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As soil cools, it's time to plant pansies

Posted: November 11, 2012 - 12:08am
Chris Holsonbake, the owner of A Cutting Edge Landscaping & Lawn Care, plants pansies in front of a business on South Belair Road. Holsonbake said this is the best pansy planting season because the ground has gotten cold.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Chris Holsonbake, the owner of A Cutting Edge Landscaping & Lawn Care, plants pansies in front of a business on South Belair Road. Holsonbake said this is the best pansy planting season because the ground has gotten cold.

The onset of cooler temperatures means it’s time for planting pansies. Long known as the winter staple in any garden, pansies can provide a much-needed pick-me-up on gloomy winter days.

Chris Holsonbake, the owner of A Cutting Edge Landscaping and Lawn Care in Martinez, said this is pansy-planting season because the ground is getting cold.

“They need to be in the ground before it gets too cold because you want to allow enough time for the roots to attach,” Holsonbake said.

When preparing a bed for pansies, make sure to loosen the soil and add nutrients before planting.

“A pansy bed needs to be at least one-fourth composted material mixed in with your soil,” Holsonbake said. “I use the Miracle-Gro Top Soil with the time release fertilizer. You can pour a bag of soil conditioner into your beds and mix it into the soil about 8 inches deep.”

Holsonbake recommends not planting pansies in the same location for more than three consecutive years because it can lead to nutrient depletion.

To get a professional look in which beds are full and plants look healthy, Holsonbake suggests using good-quality plants and putting in enough flowers to make the bed attractive. He also said that the plants should be staggered to create an eye-catching effect.

The size of the plant depends on the gardener.

“You have to know which one performs best in your area,” Holsonbake said. “The smaller ones need more attention until the roots attach and the bigger ones don’t need much attention once they are planted.”

The key to pansies is fertilizing them after they are planted. Holsonbake recommends fertilizing the plants after the roots have attached, typically two to three weeks after planting.

“You can fertilize them from that point on a monthly basis from November through to March using nitrate-containing fertilizers for best results,” he said. “If you can’t find a product with nitrate, I would recommend using Miracle-Gro. If you have soil that is well-prepared, then that means less fertilization is needed.”

Fertilizing pansies can increase flowering production and plant size.

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