Pansies are short-lived perennials typically used as annuals or biennials because of their short blooming period. They are viola hybrids with a complex ancestry that includes several species. Gardeners recommend that pansies be discarded when they fade and never planted in the same place for more than three consecutive years.
Pansies thrive in warm climates, as do most perennials. They are also hardy in colder climes, including the northern United States and southern Canada, and bloom beautifully in the spring. Pansies first surface in September in most North American nurseries. September is also the optimal time to plant. When shopping for pansies, look for compact, fresh looking plants; a lack of color is of less concern than drooping leaves, stalks or petals.