in the Spring and Winter.

Becoming leggy is never a good sign, even if you don’t mind the aesthetic. The phenomenon makes the plants more prone to falling over and getting damaged. 

It’s important to plant your pansies during the right season, make sure they have proper shade during the hotter days of the year, check their temperature, adjust watering, pH, and nutrients, and check for pests. 

1. Plant Them During the Right Season

Pansies are cool-season annuals that grow best when planted in spring or fall. If you plant them outside during an unusually warm summer day, they may struggle to survive because their roots can’t get enough water fast enough in such hot conditions. So plant yours at the right time, and water them regularly during hot spells!

Understandably, this might feel like a constraining tip. I added it so that you know legginess isn’t your fault if you’re trying to extend the life of your pansies past the spring. Your pansies will likely get leggy by pure nature in the fall or winter. You can alleviate some of this in the summer by trying the following steps. You can also learn more about handling your pansies in the summer by reading my other article: 4 Things To Do With Pansies in the Summer

2. Give Them Some Shade

Pansies love the sun but hate heat—they need partial shade to thrive. If you’re growing them in full sun, try planting them under trees or shrubs so that they get some protection from direct sunlight while still getting enough light to grow properly.

If your garden is too hot, getting shades or a small greenhouse may help cool them down. You could also plan your pansy garden for the shadiest, coolest spot in your yard. 

3. Check Your Watering Habits

Checking your watering habits when you are planting pansies is crucial to keeping them looking healthy and luscious. Pansies need to be watered regularly—but not too much!

When watering pansies, it’s important to use a water bottle or hose with a fine nozzle that will let out a gentle stream of water onto the soil around the plant instead of dumping water directly on top of its leaves. This will help prevent overwatering, which can cause root rot and lead to legginess (and even death). 

Moreover, ensure that you aren’t using too much water at once—pansies only need about 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) of water per week, so check how much water is coming out before turning off the faucet! When watering your pansies, remember that:

  • Pansies prefer a dry environment. They do not like to be watered daily, so watering should be done sparingly and only when the soil begins to feel dry about an inch (2.54 cm) below the surface.
  • You should also avoid watering the leaves directly. This can cause leaf burn and other problems.
  • If you’re unsure whether or not your pansy needs water, stick your finger into the soil. If it feels damp but not wet, then it’s time for another drink!
  • Check the soil every day or two to ensure it hasn’t dried out too much or gotten too wet if you live in a rainier climate. Adding mulch can help absorb excess water. Skip watering if need be. 
  • Water your pansies early or late in the evening. That way, they have time to dry out before nightfall, or else they may develop mold issues.

By utilizing these better watering habits, your pansies hopefully won’t get as leggy if hydration is the issue.

4. Adjust pH or Nutrients

“pH” stands for “potential hydrogen.” It’s a measure of how acidic or basic your soil is. A pH of 7 is neutral; anything below 7 is acidic, and anything above 7 is considered basic (or alkaline). Soil with a pH of 6.5 or less is considered very acidic, which can be a problem for pansies. Pansies preferred pH is 5.4 to 5.8 on the scale. 

pH affects what nutrients are available to your plants. Even if your garden has all of the nitrogen in the world–an essential nutrient for plant growth–it won’t matter if your soil pH is off. The nutrients that support plant strength, the vibrant colors, and many other vital elements will be unavailable to your plants. 

A low or high pH may cause legginess in your plants because it affects their overall growth ability by changing the number of nutrients available and affecting their ability to absorb those nutrients from the soil. If a plant has a low pH (acidic soil), its roots will have trouble absorbing nutrients such as iron (which helps plants produce chlorophyll). 

To support your plant pH, I’d highly suggest checking the pH of your soil often. You can increase or decrease pH by using liming techniques or adding mulch. Compost is also a terrific supporter of plant pH.

5. Check for Pests

If your pansies appear leggy with very long stems, the issue may be the result of: 

  • Aphids
  • Leaf miners
  • Leaf spot
  • Mites or slugs
  • Snails

Removing these pests is easy by using an insecticidal soap spray or neem oil to kill them off.

As mentioned above, your problems will most likely have something to do with your pansies’ needs or the season you’re planting them in. You should still be cautious about insects, though. Sometimes pests will take important nutrients from your soil, making it harder for your plants to grow. Pansies are so fragile on their own, so an infestation isn’t ideal. 


Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on your plants. They can be found on the underside of leaves and multiply quickly. Aphids cause yellowing and curling of leaves because they suck out the plant’s juices. If you notice your pansies have aphids, remove them by hand or by spraying them with a hose. Just remember to use the misting setting, because your pansies might be damaged by too tough of a stream. 

You could also put something sweet, like a honeydew or watermelon, nearby to attract them. This also works well with slugs and caterpillars! 

Leaf Miners

Leaf miners are little white worms that eat the leaves of your pansy plant. They aren’t harmful to humans, but they can cause a lot of damage to your plants if left unchecked.

To help prevent leaf miner infestations, ensure the soil around your pansies is well-drained and not too wet or dry. If you notice any pest damage, try using an all-purpose insecticide or a diluted soap and water solution on the affected areas. Neem oil also works wonders on leaf miners. 

Leaf Spot

Pansies are fragile! A fungal disease causes leaf spots. Symptoms of leaf spots include brown spots on leaves that are smaller and saggier than normal and the leaf tips turning yellow or brown. To prevent leaf spots from taking hold, ensure you water your pansies’ soil (not their leaves), especially if you live in a rainy area. 


Mites are tiny insects that can be yellow or red, usually found on the underside of your pansies’ leaves. They’re not an issue for most gardeners, but if you notice their presence, it’s best to take steps to control them. An all-purpose insecticide should work wonders when it comes to dealing with mites.

Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails are pests that feed on pansies. They can cause damage to the leaves and stems of these plants, as well as to the roots.

The best way to protect against this issue is by using a copper barrier around your garden bed. Copper barriers work because slugs and snails don’t like copper, so they won’t cross over it into your garden bed where tasty blooms are just waiting for them! 

Key Takeaways

Pansies can get leggy because of a few possible factors, including not using the right fertilizer or watering too much. However, if you keep these considerations in mind when growing your pansies, you should be able to avoid this issue altogether!

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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