How to be the best pansy grower in your neighborhood.
Pansies are not hard to grow,
but everyone can use a few handy hints.
Pansies smile best in a sunny spot. At least half a day of sun. Pansies go into the flower bed, into a pretty pot and new variety pansies even love baskets. You don't have to worry about cold weather—they love it.
They need good soil, not heavy clay. Ask us about soil amendments.
A happy pansy is a well fed pansy, use any all purpose fertilizer or Weidner's Good Stuff (that what the pansies grow up on.)
Rabbits love pansies too. Keep them away with Rabbit Scram. So do the snails and slugs. Keep them away with non poisonous Sluggo.
Two bouquets a week brings the Sunshine in! You
cannot out-pick a pansy. Use the 4+1 method. Cut or pick 4 pansy stems
without leaves. This is just the flower with the stem attached.
Then go down deeper and pick a pansy branch. Flower , stem and some leaves attached. Keep repeating that
formula until you have enough, This keeps your pansy
plant full and helps it to branch well..
If you don't pick your pansy flowers you will need to dead head the stems with seeds and this is not particularly fun.
Extend your pansy season into summer. Cutback, Feed,
Why do pansies respond to being picked?. When a flower dies and a seed forms the plant begins to feel that she has done her job by making seeds for more plants. After all as far as the plant and Mother Nature are concerned that is the ONLY reason for being here. Procreation! When the breeders work with plants to make them as sterile as possible this is like plant birth control. The plants will bloom longer and with more flowers in an effort to keep trying to make seeds(babies). You can help your pansy by picking the flowers so that they don't go to seed. If you can't pick them fast enough then you need to do some 'dead heading'. That is the common term for picking off the stems that already have started to form seeds.
A happy pansy is a well fed pansy. For best results keep your pansy well fed. Fertilizer is fertilizer is fertilizer....The important thing is to use some. The most important part of any fertilizer are the muscles in your arms that take the feed off the shelf and use it.
You can use a natural organic fertilizer like one of the EB Stone Flower fertilizers. You can use Weidner's Good stuff liquid fertilizer every two weeks, If you are really busy then do one of the Slow Release pellets like Osmocote. Organic fertilizer works more slowly but encourages all sorts of good microbes in the soil, A liquid like Weidners has two kinds of nitrogen, one for slow steady growth and one for that quicker growth. Timed release pellets dissolve a little each time you water. The plant's roots must make any fertilizer into the base chemicals in order to use it.
Pansies like good soil.
Before you start to plant look at the soil first. Pansies like a really rich well drained soil. This is where your good organic soil amendments are useful. If you compost get that compost mixed in before you plant..
Learn More....How do you know if your soil is good
Take your spade and dig up one or two spade-full’s of soil. If you had to work like crazy to dig up those two 'spade-full’s' your soil is either too hard and heavy or full of roots from nearby trees. If this is the case you need to add more hummus in the form of soil amendments or decide to grow in planters above ground. Don't expect your pansies to work for you in an unfriendly environment! Adding organic matter like your own compost or peat moss will help..Top it off with some Worm castings like worm gold.You don't have to use a lot but it adds some great biological’s and you should get worms too!When your soil is ready it should be loose and easy to work with. Take a small handful of damp soil. Make it into a ball about the size of a golf ball. If your golf ball Tap it hard with your fingers. If the ball sits there like a lump your soil is still too heavy. If you cannot even make it into a ball, then your soil is too sandy and loose. add more hummus!, If your ball breaks apart into several nice pieces you are just right. Go ahead and plant.
Now you are ready to choose your pansies.
If you come to Weidners and dig your own from the field, your plants will be big, in full bloom and ready to keep on blooming all winter. These plants will keep right on growing bigger and bigger. Don't crowd your plants.If you buy your pansies in a six pack or in 4" pots Here are some tips. Any time you are buying bedding plants try to buy plants that are smaller rather than too big. As soon as a small plants' roots begin to be squeezed by the sides of the pot their growth is checked or temporarily stopped. When you buy a field grown pansy those roots never hit that brick wall of the pot. When you take them home and plant them...if.....you have done your part to make the soil soft and yummy then the roots just keep on going.
Don't plant your pansies too deep. Plants almost never like that. Those nasty fungal soil diseases are always lurking around the corner waiting for an opportune moment to strike. Poor drainage, planting too deep, planting too close together, any or all of these can cause botrytis or other unmentionable bad diseases to make your plants die. At the end of this page we'll give you some more information on the most common problems you may have.
After you plant your pansies water them in
well. Wait a few days before you
start to feed. Fertilizing a plant just when you transplant it is a very common
We all want everything to grow immediately....what makes plants grow? Fertilizer....so you give it a good strong dose of MiracleGro or Weidners Good Stuff. The next day your plants are all wilting and going bye bye. The fertilizer burned those new tender roots. Always wait a week or so to allow the roots to settle in and heal. Then you can start to feed.
Use any little vases you have to put pansy bouquets in the kitchen, the bath, where ever. Bring some to the office, little bouquets make great subtle bribes. Not that you would stoop so low!!!
If your pansies get a little leggy later on in the season, just cut them back, give them some fertilizer again and they'll come right out!
When it gets hot in the summer your pansies should come out and put in some spring/summer blooming plants to replace them.
So what can go wrong?
Uneven or forgetting to water.
I think more problems come from poor watering than anything else. Every time a plant gets dried out to the point of really wilting you put that plant into stress. Too many episodes of stress and plants have nervous breakdowns...just like people. You can't make up for not watering when needed by giving extra water later. It doesn't work that way.
If watering is one of your problems, spend the money...get a good automatic water system put in. You'll more than save the cost in less loss and more time for yourself.
Slugs, snails, sow bugs, whiteflies aphids and other critters.
Put out your snail bait right away when you plant. Sluggo is the non-poisonous one. Good air circulation helps deter whiteflies. Some areas have Wire Worms, Cut worms, or other grubs in the soil. Beneficial nematodes will take care of them without harming anything else. Ground Squirrels and Rabbits all like pansy salad
For Rabbits we recommend a product called Rabbit Scram. It is totally non-toxic and seems to work better than anything else. Not cheap but certainly cheaper than feeding the Rabbits. There is nothing easy for ground squirrels that will not kill them. Ground Squirrels are not regular squirrels they can carry any number of bad diseases. They destabilize our coastal banks.
Whiteflies and aphids. there are a number of organic and other sprays that you can use. Think about going on line to a company like rincon vitova and ordering some Lace wings. These are really an amazing natural and pretty beneficial insect. the larvae stage will eat most of those peskey insects like whiteflies and aphids. Ladybugs are cute and go after Aphids but the Lacewings are more efficient. Live with a Home owner association? Suggest the Association buys a larger container of adult Lacewings and let them loose in your whole area. Especially where you have aphids or whiteflies. There are other special beneficials that only go after whiteflies. Lacewings and their ugly hungry young larvae stage are the best all around beneficials. Here is a link to the Rincon Vitova web site. http://www.rinconvitova.com/aphid%20control.htm
Botrytis is a fairly common problem in all bedding plants and a little description of the symptoms might help.
Botrytis usually shows itself by brown areas on the stem right at the base of the plant. The botrytis is attacking the cell tissues and destroying them. On woody plants the stems can often survive and get along, but on little plants like pansies, begonias, petunias, or small seedlings, the rot goes right on through and your little plant just topples over and dies. We used to call this 'damping off'. The best cure is prevention. Keep the air circulation going by giving space, don't plant deeper than the plant is used to and provide good drainage. A good fungicide can be used if necessary but you probably won't have a problem.
Hint: If you often loose young bedding plants soon after you plant them you may have any of those other soil diseases just sitting in the soil waiting to strike. Best plan is to switch to another area of the garden for awhile.
Well, have We told you enough? I try to write so that the most beginning gardener will understand and be helped. . I write like a talk.
Let me know by e-mail if you like this lesson and want more. our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.