Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
Pansies are a cool weather favorite and the perfect plant for fall and winter. They can bloom as late as April, surviving the harshest winters. They are perennials but most gardeners replant each year. So far there hasn’t been any luck in developing a pansy that will survive very hot summers.
They come in many colors. You can choose to use just one color or a mix of several or many colors. They look pretty as borders or when planted in a big grouping. The colors can be alternated or used in a design scheme. Pansy seeds are slow to germinate so it is best to buy an already established one from a nursery.
When purchasing look for compact healthy blooms. Don’t buy plants they are root bound or have yellowing leaves.
· Plant in well drained soil in full to partial sun. The ideal site will have morning sun and little late afternoon sun. They grow best when soil temperature is between 45 and 75 degrees.
· The hole should be dug the same depth as the container and spaced about 8” apart. Don’t plant too close together since they will be healthier with more air circulation.
· Remove the plant from the container. I usually rip off the bottom ½” of layered roots to stimulate new growth.
· Place it level with the soil being careful not to bury stems. Doing so will make them susceptible to rot.
· Water at thoroughly at soil level. Don’t get the bloom wet.
· Mulch around plants being careful not to break the stems.
· Fertilize every four weeks in the spring. Doing so will encourage vigorous blooming.
· Remember to water regularly. Lack of water is usually the reason for pansies dying.
· Remove blooms as they die off to encourage new blooms.
You will probably find that when the weather turns warm in the spring the plants will become too leggy and will need to be removed.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information.