Friday, October 3, 2014

Pansies for Winter Color

Even as the summer growing season winds down, homeowners are thinking about ways to add flowers to the winter landscape. Happily, garden centers currently are overflowing with flats of pansies, and those can make great additions to a yard.

UGA's Success with Pansies in the Winter Landscape, by Extension Horticulturists Gary Wade and Paul Thomas, includes helpful information for home-plantings of pansies, even though it was written for landscape professionals. In addition to a map that shows best planting dates for all of Georgia, details of how to amend the soil, plant, mulch, and care for the pansies through the winter are all explained.

For Cobb County, the first two weeks in October are shown to be optimum for planting pansies. For planting, the publication describes the procedure outlined here:

1. Raise the planting bed above-grade to help create well-drained soil - "pansies cannot tolerate wet feet."
2. Rake away any old mulch and remove and discard old vegetation.
3. Amend the soil with fully decomposed organic materials, but not too much (less than 25%).
4. Check soil pH and adjust to a range between 5.4 and 5.8.
5. Fertilize, but "Avoid using fertilizer containing high amounts of slow-release ammoniacal nitrogen."
6. Plant at 6, 8, or 10-inch spacing.
7. Mulch the soil surface.
8. Water! "A thorough watering immediately after planting will help eliminate air pockets around plant roots."

For fuller information about the above steps and about after-planting care of the pansy bed, read the article linked through the article title.
rs containinghigh amounts of slow-release ammoniacal nitrogen.