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November 5, 2016

QuestionI have not planted my pansies this fall due to the high temperatures.  With Tuesday being the first of November and high temperatures forecast into the mid-80s the coming week, would you recommend planting pansies at this time or delay planting until the temperatures drop and the weather much cooler?  I have been by the supplier here in Jefferson County and their plants do not appear to be the best I have seen.  I have my beds prepared and am concerned I will be without pansies this fall and winter season! 



Pansies can get leggy when exposed to too much heat, but I think you should start planting. Violas tend to be more tolerant of fluctuating temperatures, but I am planting both. While you can still plant into December, sometimes finding blooming sized plants that late can be an issue. Get them growing, fertilize and let's all hope we get some cooler temps and rainfall!


March 2014

QuestionMy pansies were finally starting to come back and then they got this recent round of winter weather and they look pitiful again. Should I just pull them and wait for spring or is there something I can do to help?

AnswerTYou are not alone. Let’s just hope we have no more winter weather, but if there is life left, they should bounce back quickly with warm weather and sunshine. Give them some fertilizer and see if they don’t begin to bloom again. I suspect they will be at their peak when it is time to pull them and plant summer color.


January 2014

QuestionWhy are my Pansies not blooming this winter?

AnswerThe fluctuating winter weather has not been kind to our winter annuals.  If they are still living, keep them going and they should bounce back once spring weather arrives. 

October 2008

QuestionWhen 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.

AnswerPansies 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.

(September 2006)

QuestionThis spring, I yanked up a bed of flourishing pansies, in the belief that they never survive our summers. I had two pots of the same pansies, however, that I neglected to replant, and with no care beyond watering, they are still blooming and beautiful. Meanwhile, the impatiens with which I replaced the pansies, long ago bit the dust. Have I been wrong about pansies, or did I pick up some new heat-resistant, long-blooming variety?

Answer I think it was a fluke.  While some pansies are being bred for better heat tolerance, they normally start to stretch and get leggy as soon as it gets hot.  I have had some "over summer" but they sure didn't look good.  Violas tend to last longer than pansies and can take the heat a bit better.  Whatever made your pansies survive and thrive this summer is unknown; enjoy them this season, but don’t expect this to happen every year.

(November 2005)

QuestionI live in NW Arkansas and I have several large containers outside on my deck that I would like winter color in. What options do I have for a shade garden?  I have many large oak trees surrounding my house.     I have five large containers and I would like plants that would take our winter..

Answer You might try planting bulbs further down in the containers and then lining the tops with pansies, violas and parsley.  If your shade is primarily from deciduous trees, you typically have enough sunlight through the winter months to have annual color.  New bulbs can be planted every year, since they have flowers set when you purchase them.  They set their energy in the 6 weeks after bloom for next season’s flowers.  You can reuse them or buy new.  Make sure you do water the containers even in the dead of winter—especially prior to a really cold snap.  The larger the container, the more winter hardy your plants will be.  Small containers dry out quickly, and the soil gets much colder.


QuestionEvery year my wife plants pansies and every year whatever dogs we have dig them up. Finally she told me that it’s because of the blood meal she puts under them. We are in the middle of this annual ritual right now. She gets mad at me for whipping the dogs and I get tired of it doing no good.  The dog dug out of the fence last night to raid the pansies.  My question is- isn't there anything she can substitute for blood meal? She says no. This is about to cause a divorce.

AnswerAlmost any complete fertilizer will work.  Blood meal is often used because it helps to keep the rabbits away, but it can attract some dogs and even raccoons.  I would suspect rabbits aren't an issue if you have dogs.   I would avoid blood meal in your yard.  Use a complete fertilizer such as 13-13-13 or if you can find one that is a bit higher in nitrogen that would be a good choice.  Pansies are heavy feeders and do respond well to fertilizer.  Fertilize periodically during the winter, during warm spells to keep them blooming their best. Hope this helps, and marriage and dogs are intact!


QuestionI was wondering if others have had poor results with pansies this winter. Ours put out flowers that don't open, plus the plants seem to be stunted. The landscapers put down a mulch of either pine or cedar bark, could this be affecting the plants? Last year we had very nice plants.

AnswerThe mulch had nothing to do with it. You are not alone. Pansies, for the most part, look awful this year. The extremes from hot to cold did not sit well with them. For some reasons, the violas seem to have fared a bit better, but winter annual color has not been the best. During our next warm phase, give them a shot of fertilizer. If there is life left in them, they should eventually bounce back and re-bloom -- about the time we start to plant our summer color!

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