Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Plant Pansies in the Fall! by Carol King

Photo Carol King
Fall is the perfect time to plant pansies again. In fact, pansies and violas or Johnny jump-ups can be staples of the fall garden. These plants, both from the genus Viola, prefer cooler weather and struggle in the heat of summer. 

Pansies have a colorful past with lots of folklore about them.  One of my favorites is this one about why they have no odor: “A German fable tells of how the pansy lost its perfume. Originally pansies would have been very fragrant, growing wild in fields and forests.  It was said that people would trample the grass completely in eagerness to pick pansies. Unfortunately, the people’s cows were starving due to the ruined fields, so the pansy prayed to give up her perfume. Her prayer was answered, and without her perfumed scent, the fields grew tall, and the cows grew fat on the fresh green grass.”  {from Wikipedia).

Pansies are easy to grow in both pots (in potting soil medium) and in the ground. With some luck and judicious mulching, they can last clear through the winter into Spring!

Plantalk Colorado offers this advice for great pansies:
  • Plant pansies four to six weeks before the first frost of autumn so they become well established before the weather turns cold.
  • Choose a planting site that receives at least six hours of sun during the day.
  • Pansies grow in the heavier clay soils found in Colorado but increasing the organic matter will improve drainage and aeration.
  • Water plants thoroughly after transplanting and mulch with leaf mold or bark mulch.
  • Pansies thrive when given a complete fertilizer such as a 5-10-5 analysis about a week after being planted in the fall and again in early spring.
Here's a video all about pansies: