I like pansies almost as much as I don’t like mums. They have all the attributes that mums lack and their only drawback is that they don’t like it hot.
What other flower can you plant that will last for seven to even nine months? You can plant them in September (if it cools off early enough) and they’ll look good until April or even May (if it doesn’t get too hot). In additions to that, you have a lot of vibrant colors to chose from and here in the south if the winter is mild enough, they will bloom all winter long especially if you live in Zones 8-9.
The biggest challenge to growing pansies it the timing. When will your sales peak? Last year it was late October. This year we needed them all ready the third week of September. Next year, who knows? So much goes into determining how many to grow and when to try to have the pansies ready. We rarely have perfect weather for growing them so we are constantly either trying to keep them short, bushy and blooming or pushing them to hurry up and bloom while simultaneously growing the perfect plant. Our growers and waterers do a great job doing this, and we have great crops of pansies each year.
So this year, with the hot summer two things happened. First, the heat impeded the pansies uptake of nutrients which put all of our crops a week or two behind. Second, the heat cooked everyone’s flower beds so EVERYBODY wanted them replaces as soon as possible. These two conditions led to what I call The Great Pansy Famine of 2010 also known as “Shoot, we’re sold out of pansies and the next crop won’t be ready for another 10 days.”
But it looks like the famine may be nearing the end. We have parts of tow crops of J6 ready with one more coming on that will be ready in about 10-14 days. Plus two more crops of #4 pansies. We also have #6.5 and #12 mums that are still in Bud or are Cracking some color with a few that have some Light Color, plus the ornamental cabbage and kale to go with all of them.