Pansies: The Hardy Annual
Pansies are those hardy annuals we all love that have “faces”! These happy flowers are must-haves to celebrate the first days of spring since they don’t mind the cold weather (as cold as 15 degrees) and can even take a little snow and ice!
Pansies are universal favorites, and for good reason! They are generally admired for their color variations or their waived or frilled petals and often referred to as ‘beautiful, flat, symmetrical, velvet-like flowers, more than two inches in diameter, magnificently and variously colored. As if the looks weren’t enough, they are adaptable to large and small gardens. Beautiful and versatile, what’s not to love?
To ensure your pansies are going to grow strong you will want to either transplant purchased pansies, or plant the seeds yourself 6 to 8 weeks before indoors before planting them. This means late winter for spring and summer flowering, and mid summer for autumn flowering.
Plant the seeds in good, well draining soil (explained more below) in an area where they will get cooler temperatures. when your pansy has grown around 8 leaves it’s grown enough to be transplanted. When transplanting, loosen the pansies in their starter pots with a trowel, and gently transfer them into the new soil. Space the transplants 7-12 inches apart and cover the roots with soil. Water when finished and get ready to enjoy the show!
Climate Considerations for Planting
Pansies are a very hardy annual and don’t mind being placed in early spring or in the fall. Being annuals though they are less likely to survive the New England winter. They grow best as the temperature is cool, but get a bit harder to grow once the temperature starts heating up.
There is a winter flowering variety of pansies, but here in the Blackstone Valley our heavy frosts usually kill them. In early spring however, a forgotten pansy that survived will spring to life to surprise and delight you. The hardy, happy fella has survived the New England winter! Most likely it was protected or kept warm enough to survive alongside a boulder, or a buildings foundation.
Varieties that may winter over well include The Sky, Delta, Bingo and Accord series. Icicle Pansies ( and Violas) have been bred specifically for cold heartedness. Other pansies that are reported to grow well in the north are Crystal Bowl, Presto, Skyline, Universal and Maxim.
Pansies are easy to grow and do well in any good, well-drained garden soil . They prefer cool moist conditions, their roots never being allowed to become dry at any time. They thrive in spring’s full sunshine to partial sun from mid April until June, and early fall. What they don’t tolerate is heat and humidity. One of the biggest reasons pansies fail is because they don’t get enough water, so don’t be afraid to water them, but make sure they’re not swimming!
- Be sure to cut withered or dead flowers. This will encourage blooming and vibrancy in surrounding flowers and make your garden look as good as it should!
- Pansies are generally unaffected by disease or insects, but if you live where slugs are they won’t pass up a delicious bed of pansies. Set out slug traps or sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around the plants. Learn more about diatomaceous earth here!
- If any fungus or mildew is observed, bring a leaf sample into the Whitinsville, Grafton, or Uxbridge Koopman Lumber location and talk to any of our Lawn and Garden Specialists.
- Like we mentioned earlier, the roots of your pansies should never get dry. Make sure to water regularly and keep the soil damp to the touch.
Pansies are beautiful plants that are perfect for your New England garden. They will impress your friends and family and give you something great to look at every time you step outdoors. Here at Koopman Lumber we stock our pansies from trusted local sources. Check us out online and see if we’re stocking pansies! View us at http://www.koopmanlumber.com