Yes, that’s right- Plant of the Month. I’ve decided to change it to a monthly posting, because I’d like to do more weekly posts for you that outline other important tips and ideas on gardening. Anyways, I just finished reading Blue Dahlia (In the Garden, Book 1) by Nora Roberts, which is about 3 women who work together at a large greenhouse. When she mentioned pots full of bright colored pansies, I decided to make them my next Plant of the Month (dorky, I know- but they are a great plant!)
The great thing about Pansies is that they can be grown pretty much anywhere! It is most definitely a “plant for all seasons.” In northern states like Minnesota, we grow them as annuals through the summer. In states with warmer climates, such as California, they can be grown all year round!
Pansies truly are wonderful flowers not only for their continuous blooms, but for the many colors and sizes you can find them in. Pansies generally fall into one of 3 size categories:
- Large Pansies usually have flowers up to 3-4 inches in diameter. These large Pansies include Accord, Lyric, Medallion, Majestic Giant, and Swiss Giant varieties.
- Medium Pansies grow flowers around 2-3 inches in diameter, and include Joker, Imperial, Roc, and Crown varieties.
- Small Pansies range in diameter from 1-2 inches, and include Crystal Bowl, Universal, and Maxim varieties.
If you’d like to start Pansies from seed, here are a few tips for you:
- Pansy seeds should be sown carefully. It usually works best just to press them into your germinating mixture, and not bury them in the dirt. If you’d like to you can cover them with a fine layer (1/8 inch or less) of your mixture or vermiculite, which will help retain moisture.
- Pansies don’t need darkness to germinate; the reason that many say this is because it is important to keep your germinating mixture cool, and that isn’t easy to do if your flat is sitting under warm grow lights. An easy way to germinate your Pansy seeds is to cover your flat or container with plastic, then place damp, folded newspaper on top of that. If that seems like too much for you, just make sure you put them in a cool spot, and make sure they get lots of light once they start sprouting!
- Make sure that you check your seeds every day! Do not let them dry out, and if they need more water, use a spray bottle or anything that will lightly mist the soil.
- The seeds should germinate within 10-20 days. Remember, keeping the growing medium cool is key here. The mixture should remain between 60-65 degrees. Room temperatures between 70-75 degrees work just fine since the mixture is usually cooler than the air temperature. Or if you just have a cool tile floor by a window, that works too.
Once your plants are well established, and it has gotten warm enough to plant them in your outdoor garden, put them in full or partial sun. Don’t hesitate to pinch off the old blooms, this will just encourage them to bloom more profusely. Just like any plant, be careful not to over water them. The soil should be moist.
FUN FACT: The pansy gets its name from the French word pensée meaning “thought”. It was so named because the flower resembles a human face and in August it nods forward as if deep in thought.
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