Q: I am tired of buying flat after flat of pansies each fall, only to see them shrivel up and die each spring. Can I harvest the seeds of pansies that are flowering now so I can have “free” pansies each year?
A: It is theoretically possible to raise pansies from seed but I doubt you’ll be successful. The seeds themselves are tiny 25,000 to 28,000 seeds in an ounce. This makes them almost impossible to collect and difficult to plant evenly. You can try starting purchased seed indoors in mid August. Cover the seed-starting flat with a moist towel to keep seed dark. When seedlings emerge, transplant to small pots and keep them in a coolspot under bright lights. This last step is very tough to accomplish. Where can you keep seedlings in bright light at sixty degrees in August and September? It’s for this reason that millions of pansies are grown in the cooler parts of north Georgia each fall. You are welcome to experiment with seed but be prepared to buy professionally grown plants in October.