In Texas we have a winter flower tradition; we plant pansies and lots of them. In almost all parts of the state they are a winter staple providing color from October until April. They are available in many different shades from strong primary colors to delicate pastels. They are great in flower beds or pots to give your home some winter color. For guaranteed success use all organic, natural products.
Select good plants that are not too tall or leggy. The root systems should fill the pot and avoid buying top heavy plants. Showing off color is not important, just invest in good solid plants.
Prepare the bed area with soft, well drained soil before planting. Use Expanded Shale or Compost and Shale to condition the soil if it is too tight. Mix in 1 lb. of to each 10 square feet of soil. Pansies grow best with a soil pH of 5.6 to 6.0.
Pansies show better when they are grouped rather than strung out in rows. Plant them on eight inch centers and remember that pansies do not grow very tall. If you need more height mound the bed with extra organic potting soil mix.
Make sure to firm them down in the soil by gently pressing around the bottom of the plant to make sure they are well seated. Then pick off all the buds and blooms that are showing to encourage better rooting and help lessen transplant stress.
Broadcast 1 lb. of Blood Meal per 10 square feet of bed area and water in thoroughly. Be sure to gently wash the Blood Meal off the plants into the soil because Blood Meal can be attractive to some dogs. So watering is essential if you or the neighbors have dogs. When watering, do not get the plant, leaves or blooms wet.
Care during the growing season is very important. You need to apply Blood Meal at the recommended rate monthly. To encourage better blooming, as blooms begin to fade pick them off the plants as close to the main stems as possible and add to the compost pile or discard. Adding a two inch layer of organic mulch can be added to help keep the soil moist.
Temperatures below 20 degrees will cause the plants to wilt down but no need to worry the plants will bounce back as long as the temperatures do not remain in the 20’s an extended period of time. If temperatures are predicted to go below the mid-20’s covering the plants with newspaper or frost blankets will encourage them to recover faster when the weather gets warmer. Remove the paper soon as temperatures begin to rise. So don’t wait add some color to your life with beautiful pansies available at your local garden center.