In Minnesota, pansies are a desperate gardener’s gamble. By the time spring rolls around, most of us are so hungry for color we buy as many pansies as our gardens and wallets allow. We plant them out when the weather seems too cold and — at least in my experience — the plants sit there a good long time. Then they bloom a bit, then the weather gets hot and they wilt. It’s not always the best dollar per flower investment.
Except, if we have a year like this one, where despite one or two hot days, the weather has stayed in the 60s or 70s (or even lower) for what seems like an interminable amount of time. It also rains a lot. As the TV weatherman noted the other day, “It’s been a crappy spring.”
This is the year where a gamble on pansies paid off. I have lots of annuals in my front bed — spunky zinnias, blue salvia, a few snapdragons — but guess which annual is blooming best. Pansies.
Here’s another thing I’ve discovered about pansies over time, especially if you plant them in pots. They look terrible in July, but will come back in the fall. I often move my pansy containers to a discrete spot in the backyard for some of the summer. They get water and not too much sun. In August, a bit of fertilizer seems to bring them to life as the temperatures lower. Then, the pansy pots move back out front for a second bow.
Note: If you are concerned about the dollar per flower investment, pansies are also very easy to start from seed. Most of the ones I have out front were started from two seed packages.