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Flowering Kale/Cabbage

October 2008

Question When is the proper time to plant pansies? Do they need full sun? What type of soil? I want to plant pansies in front of the signs at town hall, the police station and the entrance to a recreation park. All locations are in full sun. Would pansies be a good choice or is there another flower to consider? I would like flowers all winter and then change them out in the springtime with red begonias and Joseph coats.

Answer Pansies are an excellent choice for fall through spring color. They do well in full sun to partial shade and like a well amended and well drained soil. October through November is the ideal time to plant them. There are other options for fall color as well, including: violas, dianthus, snapdragons (central Arkansas south), dusty miller, flowering kale and cabbage, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, and curly mustard. In many seasons, we find the violas outperform the pansies, since they tolerate more fluctuations in temperatures than the pansies do. Fertilize periodically throughout the winter when we get warmer temperatures.

 October 2008

QuestionIn a recent issue of Southern Living there was an article on lantanas. It said that lantanas are native to tropical America and may be annuals or perennials, depending on where you live. We live in Heber Springs. Would these flowers do well here? If so, where can we get plants or seeds? We like the idea of something that is hardy and blooms spring until fall. Thanks for your assistance.

AnswerLantana plants would be considered an annual in Heber Springs, although it is perennial in south Arkansas and even occasionally in Little Rock. In mild winters it may over winter further north, but don't count on it. Lantana is a common plant at most nurseries and garden centers statewide. It has been on the market for years. Newer varieties have been released that are self-cleaning, meaning they don't set as many seeds, and the plants bloom more freely without the need to deadhead. Lantana thrives in hot weather. It won't kick in and grow when the weather is cool in early spring, but once the soil temperature heats up, this plant will bloom up until frost. It comes in a variety of colors from yellows, whites, reds, and the traditional multi colored blooms of yellow and oranges. Give it plenty of sunlight and fertilize monthly throughout the blooming season.

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