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Old 11-27-2011, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
I've never planted pansies before, but today Lowes was selling huge flats for $3 so I bought a few flats on a whim and filled an entire side garden. Most of the plants look healthy, although only 10 or so have blooms. (I bought maybe 80 plants total). My hope is they live through the winter and then bloom in the spring. Is there any particular steps I should take to help this happen? Should I deadhead, add miracle gro when I plant them, or anything else? They're on the east side of the house in a spot that's fairly protected and gets some sun. We'll get snow probably in late December/early January and then have snow off and on for 2-3 months. Sometimes we get heavy snows, but usually it's fairly mild here in VA. I usually use the snowblower 2-3 times a year, if that helps describe the snow we get.
The pansies you bought are sometimes referred to as 'second year' plants although these days they are bloomers a month or two after being seeded (they are technically perennials that behave much like a biennial in most of the USA, but some sources list them as biennials and others as annuals). The plant rarely blooms in the next year if you can even get it to survive a hot summer. They've been bred to bloom strongly for one year and thrive in cooler temps. No one should expect them to last longer than the end of the summer following a fall planting. Most gardeners in the south use them as a winter annual, to be discarded in late spring for summer annuals and this way provide some year round color when most perennials do not. They are often inter-planted with spring bulbs to cover the bulb growth before and after they bloom. They tend to be better behaved than their weedier cousins in the viola family and have bigger blooms.

I've grown mine every winter without much beyond digging in some time release fertilizer and renewed mulch. They are not fussy and do not need much in the way of water unless it is extremely warm and dry for fall and winter. They can easily rot from too much moisture, so don't water them unless they look wilted and it has been unseasonably hot. Make sure they are in bed that drains well when the snow melts. In your area you can pretty much plant and ignore them. Further north they will need a lot of wind protection to survive the winter but will end up growing quickly once spring comes.

The picture below is of one I planted a month or so before it snowed early for here. We had several snows and a cold winter here that year but by spring each of the plants had easily tripled in size and were covered with blooms well into our hot summer. They began to die off with the prolonged heat of July.

They prefer full sun. In part sun or less you will find they will still green up and grow a bit but they will not bloom quite as much. Enjoy the color this winter!

Last edited by J&Em; 11-27-2011 at 08:49 AM.. Reason: clarifying....
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:27 PM
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Getting pansies to sruvive through winter and rebloom in spring
Just put jackets on them and keep them away from bullies, they'll be fine in the spring.
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