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Pansies, McDonald Garden Center

Pansies – Timing is Everything

This time of year, we get this question a lot “When will you have pansies?” Pansies are perfect for providing color when the rest of the garden looks as if it's beginning to shut down for the season. These cool-weather lovers can actually make it through frosts — and even single-digit temperatures — and some varieties rebound in the spring. However, there is always the temptation to plant pansies too early in order to get a jump on the fall season, but planting them when it’s too warm will actually delay your enjoyment.

Pansies dislike temperatures above 70 degrees and their growth and flowering will be disappointing if planted while it’s still too warm. In Hampton Roads, temperatures usually don’t drop into the 70-degree range until almost October, so we are typically fully stocked in the beginning of October. If the weather moderates earlier, then we will have them in late September.

Pansies are often available at other suppliers, however, through our experience and research, pansies grown above 70 degrees will stretch, wilt and often die. Premature planting when temperatures are too warm may also result in yellowing leaves and leave them vulnerable to frost damage or pest and disease infestation.

October is the perfect month to plant pansies when the air temperatures have cooled off with day temperatures generally in the 70’s and ground temperature are still warm and aids in root growth and strong plants that will reward you with loads of blooms well into mid-April.

So remember, O before P (OCTOBER before PANSIES) and resist the temptation to purchase those pretty, little pansey faces before it’s time.