Thought I mastered pansies, but didn't

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I thought I had figured out what I had been doing wrong with my pansies, but I haven't figured much out yet. I am getting very different results. Need help.

    1.) I had been buying the 2" pansies at Lowe's and Home Depot and they never looked good. I had come to the conclusion that the aphids were the problem. So I bought some more of the cheapies this fall, the 2" kind, and planted them in my landscape but treated them with merit. They look terrible today. There are no aphids, though. I'm getting mixed results. The ones I planted around my trees look horrible. The soil is hard clay and I don't think I can till it without doing terrible damage to the tree roots. There is a drip system and the pansies are watered twice a week. I also applied a slow release fertilizer to the pansies after planting with a whirlie bird spreader. Picture attached.

    pansies 1.01.jpg
     
  2. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    2.) I also planted some of the cheapie Home Depot 2" flowers in pots. I have a drip system that waters them automatically twice a week. The soil in the pots is mostly peat. It's very soft. These pansies are doing a lot better, but still don't look awesome. These were also treated with merit and I applied a slow release fertilizer with a whirlie bird spreader after planting them. Picture attached.

    pansies 1.02.jpg
     
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    3.) A customer called me this fall and she had purchased several 4" flats of pansies. She wanted me to plant them. Her soil was very soft, with lots of organic material. I used my Mantis tiller where I planted them and stuck them in the ground the same as I did on my own pansies. They look awesome. The ones in the shade look good, as well as the ones in the full sun. Picture attached.

    pansies 1.11.jpg
     
  4. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    3.) Another customer signed up for my service just before Thanksgiving. She wanted me to plant pansies. I bought the 4" kind at the Home Depot Landscape Suplly store. The pansies looked awesome when I planted them. I tilled the soil with my mantis tiller. The soil was pure, hard clay. I stuck them in the ground just like I always do. I drove by earlier this week and they look terrible. I don't know if the customer trimmed them back, but most of the leaf materials are gone. Picture attached.

    pansies 1.12.jpg
     
  5. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I drove around town looking at pansies today. I am noticing that they seem to do a little better with some shade, generally speaking. There are some that get no sun at all and they look good. Here is a picture of some that are in partial shade right around a tree. Not sure how they are able to till the soil or amend it, but they look outstanding. If I'm going to charge the prices I need to charge, I need my pansies to look like this. Picture attached.

    pansies 1.09.jpg
     
  6. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I'm starting to think the mistake I have been making is with the soil. I'm thinking I need to start tilling in some organic matter when there is hard clay soil present. Is that my number one mistake?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Here is another bed of pansies that are right down the street from me. They are in full sun and they look outstanding. No shade at all. I'm beginning to think the sun/shade factor isn't a problem for pansies. I'm really starting to think my number one problem is a lack of organic materials in the soil. Picture attached.

    pansies 1.04.jpg
     
  8. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    I think it could be where you buy the plants at also. Home Depot and stores like that do not keep their plant material watered or fertilized like they should be. Try switching suppliers and see what happens.
     
  9. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,648

    Two things you pointed out come to mind. First HD, lowes etc purchase sub level material, most of it forced to flower. Use a professional nursery. Secondly pansies like a light airy soil and dry roots. The mantis tiller was a good start but you should also be adding soil ammendments such as perlite or peat moss to the profile.

    Check the following link for more info Pansies
     
  10. Doster's L & L

    Doster's L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616

    yeah, NCSU has a good point. Stores like Wal-mart and Lowes or Home Depot that charge way less for their products vs. a nurseryman for a reason. Part of it is that they have a huge turnover in products, but another reason is that their products lack high quality. Lowes and Home Depot's forte is selling good lumber and other quality interior items. And Wal Mart, who knows what their quality products are? They sell everything for less!! Then you go to a nursery and their forte is plants. You gotta pay the extra money for plants if you're in the landscaping business. That's just my .02 cents.
    I would definitely use some kind of soil ammendment as well. Peat Moss, Humus, anything that is organic will work nicely! Good luck in your quest to find out your problem with the pansies.
    Remember... charge accordingly!!!
     

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