Did you know that pansies love cool, dry conditions? The flower size stays large while temperatures are low! They are one of the few colour plants that can put up with adverse weather. Here at Griffins, we grow thousands of pansies, using a very high quality seed, and that, along with John's secret innovative techniques, is the secret of these powerful pansies!
How to get the most from your pansies:
As with all plants, there are little secrets to growing great pansies.
• If growing in pots, change your compost. Don't use old compost that's had plants growing in it for the past season, as all the goodness is gone and your plants will struggle.
• John Innes Multipurpose Compost gives the best results and our tip is to add a bit of grit for good drainage.
• Slow release feeding is the best way to feed your plants. This feeding will last 6 months from one application. It saves time, energy and the environment!
Probably the most important point to keep in mind if you're growing pansies is to not overwater. Keep your pansies dry in dull weather. Of course, in warmer, sunnier weather, you will need to water.
Golden rule: only water your plants when compost has dried up. Don't be continually giving already damp compost more water!
Make sure the cold is taken out of the water. If your tap water is freezing cold, take the chill out of it – your pansies will love you for it!
Never water early or later in the evening in frosty weather. Would you like a bucket of freezing cold water thrown on top of you one of these evenings?
Whether in a pot or in the garden, good drainage is essential! For pots, cover the drainage hole with a flat slate or stone, not small gritty stones as your drainage hole will get clogged up.
In beds and borders good drainage is essential. If your bed is near a patio or footpath, make sure all rainwater isn't draining into your bed!
The same applies to sloped gardens or shrubberies. Make sure the ground doesn't get waterlogged in times of heavy rainfall. How would you feel if your feet were constantly in wet, soggy earth?
My golden rule is 'dead-head as you pass a tired flower' (turned brown in colour). Dead-heading must be done to get continuous flowering. The plant's natural reaction is not to flower unless old flowers are removed! Don't think of dead-heading as a chore, just get it done as you walk by (and why not have a chat with them in the process?)
What can go wrong with pansies?
Most of the diseases in pansies are caused by wet conditions, overwatering or watering late in the evening. You will sometimes notice a black/purple spot of blotch on the leaves. This is a fungal disease caused by all of the above conditions, so the remedy is: (1) improve drainage (2) care with timing and amount of watering (3) spray with dithane fungicide
Remove leaves with the disease and burn them. Again, I can't stress enough that these problems will occur under wet conditions generated by the elements but also you!
There are a variety of pests that attack pansies and I suppose prevention is the best policy. I find putting a few cloves of garlic in the ground works wonders. Plant your cloves upside down (send them to Australia!). This will delay them in sending up growth. You can also get a garlic spray which is fantastic and 100% natural.
Aphids are the most problematic insect for pansies, and what you need to be aware of is when aphids are active: the first cut of silage, and the second cut. When farmers take to the field to cut silages, then this is when the aphids are on the march and trying to find a new home – usually in your garden! So as soon as you notice lots of tractor activity, this is the time to be on your guard and take action! Check undersides of leaves for those insects. Natural sprays include garlic spray and sprays containing pyrethrins. As for chemical sprays, a good general bug spray should do the job.
The ready to use sprays are best, as most people are heavy handed and overdose plants. Always follow instruction if you are making up a solution.
Here at Griffins, we find the main mistakes people make with pansies are:
- using old compost
So if you make sure these two points are adhered to, you will have much better success. Good luck!
Did you know – Pansies belong to the Brassica family, so don't plant them in your cabbage patch!
Any questions? I love solving your gardening problems, so keep those queries coming on facebook!