The month of January has played havoc with many plants. Pansies, well planted and mulched seen to do fine even though many have no blooms and weakened foliage right now. The few I have planted survived well, even the ones in large pots. If yours look rough and need a little TLC, I suggest that you do the following:
- Water the plants before and after every hard freeze.
- After the hard freezes, and a warm spell follows, I suggest a light fertilization of liquid fertilizer at half the recommended rate.
- Also make sure you pinch off all the remaining dead flowers and check the mulch around the plants, so that the leaves get plenty of sun but the mulch is snug around the base of the plant.
James Horton, who is director at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens has an excellent program of growing pansies. Last week I checked some of their plantings at the gardens, and it is amazing how little noticeable damage the Garden’s plants have. While his program is complex, the light fertilization program is one thing they do during winter.
This week they are applying a fungicide to all their plants, but that is just too complex for my few plants. If I had a large plant, I might consider a soil drench fungicide. I seem to manage without it and still have beautiful spring plants, but not as beautiful as those in the Gardens.