While we are over a month away from the official start of spring, signs of it are all around us. With our spring flowering bulbs starting their way towards light, they will begin their show soon. In warmer, sunny spots we’ll soon see crocus and snowdrops showing some color. Perennial helleborus and the early flowering shrub witch hazel will soon be showing the first color of spring as well.
It’s always a guessing game on when we need to have our first spring bedding plant crop of the year ready for customers. Starting the crop in early December, we targeted our violas and pansies to be finished in late February and early March for the first group. With staggered plantings, we will have them available most all spring.
Jeremy commented recently on the crop, mentioning the dark green foliage and enormous bloom size of the Colossus pansy series that is in the first group ready for sale.
I’ll share a few professional growing tips that Abbey, our grower, uses to produce great pansies. First of all she’ll incorporate slow release fertilizer into a soilless planting media. In my planters at home I’ll use ferti-lome Premium Bedding & Plant Food, a quality bedding plant food with micronutrients and slow release, water insoluble nitrogen to aid in healthy plant growth. Advanced coating technology with polymer- and sulfur-coated urea provides gradual, consistent nutrients for up to 30 days.
When a bit of a push is needed to move the crop along, Abbey uses a balanced, water soluble fertilizer like ferti-lome All Purpose Plant Food with its perfectly balanced 20-20-20 formula that has been our industry’s standard for decades. Here are the series of pansies and violas that we have at the stores, direct from our production facility. Grown cold, they’ll withstand anything Mother Nature will throw at them!
Colossus Pansy varieties that come in clear or blotch flowers do well with the warmer late spring temperatures we experience in our region. Their tight, non-stretching growth habit with extra large blooms stand up to heat stress with less stretch even under hot and humid conditions. This popular series features extra large, upward facing blooms up to 4” across, with a tight plant habit.
Matrix Pansy varieties come in a rainbow of colors that can range from solid to blotch to two or more colors in one! The plants have superior branching that is able to support the abundant amount of blooms that are produced by each plant. The short stems resist stretching and are able to keep the blooms upright. Matrix pansy blooms are considered mid-sized, but with their 3-3.5″ blooms they are definitely at the high end of the mid-sized curve.
Frizzle Sizzle improved pansies cover themselves in showy 3” ruffled flowers in shades of blue, burgundy and yellow on compact, 6-9” tall plants. Flowers show the strongest ruffling in cool weather. Frizzle Sizzle pansies bloom early and are outstanding choices for containers or beds.
Violas Sorbet plants cover the soil at flowering, with more blooms on every plant and less stretching. They stay compact in both heat and cold, are excellent at overwintering, and come in a wide range of clear colors which allow for custom mixes.
If, like me, you’re ready for spring blooms, stop by the store and pick your favorite of our cold-grown pansies and violas. See you soon!
Your friend in the garden,
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center