|Pansies are a perfect plant selection for late Fall,
Winter, and early Spring Alabama gardens. They thrive in cool weather
and will even survive snow. Grown as an annual in Alabama, pansies
provide a wide selection of colors and sizes.
Pansy breeding has lead to two types of pansies, one for the north
and one for the south. Northern
pansies will not bloom as well here in Alabama as southern breed
pansies will. Southern
series include Dynamite, Majestic Giants II, Matrix, Panola, and
Temperatures and pH are the most important elements to survival. In
Alabama, temperatures normally are too hot until the first or second
week of October. The soil temperature should be less than 65F, that is
soil and not air temperature. Avoiding high temperatures helps promote
better plant health and prevents some diseases.
Soil pH is also important in that it determines which elements
are available for plant uptake. Pansies
prefer a slightly acid soil pH of 5.6 to 6.
High pH will result in boron and iron deficiencies, while a low
pH results in Magnesium deficiency.
Higher pH has also seen increases in Thielaviopsis basicola
or better known as black root rot.
There are many quick fixes for soil pH and require precise
attention to detail. Too much will result in pH bounce and too little will have no
effect. Contact a local
independent garden center for information on soil testing and
correcting soil pH.
Plant pansies in full sun to very light shade in well-drained soil.
Spacing depends on the size of container purchased and the
effect that is wanted. Large
3-1/2” to 4” pot containers with larger plants can be spaced up to
8” apart while smaller 6-pack plants can be spaced 6”.
The amount of time for each to fully cover the area will be the
determining factor, as larger plants will cover faster than small
plants. But with the
right care, the smaller plants will make a greater impact, simply by
having more plants in the area. Smaller
plants can also be double planted, not costing much more than larger
starting plants, and will quickly catch up with greater impact.
Mulching after planting will help keep roots cool for extended
late Spring blooms.
Watering pansies changes as the seasons change from warm to cool
back to warm. Pansies
will require more water in Fall and Spring than in Winter.
Overwatering will lead to crown and root rot, which can not be
corrected once it happens. Using water soluble fertilizer is an excellent supplement for
pansy plantings. Slow
release fertilizers are less effective during cool temperatures due to
the fact that the releasing mechanism to directly affected by
temperatures below 70F. Water
soluble fertilize comes in many forms, the best for pansies in a ratio
of 5-1-7, 5-1-10, or 6-1-6. Examples
of these ratios would be 15-3-20, 15-3-30, or 13-2-13.
While these are not the only available formulas, using these
ratios on other available formulas can help determine which to use.
Avoid using high phosphorus as this will lead to plant stretch
and the fact that phosphorus moves through soil slowly and can quickly
build up in excessive amounts.
Pinch off old blooms to promote new flowers and growth.
Cut back leggy, stretched plants to promote increased branching
and more compact growth. Using
these tips and suggestions can help grow beautiful pansies for showy
color in fall, winter, and early spring.