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Keys to Success: Pansies!

It’s Fall, Y’all! 
Since Fall is such an exciting time of year for gardening- festive plant colors and textures, ideal temperatures, increased rainfall, etc.- we thought we’d share a Fall-tastic series of posts for you on how to make sure your gardening efforts are successful this Autumn! We’re calling it the ‘Keys to Success’ series, and we’ll be posting on a new, Fall-specific topic each week. We hope you enjoy!

This week’s topic is Pansies! And in honor of the completion of the first full week of this year’s college football season, we’ll be using a cheeky football metaphor throughout this whole post- hope you love football as much as pansies!

1. Use a good Soil

They say if you’re going to have an undefeated football season, you’ve got to win the first game. Same goes for planting pansies! If you’re going to have a champion (bloom) season, you’ve got to ‘win the first game.’ And in our little football metaphor, the first game is the soil, and winning is making sure your soil is in peak condition to support your winning pansy lineup. 
Here’s what we recommend to help you win the first game:
If you’re planting your pansies in a container:
Fill your containers with our professional Strange’s Mix potting soil  Our potting soil will provide a good soil consistency to promote healthy root establishment as well as provide nutrients for your pansies.
If you’re planting your pansies in a bed:
Mix some Perma-til with your existing bed soil to improve drainage. Pansies don’t like to have ‘wet feet’ and your plants will be more likely to win if they’re not bogged down in soggy soil.
2. Score the Root ball

Every winning coach has an exciting pre-game pep talk to pump up their players. As coach, you ought to take a moment to ‘pump up’ your pansies before the first game: 
When it comes time to plant your pansies, grab a trowel (or even use your fingernails) and break up the rootball a little. This is like the proverbial pre-game high five- it jazzes up the pansy’s roots and encourages it to work quickly to establish itself on the field in its new container. 

3. Feed Your Pansies

Your pansies need nourishment! Like football players, pansies need a good ‘water break’ every so often to replenish the energy they’re using to bloom and grow. Try a good fertilizer like Fertilome’s Premium Bedding Plant Food, or Greenview’s Pansy Food. 
4. Fight Pests

Think of your beautiful pansies as the goal line, and your pest defense tactics as the defensive line. A good defensive line is strong, has a coordinated plan of defense, is ready to make quick decisions to react to the unexpected, and is only used when the other team has the ball.
Similarly, you want a coordinated plan for fighting pests that you only use if you need to. The biggest pest challenge to pansies is the Pansy worm, and the best way to treat your pansies for Pansy worm is with Sevin or Thuricide. Remember, it’s always a good idea to rotate products to prevent insects from building up an immunity to any one product. 
5. Apply Mulch
In the world of pansy football, if pest defense is your defensive line, mulching your beds is your offensive line.  Picture this: you’ve got your star quarterback in position, ready to throw the winning touchdown pass. He looks up to find his receiver and realizes he’s got no line protecting him and the defenders are barreling down the field to sack him. Nobody wants that (well, no one rooting for the offense, anyway!)
And nobody wants that in their Fall pansy planting, either. So once you get your star pansies in place and ready to win the game, make sure you mulch them! All sorts of factors (water availability, weed competition, frost) will come to challenge your pansies, but if you provide the offensive protection of mulch, your pansies will be set up to do just fine!
When mulching, apply a 1.5-2.5″ layer of mulch to improve water availability, reduce weed growth, and protect from frost damage. It will make all the difference. Plus, it looks tidy!

Thanks for stopping in to learn about the Keys to Pansy Success! We hope you have a beautiful pansy display this year, and that your favorite football team has a championship season!

Happy [Pansy] Gardening!

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