Hello, again!

When growing pansies and violas it’s always a balancing act trying to regulate the temperatures in the greenhouse to the right growing range. Fortunately the only other plants in their greenhouse are our cold tolerant crops like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Since our initial pansy and viola planting late last fall, we’ve kept the daytime greenhouse temperatures in the 60’s and nighttime temps mid-30’s, until now. We’re also feeding with a specific pansy food at each watering. It’s a water soluble plant food similar to ferti-lome’s All Purpose Water Soluble Plant Food which is formulated for vigorous blooms and deep green foliage on blooming and foliage plants. It’s also ideal for use on geraniums, hanging baskets, patio plants, and other ornamentals where a general purpose, constant feeding program is needed.

With the pansy greenhouse showing lots of blooming color and dark green foliage, and the daytime outdoor temperatures in the 60’s, we predicted that the timing was pretty good to start sending the plants to the stores. Last week we dropped the nighttime temperature to mid 20’s in the greenhouse so when you plant them at home, they are cold tolerant and ready to go into your containers or landscape beds right away. Well, with nighttime temperatures currently in single digits and lower teens, we’re waiting just a bit longer until conditions are favorable for you to get started with spring planting. It’ll be any day now. Maybe by the weekend!

As with last fall, we’re still carrying what we believe are the best pansy and viola series for Kansas:

Colossus Pansies are the favorite for areas where heat can be a factor going into late spring, as we can have happen in Kansas. The Colossus bloom is bigger, measuring about three to four inches across the face. You can see where the size comes from—the petals are larger than a standard pansy, plus the stems hold the flowers nicely above the plant. Colossus is available in many colors, with both clear and bloch blooms.

Developed for spring season planting, Spring Matrix Pansies have a robust habit, better branching, and short flower stems. They’re bred to flower under shorter days and cooler temperatures. The flowers of Spring Matrix have large, thick petals that help prevent blooms from flopping over which often occurs with winter/spring pansies.

Frizzle Sizzle Pansies cover themselves in showy 3 inch ruffled flowers in shades of blue, burgundy, orange, and yellow on compact, 6-9 inch plants. Flowers show the strongest ruffling in cool weather. Frizzle Sizzle pansies bloom early and are outstanding choices for containers or beds.

Don’t overlook Sorbet Violas for the landscape and containers. Gardeners love Sorbet as they excel at every turn: plants cover the soil at flowering, have more blooms on every plant, and they stretch less, staying compact in both heat and cold. They are also excellent at overwintering and come in a wide range of colors.

For containers and baskets, Cool Wave Pansies have a trailing or spreading growth habit, as opposed to the traditional upright growth habit of most pansies, violas and panolas. The bloom size is a bit smaller than the larger blooming pansies, however, the trailing/spreading growth habit of these plants makes them perfect for pots.

Whatever your choice for early spring color for your garden is, be sure to add one of the cold tolerant var ieties of pansies and violas that we’ve grown for you right here in our greenhouse.

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center

P.S. - Today is Marty's birthday! We would like to wish him a very happy day!