Pack a Punch with Pansies

The velvety-petalled smiley faces of pansies are perfect to pop in a garden bed for a bit of instant colour, or plant in pots for long-lasting pleasure with minimum care.

Pansies may look delicate, but they really are easy to grow with a few standard rules. They also come in an amazing variety of colours and combinations of colours. This year, look out for the ‘Punch’ and ‘Prima Punch’ series in your local nursery for large blooms, excellent performance and heat tolerance.

Plant in pots:

Potted pansies are just a delightful addition to a patio or in the garden. They make a good splash on their own but are equally handy in mixed containers. Choose containers with plenty of space for roots to grow with lots of drainage holes, and fill with a well-draining potting mix enhanced with compost and added drainage materials like perlite. Remove the plants very gently from the nursery pack, pressing upwards from below to pop them out and not disturb the roots. Plant and firmly press into the soil and then water well to get them settled in. They prefer cooler temperatures with at least 4-6 hours of sunlight a day and will need constant moisture but not be waterlogged. Containers will need to be checked daily and especially in warmer weather to make sure they have enough water. Feed every 2 weeks with a liquid fertiliser as per the instructions on the packaging.

In the garden:

In garden beds, pansies are the ideal pop of colour, but also don’t forget the veggie garden where they can add colour and have a role in the kitchen for decorating cakes and cocktails, come spring.

Prepare the soil for pansies by removing any weeds, rocks or debris and digging in compost and a little slow-release fertiliser. The area should be sunny and have well draining soil. Dig some holes that are slightly wider than the pansies in the trays and gently tease out the plants. Space them about 10-15cm apart to allow for growth and water in well. Add a layer of mulch like wood chips to conserve water and keep the weeds down while the pansies adjust to the environment and grow bigger.

Maintain plants by deadheading and removing dead leaves regularly to promote new growth and keep the plants neat. Water once a week and more in hot, dry conditions and apply a liquid fertiliser every 2-3 weeks. Although pansies are relatively pest- and disease-resistant, look out for snails, slugs, caterpillars and aphids, and they can get powdery mildew and leaf spot occasionally. Pansies are cool-season annuals and some varieties may tolerate mild frost, but in high frost areas, they need to be planted in pots that can easily be moved or protected with fleece fabric or straw during a cold snap.

Pansy patterns:

There are three basic patterns that pansies come in:

  1. No pattern in single colours usually yellow, blue or white.
  2. Black lines that radiate from the centre of the flower.
  3. Bicolour or tricolour blotches radiating from the centre creating a face-pattern.

READ MORE: Dive into a world of colour and learn more about Freddie’s favourites

Look out for:

Petunia ‘Bee’s Knees’ For a high impact intense yellow petunia, look out for this outstanding variety in your local nursery to plant in early spring. It has dark green foliage with good branching and the yellow blooms hold their colour. They need little attention and will tolerate some shade in containers and in the garden.

Brought to you by the Bedding Plant Growers Association (BPGA)
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