published Saturday, October 6th, 2012

5 tips: It’s time to plant pansies

Some pansies have a delicate perfume-like aroma. Yellow and blue varieties produce the strongest scents.
Some pansies have a delicate perfume-like aroma. Yellow and blue varieties produce the strongest scents.

FIVE TIPS

1. Pansies, an annual flower, can withstand cold winter temperatures.

2. Plant in a location where they can receive four to five hours of full sunlight each day.

3. Protect in-the-ground pansies against winter weeds by mulching around the beds.

4. When mixing pansies with other plants, be sure to choose ones that require similar care.

5. Deadhead — remove dead blooms — when necessary to allow new ones to grow.

It’s pansy time.

“Some people use pansies for a pop of color,” said Kat McGraw, a manager at Ooltewah Nursery.

The small, colorful flowers can be planted in pots or in the ground, even for the winter.

“Once you get a foot or so into the ground, it stays warm,” McGraw said. “Pansies will take freezing temperatures.”

Perennial herbs and ferns can be mixed in with the pansies. A new type of pansy, called a wave pansy or trailing pansy, can be grown in hanging baskets and pairs well with ivies.

When mixing pansies with other plants, seek ones that require similar care.

“Pansies like full sun to part shade,” she said, “at least four to five hours of full sunlight.”

She uses mushroom compost in the beds when planting pansies. “It’s a good organic fertilizer.”

When planting in the ground, use a mulch to protect against winter weeds like mouse-eared chickweed.

“When you put pansies down in beds, you will need to put some sort of product around them to keep the winter weeds from growing around them.”

There are foods made specifically for pansies, but a generic plant food such as Miracle Gro will suffice as well, McGraw said.

Pansies should be watered upon planting and then a couple of times a week. Adjust watering to rainfall. Larger pansies sometimes need to be deadheaded — wilted blooms removed — but the smaller blooms, or violas, typically do not require this.

“They sort of mound like a little globe and don’t need as much deadheading,” McGraw said. The trailing pansies also require less deadheading.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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