Pansy, a member of the violet family, is a cool-season crop that may be grown in borders, edging and window boxes. It can even be used for cut flowers. Pansies are considered a perennial plant, which means they live longer than one growing season. This makes them ideal for planting in the spring and fall. Pansies may be used as under-story plantings for spring bulb gardens. They also make perfect massed plantings.
You can start pansies from seed, but most gardeners purchase them in packs. When planting them outdoors, make sure they are hardened off. This means plants won't sustain damage from the cold temperatures and limited available sunlight that often accompany the spring and fall seasons in Colorado.
Growing compact, free-blooming pansies is easy. Just be sure to choose a site that receives some sun during the day. Pansies do best in loamy soil that is rich in organic matter, but they also do well in the heavier clay soils found in Colorado. Increase the organic matter in clay soils to improve drainage and aeration for the plants. Canadian sphagnum peat moss and well-rotted compost are good sources of organic matter. If possible, incorporate two to three inches of organic matter into six inches of soil.
Water plants thoroughly after transplanting and mulch lightly with leaf mold or bark mulch. Pansies thrive when given a complete fertilizer such as 5-6-5 analysis.
For "Buying & hardening transplants" refer to message number 1802.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
- Perennial gardening
- Choosing A Soil Amendment
- Vegetable garden: Soil Management and Fertilization
- Xeriscaping: garden Flowers
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Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2013