Q: How can I successfully grow pansies through the winter?
A: Pansies are a winter favorite in Eastern North Carolina because they can survive cold winter temperatures and can add a splash of color to the landscape. Pansies come in so many colors that it is hard to pass up getting at least a few to add to the landscape.
Pansies are usually planted in our area from late October into November. These tough little plants do best in well-drained soils which can reduce chances of disease or root rot. Incorporating organic matter, like compost, into the soil before planting can improve soil and allow for better drainage.
Just because it is winter, does not mean you should forget about watering pansies during dry spells. However, it is just as important not to water too much which can quickly encourage disease problems. A good rule of thumb to know how much water pansies need is to water any time we have less than an inch of rain in a week. Avoid watering pansies in evenings or late afternoons because it does not allow enough time for the water to dry off of leaves before nightfall and will promote diseases.
When it comes to fertilizing pansies, many do not think much about the importance of fertilizing but it can however allow your pansies to flourish during the winter if applied correctly. Options for fertilizing pansies include slow-release and water soluble types of fertilizers. Slow-release fertilizers will slowly release into the soil over a period of time, while water soluble fertilizers will release nutrients more quickly. Slow-release fertilizers can be applied in two applications, once at planting and again midway through the growing season. Water soluble fertilizer should be applied every 1 to 4 weeks. Remember to always refer to the fertilizer label for directions on correctly applying fertilizer.
There are a couple of additional hints that can make your pansies perform well. One is to mulch around pansies to not only reduce weed problems but to conserve moisture in the soil. Also, do not forget to deadhead pansies during the season. Deadheading is the simple process of removing old flowers. Removing the old flowers allows the plants energy to go back into producing more flowers instead of producing seeds. Deadheading pansies will allow for more blooms longer into the winter season.
Following a few basic practices, like proper watering and fertilizing, can allow you to successfully grow pansies throughout the winter until warmer weather once again arrives.
• Visit our website at //wayne.ces.ncsu.edu/. Click on “Lawn & Garden” on left side of webpage.
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Upcoming Wayne County Extension Gardening Programs:
• The Beekeepers of the Neuse bee club will holding its 3rd Annual Spring Beekeeping School starting in January 2014. Three different class times will be offered at the Wayne County Cooperative Extension Office (208 W. Chestnut St., Goldsboro):
1. Tuesdays, January 7th to February 4th from 7pm to 9pm (5 class sessions)
2. Thursdays, January 9th to February 6th from 7pm to 9pm (5 class sessions)
3. Saturdays, January 11th and 25th from 9am to 1pm (2 class sessions)
The course is for anyone interested in bees, beekeeping, pollination or gardening. Topics will include the background and history of beekeeping, getting started in beekeeping, bee equipment, bee biology and diseases, as well as bee management and pollination. Participants may elect to take the Master Beekeepers level 1 test to become a NC State certified beekeeper. Review for the test will be held for all class participants on Saturday, February 8th from 9am to 1pm at the Wayne County Cooperative Extension Office.
Class space is limited, so early registration is encouraged. For directions on how to register for classes contact Diane at the Wayne County Cooperative Extension Office at 919-731-1520.
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North Carolina Cooperative Extension
Wayne County Center
P. O. Box 68
Goldsboro, NC 27533