Winter Flowering Pansies, early planting means more flowers throughout the winter & into spring. In September & early October our soil & compost is warm & also warmed by the early autumn sunshine but from mid October on wards we can’t rely on the suns heat to warm soil or encourage growth in pansies.
This means that any pansies planted in borders, baskets, or pots in September grow quickly producing vigorous roots and bushy tops. Bushy tops produce more flowers & then because the plants are stronger they continue to produce flowers throughout the winter except in the harshest conditions. However the pansies planted later never produce the roots or top growth needed to produce flowers all winter.
We know that this creates a dilemma for us all. The cooler weather, increased rain & the fact that we have returned from our holidays and tend our pots & basket better, leads to a resurgence of lush growth & extra flowers. It looks as though we are suggesting you scrap this abundance of foliage & flowers to provide you with winter flowering using pansies. Well we are really but have a solution.
Plant substitute pots & baskets
Use spare baskets and pots & plant them early with winter flowering pansies and have them ready to substitute for your summer baskets & pots as they fade during October. This way you have continual & beautiful flowers plus you benefit from the warm early autumn growing conditions. For those of us with stone, wooden or ceramic statement pots which are full of summer bedding simply buy your winter pansy six packs as early as possible. Then immediately repot them into 13cm (5″) flower pots with good multipurpose compost and establish a ‘mini nursery’. That is, nurture these freshly potted pansies in a warm sunny spot & as your summer plants fade replace them with your new bigger and established pansies. You will be surprised by the impact these pansies make & how well they flower all winter.
Many Septembers are hot & feel like the summer we didn’t get. This might cause your winter pansies to set seed. Inspect them weekly to see if seed pots are forming. If they do, snip them off to ensure more flowers are formed. Once the weather cools & the bees hibernate they can’t set seed & just produce flowers.
When planting your winter pots & basket add spring flowering bulbs before the pansies. Also add around the edges interesting foliage plants especially selected & grown for you by British nurseries for our winters. Experiment in the garden centre with colour themes. By standing flowers & foliage plants next to each other in your trolley before purchasing you can make big impact combinations. Our UK winter light levels are very low so we recommend lighter coloured flowers for the biggest impact.
Chrysanthemums & Autumn Cyclamen can be added to pots too.
Add a spring ‘surprise’ by placing spring flower bulbs below your pansies. Crocus, miniature Daffodils, & dwarf Iris are ideal. Click here for more spring bulb ideas.
Amazingly you will need to water during winter, particularly when your pots & baskets are close to your house or under a car port. Although the British winter is typically wet the shelter of buildings, porches, & fences may mean your pots & baskets dry out. Dry compost leads to starving plants.
Starving plants don’t flower or grow well. As you walk past, push a finger under the foliage weekly to check for dry compost. The winter of 2016-17 was very dry compared to average winters & a lot of plants under performed & some evergreens died due to ‘drought’.
Planting your Winter flowering Pansies from Late October?
Due the the toughness of modern winter flowering pansies you will get flowers for most of the winter when planting later. To make the biggest impact plant more pansies and plant them closer to each other. All winter flowering pansies have a final explosion of flowers in late winter & early spring too.
The breakthrough of the truly winter pansy has revolutionised winter gardens & patios. Don’t miss out.