Richard Bogren, Huffstickler, Kyle, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D.
News Release Distributed 10/22/10
By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings It’s pansy planting time in Louisiana. These great, cool-season bedding plants continue to be our most popular landscape flower for late fall through early spring. It is best to plant pansies any time from mid-October through November for best performance. When properly cared for, pansies will last into late April and early May most years.
Many pansy varieties are on the market in a wide choice of colors – blue, rose, pink, yellow, white, purple, red and scarlet, among others. Flower sizes come in large, medium and small. Some varieties have solid-color – or "clear" – flower petals, and others have blotched flower faces. Normally, clear-faced flowers are most popular for landscape use, but some folks like the colors of the blotched flowers in mixed plantings.
You may want to interplant pansies among daffodils and tulips. Match the flower size of the pansy to the flower size of the bulb you’re planting. A combination of pansies in the front of a landscape bed with colorful foliage of ornamental kale and cabbage is also attractive.
You might want to consider some of these “best management practices” to enhance your pansies through spring:
–Prepare the landscape bed properly to allow for good internal drainage and aeration. Make sure your soil comes from a reputable supplier. Cheap soil is “bad”; expensive soil is “good.”
– Add fresh, nutrient-rich, finished compost to landscape beds to provide nutrients. Compost also is a great source of organic matter.
– Apply a slow-release fertilizer at planting as a regular practice. Most slow-release fertilizers for home use are formulations that feed the plants for three to four months.
– Make sure landscape beds for pansies have a soil pH between 5.5-6.0. Pansies require more acidic growing conditions then some other bedding plants.
– Select a full-sun planting location. Eight hours of direct sun a day is best.
– Choose varieties with small and medium-sized flowers. These hold up better long term than larger-flowered pansy varieties. This is especially true when you have an above-average-rainfall winter.
– Use irrigation only when needed. Over-watering leads to many problems with cool-season bedding plants.
– Be aggressive and plant in masses for the best visual enhancement. Space individual plants 8-10 inches apart and at least three to four rows deep.
– Select violas for performance longer into the late spring. The Sorbet series is a recommended group.
– Remove old flowers from spindly plants in spring to extend the bloom season. This dead-heading is more beneficial than most people realize.
Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse and www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.