know autumn is here when trays of pansies, along with
pumpkins and gourds, appear in garden centers.
plants for three-season color, pansies are ideally
planted when the weather is cool but the sun and soil
are still warm enough to promote root growth and flower
established, pansies flower now through May with some
TLC, including regular fertilizations and light pruning
when the plants get straggly. In garden beds, they look
best when planted in masses that provide eye-catching,
curb-appeal color. They also work well in pots and
planters for porches and patios.
love pansies," says Eric Bailey of Landscapes by
Eric Bailey — www.landscapesbyeb.com
are the one cheery plant for color in winter. My
favorite color combination is Delta pure yellow and
Delta true blue — these complement each other very
nicely. However, I love blue and white or red and white
as other combinations."
pansies is easy when you follow some sage advice on
getting the plants off to a good start.
you plant them, pinch off all pansies at the base of the
stem one time," says Tish Llaneza of Countryside
Gardens — http://countrysidegardens.biz
want the plant to get established first. Put that energy
into the roots and plant. A fat, well-rooted plant will
make it through the season much easier."
planting, use a planter started fertilizer such as
Bio-Tone, adds Llaneza. Then, follow up with regular
feedings of Flower Tone for season-long flower
production. Both organic "tone" products are
by Espoma – www.espoma.com
are also tough annuals that that survive even the
harshest environments, according to Daniel Van Dyke,
landscape installation manager at McDonald Garden Center
just a little TLC, you can keep a tight form and keep
them blooming all season long," Van Dyke says.
tend to get a bit leggy at times. If this occurs, simply
pinch them back. Depending on how large they have
gotten, you may even take them back to half of their
existing size. This will stimulate new growth, resulting
in a tighter plant. You may lose a few blooms right off
the bat, but in the long run it will make for an
when you fertilize, pay attention to the nitrogen (the
first number listed on a fertilizer), and the phosphorus
(the middle number listed). Those are the components of
a fertilizer that promotes leaf growth and flowering. We
recommend Greenleaf fertilizer specifically formulated
for Hampton Roads. It’s what we use on our own
gardeners who battle hungry deer, pansies may tempt
you want to give up on pansies and have a plant that
deer do not eat, try Dianthus Telstar Mix," says
planted many last year, and even in a terrible winter
they pulled through perfectly."
the positive side, pansies benefit bees during winter.
bees do work pansies and violas during cool weather, but
they are not a major source of nectar or pollen,"
says Pam Fisher, president Virginia State Beekeepers
Association — www.virginiabeekeepers.org
simply aren’t enough pansies to support a hive of
bees, which requires acres of plants to sustain it.
Asters and goldenrod — think native plants in huge
numbers — are far more important, but their flowers do
not survive a hard frost like pansies.
bees do not hibernate; they survive on their stored
honey, which is why they make it. But they do augment
the honey with nectar and pollen from anything in bloom
during the winter. You can find bees bringing in pollen
year-round in our area, even in the winter. Honey bees
fly when the temperatures are above 50-degrees
Fahrenheit, and sometimes pansies are the only thing out
there blooming, so you’ll see honey bees visiting them
on warm winter days."
you want to plant pansies for bees, Fisher encourages
you to put in blue, white or yellow pansies and any that
experience is the yellow-flowering varieties are the
most fragrant in hybrid pansies," she says.