Pansy Planting TIme

A nice flat of pansies is an excellent candidate to purchase now.

This pot of pansies is mature and while it is beautiful now, it will look good but for a very short time.

Weekend rain and cool weather is my signal to plant pansies. It is easy to go out and just buy pansies, but there is a lot of difference in quality. Here is what I look for when I go to purchase plants or planted containers. Look for plants that are fresh, not with stretched stems, but with deep green leaves. I like to buy plants that are budded or with a few blooms. If there are spent blooms on the plant and stems with no flowers or buds, chances are they have been there a while. Next take one of the plants out of the pot or flat. If the roots are white, that is my favorite type to buy. If the ones you check are not like that, see if the plants seem root bound. At this time in the season I would avoid buying these plants. Remember there are many places you can buy these plants.
Once you get the purchased plants home, put them in their new home as soon as you can. If you are putting them into the ground, make sure you have worked the soil at least 6 inches deep and plant at the same level they came out of the pot or pack. Water the plants but do not mulch. Wait to mulch until after we have a killing frost. This will keep the plants from “stretching” and help them overwinter better. Fertilize once established with a liquid fertilizer every other week until night temperature are consistently in the high 30’s. In pots, make sure you are not planting in soil that is so old it is more like mush than potting soil. If that is the case change the pot to fresh soil. Follow the same recommended procedure for planting them in the ground. To encourage blooms pinch off spent blossoms, and you can enjoy flowers¬†during warm spells from now until spring.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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