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Pansy Care Tips

Pansies are the face of fall, winter and even spring flower beds.  They add delightful pops of color during the dreary days of winter. Many of you have probably already planted your pansies, but if you haven’t, we’ve got planting tips for you.  Whether you have planted your pansies, or still need to, we wanted to share tips for caring for your pansies and getting the most blooms.

Buy

When considering which pansies to buy, take into consideration the amount of planting space and how many pansies you will need.  As a general rule, for flower beds, you want to space pansies 7-12 inches apart. In containers, space them 4 inches apart.

It is a great idea to buy pansies that are not in full bloom.  Buy pansies that have buds on them, and in general, you will have more flowers in the long run.  

Plant

Plant your pansies in moist, rich, well-drained soil.  Amend your soil ahead of time or during planting with compost, manure, or other soil amendments.  Pansies should be planted where they can get at least 6 hours or more of direct sunlight.

Care

This may seem obvious, but make sure you are watering your pansies.  One of the most common reasons that pansies don’t do well is due to them not getting enough water.  For pansies in containers, if the temperatures are warm, they may even need to be watered twice a day.  Always check the soil if in doubt. If the top inch of the soil is dry, you will want to water. Watering early in the day is better–this allows the foliage to dry, and dry foliage means less chance for disease. When it is cold, make sure your pansies in containers do not dry out. If there is no moisture in the container, it could freeze and pansies might die!

Every couple of weeks, use a 5-10-5 fertilizer.  Follow the directions on the package of whatever fertilizer you use.  

Deadhead spent blooms to encourage growth and more blooms. Use scissors to cut off the blossom stem just above the next set of leaves.  If seed heads form, be sure to cut those off as well. Flowers that go to seed will stop blooming.

If your pansies are not producing as many blooms as you might expect, they may need to be pruned.  Areas that are thick with stems should be pruned. Also, make sure that you are removing dropped leaves, blossoms and stems.  Debris around the base of the plant can lock in unwanted moisture. If you are seeing yellow leaves, make sure to prune those back right away.

Use

Obviously, your pansies will be used to add color to your gardens and containers.  But did you know that pansies can also be used as a garnish for food dishes? Pansies are edible (they have a mild mint flavor), and can add beautiful color to salads, desserts, side dishes or even your main course!  

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