Darrell Blackwelder: Pansies: bright and bold all winter long
It’s time to yank out summer annuals and extend color with mass plantings of pansies.
Pansies paint the landscape and containers with bright and bold color from now until May. Pansies also adapt well to containers, adding color to decks, patios and window boxes. These can also be inter-planted with spring flowering bulbs.
Pansies should be spaced seven to ten inches apart in mass plantings; however, you can put two or more plants per space and spread them further apart if you wish.
Carefully remove plants from cell packs, leaving roots and soil intact. Water plants with a high phosphate house plant fertilizer immediately after planting. Pansies will need to be fertilized again in warmer weather in February and March.
Pansy plants are shallow rooted, requiring ample water during the growing season with supplemental irrigation during dry winter periods. Finely ground bark or mini-nuggets are excellent mulching materials that help conserve water and reduce weed pressure.
Pansy plants can withstand freezing weather, however constant freezing and thawing may heave plants out of the soil causing the roots to dry out and die. Periodically check plants during inconsistent weather.
Pansy plants may need to be pinched at least once to promote branching. Blossoms should be periodically pinched to promote continuous bloom throughout the growing season.
Darrell Blackwelder email@example.com is the retired horticulture agent and director with the NC Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.