Keeping Potted Pansy Plants: Caring For Container Grown Pansies
What To Do With Your Pansies After Flowering?
The following are some things to consider before you decide if your plants will flower or not. Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines and there may be other factors which influence whether or not your plants will bloom.
Pansies are hardy perennials so they can survive almost anything. They need plenty of room to grow and don’t like being kept too close together. If you have a large area where you want them to bloom then it’s best to keep them out of direct sunlight during the day. You could place your pansies in a sunny window (or even better, put one or two under each light fixture) at night when the sun isn’t shining directly on them.
If you’re going to let your pansies flower, make sure you give them enough time between flowers. Too much time and they’ll start producing seeds instead of fruit. Give them less than a month between blooms and they won’t produce any fruit at all!
Plants that are grown from seed require slightly longer periods of dormancy before they begin their growth cycle again. They might start as soon as the first frost hits or they might take until the following year. Even if they don’t flower when they’re supposed to, your plants are still healthy and just need less care than container grown ones.
Don’t worry about dethatching the plants that have been growing in your yard. Their roots should have developed to the point where you don’t need to do this anymore.
Container plants require a little more upkeep during this prep period. Since they’re rootbound, you need to make sure that they don’t dry out completely. You can give them just enough water that will allow the soil to retain some moisture but not enough that the soil becomes muddy.
After the first frost, lay down some old blankets over the plants so that they don’t freeze at night. You don’t want a hard freeze so if it does get a little chilly, make sure to cover them back up. This should tell your plants that it’s time to start flowering.
What To Plant With Your Pansies?
It’s always a good idea to have some green in conjunction with your colorful pansies. Green plants add a nice touch and contrast as well as giving your eyes a rest from all of the bright colors. The best choice would be some type of small evergreen bush or tree such as rhododendron, holly, or juniper.
If you’d rather have something a little different or don’t have room for anything else, there are other options as well. There are some annual flowers that look fairly nice with the pansies such as alyssum or candytuft. Alyssum grows quite quickly so it’s nice to use in between other plants that may take longer to develop.
How To Deal With Slugs And Snails?
These slimy creatures love your warm, moist soil. They eat holes in your plants and can leave a slimy trail that not only looks disgusting but can cause some diseases as well. One of the most common ways to deal with slugs and snails is to sprinkle some crushed up limestone near or around your plants. Any slug or snail coming in contact with the limestone will get a slight electric charge and won’t be able to move for about a day. At that point, you can just pick them up and dispose of them.
You can also use beer to attract and kill slugs and snails or cut up pieces of eggshell and place them near your plants. The slugs and snails will crawl into the shells to hide and won’t be able to crawl back out, thus dying.
If you don’t want to deal with killing them yourself, there are other ways to take care of them so that they don’t eat your plants. One of the most common ways is to take a four foot long piece of lumber and nail one end securely to the ground. Place a small container upside down under the other end. The slugs and snails will crawl under it thinking that they’ve found a nice dark place to hide, but once they’re under it, you can tip the board up and dispose of them. Tie a string around the container so that you’ll know where it is if you need to tip the board up again.
What Do You Do During A Hard Freeze?
As we mentioned above, you don’t want a hard freeze so you’ll need to cover your plants if there is a danger of that happening. There are some plants that can stand a light frost but not a severe one.
If the temperature is going to get down to 20 degrees or below at night, you’re going to need to take measures to protect your plants. The first thing you can do is cover the plants with some type of fabric such as blankets or towels. It’s best to cover the plants before the evening so that there isn’t a lot of heat loss. Get everything covered that you can, don’t forget the soil either!
If you are unable to cover all of your plants, or the temperature is going to go below 20 degrees no matter what you do, you can take the plants inside. Just remember that they are going to need at least a week to recover and be ready for transplanting again so you’ll need to take that into consideration when deciding what to do next. You also need to consider how many plants you’re moving indoors and how much work that’s going to be for you. Unless you’ve got a really good reason to be moving everything inside, it’s probably not necessary.
If you’re going to be moving some of your plants inside, the first thing you’ll need to do is pick them. Just like you can’t transplant everything all at once, you don’t want to try to pick everything all at once either. Pick the things that would die first and that are the most valuable to you. Try to pick them early in the day and get them inside as quickly as you can, placing them somewhere with as much light as possible. If you’re unsure about something, it’s always best to pick it.
You can replant it later if it doesn’t survive so there’s no loss.
Pruning During Containers
As mentioned above, you don’t want to over crowd your containers if you can avoid it. There may come a point however, that you have to thin out some of your plants if they get too big. This is also the time to start pruning your plants as well. It’s better to do it a little at a time and keep your plant strong and healthy than to try to do it all at once and end up with a weak plant that has been stressed too much.
Make sure you’re cutting the stems at an angle (between 45 and 90 degrees) and remove as little of the leaf mass as possible. Things like stems and roots tend to grow back the best if you prune them, so this will ensure your plant stays in good health.
Keep Up With The Weeds
Even if you’re using a black container or painting the container, you’re probably going to have some weeds popping up around it. You can avoid a lot of the problem by keeping the area around your containers clear but it’s not going to stop everything.
Make sure you pull the weeds while they’re still small. A lot of them won’t even sprout if you get to them early enough. You can use a spray bottle of plain water to kill smaller weeds as well. Don’t overlook the opportunity to grab a little shade from the sun every now and then either. If you sit in the sun long enough, it will actually drain your energy and make weeding, or anything else, more difficult.
If you’re using large containers, they’re going to attract a lot of attention no matter where you put them. People will notice them from a distance and will probably come over and ask you what type of plants are in them. This gives you a great opportunity to educate the public about hydroponics. Always be willing to stop and chat for a bit. If you can talk to enough people, maybe one of them will turn out to be a good customer or even a friend.
If you’re using smaller containers, they’re going to be less noticeable so you have less of a chance of people asking what’s in them. You can still stop and chat with people when they ask about them but you may want to leave some fliers around near the containers so if people are interested, they’ll have something to read while they’re talking to you.
Continue taking care of your regular plants as well. You don’t want them to suffer just because you have new plants growing in hydroponics. Make sure you keep everything clean and healthy and your business should thrive.
A Final Thought
When you’re starting out and you’re still paying off your investment, it’s going to be tempting to try to stretch your dollars a little bit further by cutting a few corners here and there. Some of these ideas may work for you, but don’t forget the most important aspect of any business, especially one of this nature; customer satisfaction.
You want to keep your customers coming back and telling their friends about how great your plants are and that’s going to require a little extra effort on your part. Cut corners somewhere else if you have to, but quality of the plants you’re selling has to remain high.
Make sure you take time to not only water your existing plants, but also to prune, trim and weed them as well.
If you have extra money, by all means invest it in some nicer containers or maybe some nice advertising, but don’t skimp on the plants themselves. Your growing success is going to be directly tied to the quality of plants you’re growing and you’re going to have to keep reminding yourself of that.
If you end up with any “runaway hits”, you may want to consider expanding your growing area. Just remember to keep everything clean, well-watered and well-pruned and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Sources & references used in this article:
Pansy production and marketing by JR Kessler, JA Hagan, P Cobb – Alabama A&M and …, 1998 – hortscans.ces.ncsu.edu
Actual performance versus theoretical advantages of polyacrylamide hydrogel throughout bedding plant production by JM Frantz, JC Locke, DS Pitchay, CR Krause – HortScience, 2005 – journals.ashs.org
Flowering gift plants: their care and how to rebloom them by GM Fosler – Circular (University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign …, 1958 – ideals.illinois.edu
Midwest Gardener’s Handbook: Your Complete Guide: Select-Plan-Plant-Maintain-Problem-solve-Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota … by M Myers – 2013 – books.google.com
Effective aphid management in greenhouse crops by optimizing biological control and nutrient inputs by N Mattson, J Sanderson, E Lamb, B Eshenaur… – 2017 – ecommons.cornell.edu
Carolinas Gardener’s Handbook: All You Need to Know to Plan, Plant & Maintain a Carolinas Garden by T Bost, B Polomski – 2012 – books.google.com
Southwest Gardener’s Handbook: Your Complete Guide: Select, Plan, Plant, Maintain, Problem-Solve-Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Southern … by D Maranhao – 2016 – books.google.com