Pansies

Perfect Pansies are Easy with These Helpful Hints

IN THE GARDEN

Gardeners in warmer Zones have long known that pansies can be planted in fall and continue to grow and bloom all winter and into spring. What isn’t as well known is that pansies can overwinter as far north as Zone 4, making them hardy even in parts of the northern United States and southern Canada.

 

Plant pansies 6 to 8 inches apart.

Many gardeners chafe at the idea of splurging for flowers that may not last more than a month in the ground. However, if planted in fall, pansies can last up to eight months, from September to April or May, providing fall and spring color. That’s a pretty good deal.

Overwintering Pansies:

  • Plant as early as possible. ◦ The more established the plants are, the better they’ll be able to withstand cold, desiccating winter conditions. That means planting in September, if possible. The farther south you are, the wider your planting window, and October is also acceptable in Kansas.
  • Choose healthy plants. ◦ Healthy plants establish more quickly, rapidly growing the root system that’s so critical to winter hardiness.   Stutzmans researches and trials many varieties to get you the best genetics.
  • Ensure good drainage.
  • Pansies are susceptible to saturated soil. They have been known to overwinter successfully, only to succumb to excessive moisture as the winter’s snow and ice begin to melt. Be sure they’re growing in a well-drained location
  • Healthy pansies are compact, exhibit minimal leaf yellowing, and probably show fewer blooms while in the packs because they’re younger plants. Despite the lack of color at the time of purchase, these are the plants you want. When you find packs that look good, pop a few plants out and look at the roots. They should be white, not brown, and should be well developed throughout the soil plug.

Pansies are not difficult to grow. Good soil, steady moisture, and at least partial sun will provide the results you’re looking for.

What they don’t tolerate is heat and humidity, which is why they thrive in spring and fall.

Heat causes pansies to become leggy and lose most of their bloom.

Pansies are not difficult to grow. Good soil, steady moisture, and at least partial sun will provide the results you’re looking for.

What they don’t tolerate is heat and humidity, which is why they thrive in spring and fall.

Plant pansies 6 to 8 inches apart. They can be used as borders, or in larger masses, but don’t count on a solid ground cover. The plants are more clumping than spreading. Pansies respond well to regular deadheading. As often as possible, every couple of days if you can, pinch off faded blooms and any fruit (small green seed capsules) that may be forming. This will spur plants to continue blooming.

Fertility aids vigorous bloom. If you apply a mild fertilizer at fall planting and every four to five weeks in spring, it will ensure good nutrition for the pansies. Pests are not a major issue with pansies, but slugs and snails do count pansies amount their favorites, so control may be necessary from time to
time. Aphids can also crop up occasionally. Leaf diseases, particularly mildews, are fairly common, and the occasional plant will die from root or crown rot, so take care not to bury the stems or crowns. Healthy plants and good growing conditions (ample sun, fertile soil, air movement, and good drainage) will keep pest problems to a minimum.

Heat causes pansies to become leggy and lose most of their bloom. So when summer warmth begins to get the upper hand, go ahead and remove pansies to make way for your summer annuals.

 *article courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

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