Winter Flowering Pansies – early planting means more flowers throughout the winter & into spring.
In September & early October your soil & compost is warm. New compost is also warmed by the early autumn sunshine, but from mid October onward we can’t rely on the suns heat to warm soil and encourage strong growth in winter pansies.
If you plant pansies in borders, baskets, or pots in September they 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 pansies that are planted planted later, that is October onward never produce the roots or top growth needed to produce flowers all winter. November planting, as you summer bedding wanes don’t grow bigger and will cease flowering the coldest weather.
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 care for our pots & basket properly, usually leads to a resurgence of lush growth & extra flowers. September pansy planting implies that you scrap this fresh abundance of foliage & flowers and plant your winter pansies. We are not and we have a win : win solution.
Have substitutes sat on the bench
Use or buy empty hanging baskets and pots & plant them with winter flowering pansies in September. Then you can substitute your your summer baskets & pots as they fade during October and November. 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. Immediately, in September remember, 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 so that they grow strongly in the later summer warmth. As your summer plants fade, replace them with your new bigger and established pansies. You will be surprised by the impact these super pansies make & how well they flower all winter.
Some Septembers are hot & feel like the summers we often don’t get. This might cause your winter pansies to set seed en pansies set seed they stop flowering. Inspect them weekly during September and early October to see if any seed pots are forming. If they do, snip them off to ensure more flowers are formed. Once the weather cools & the bees hibernate the flowers aren’t pollinated and your pansies won’t set seed but will produce flowers.
When planting your winter pots & basket add spring flowering bulbs below the depth of the roots of your pansies before planting them. Also around the edges add interesting foliage plants especially selected & grown for you by British nurseries for our winters.
When you are in the garden centre choosing winter flowering pansies, experiment in the garden centre by combining plants to select your colour themes. By standing flowers & foliage plants next to each other in your trolley before purchasing you can make big impact combinations. As our UK winter light levels are very low in winter we recommend lighter coloured flowers for the biggest impact. Yellow always works.
Chrysanthemums & Autumn Cyclamen can be added to pots too.
Remember to add a layer or more of 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 to their sturdiness, winter flowering pansies they will flower for most of the winter when planting later in October or November, but 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 hardy pansy has revolutionised winter gardens & patios. Don’t miss out.
Reading this after the best planting season?
Winter flowering pansies will flower well into the late spring. Planting winter pansies in late autumn and winter will produce a great flush of spring flowers. They just take a little longer to flourish as the spring temperatures improve.
In spring Pansy varieties are specific for spring and summer.