Pansies are excellent plants to incorporate into your landscape to add color and beauty during the winter months. There are more than 300 cultivars of pansies available in an array of colors.
The planting time is critical, between Oct. 15 and Nov. 1. Pansies that are planted too early and exposed to heat will often appear yellow, and the stems will stretch. Early planted pansies generally flower poorly and become more susceptible to diseases.
Pansies need well-drained soil
Since pansies cannot tolerate excessively wet soil, they should be planted in well-drained soil. If drainage is a problem, plant pansies on an elevated bed. This method improves drainage and increases the visibility of the flower color.
Pansies prefer a soil pH in the range of 5.4 to 5.8. If a soil test has not been taken within the last two years for the area where the pansies will be planted, get a soil sample to determine the pH and available nutrients. Do not apply lime to pansies unless the soil test recommends it.
Pansy plants are usually planted at six-, eight- or ten-inch spacing between plants. The six-inch spacing results in a fuller appearing bed, but may become crowded and more susceptible to insect and disease problems. Once the pansies have been planted and watered, place mulch such as pine straw or pine bark nuggets to the soil surface. Be careful when applying the mulch around the plants so you do not damage the plants or cover the foliage.
Dead head plant often
Remove spent blossoms from the plants throughout the growing season. This practice will encourage branching and improve flowering. Deadheading not only prevents insect and disease problems, but improves the visibility of the flowers.
Plant some pansies this fall if you want to add color to your landscape during the winter and early spring. You will benefit from the colorful display throughout the winter with just a little bit of work.
(William Tyson is the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension coordinator for Effingham County.)
Whether you want to plant red flowers for your favorite sports team or yellow flowers because that's your favorite color, there is sure to be a pansy variety to fit the bill. When planted in the appropriate timing window and in proper soil, pansies will bloom throughout the winter.Download Image