It’s still hot. It’s 97 degrees as I write this, and yet it’s fall. This year, Sept. 22 marked the first day of fall, and we are all sweating and contemplating a dip in the pool. So, you might wonder, when can you plant pansies? It can be a tough call, but I think next weekend might be a great time. I have to fight the urge to plant pansies myself during the last two weeks of September every year! Many of my hot-weather-loving flowers are so tired, and I am longing for the bright, fresh faces of pansies in my garden.
Pansies are one of my favorite annual flowers, and deservedly so. They are anything but weak and wimpy. They are made of tough stuff! Pansies love cool weather and even tolerate some pretty frigid temperatures. When I was going to school in the arctic circle of Utah, aka Logan, I worked with the grounds crew at Utah State University. We planted pansies every fall and as long at the snow covered them all winter, which seemed like an eternity to this southern Utah gal, the pansies were still there and beautiful come May. It was amazing!
In St. George, our winter is blessedly short, and pansies will look marvelous from October to April. It’s our late spring heat that takes out this tenacious beauty. That is why we must wait until September is over and autumn has begun to plant pansies. The first week of October hopefully brings with it the beautiful and short-lived perfect weather of St. George fall. That is when you should plant pansies.
There is a trick to keeping pansies looking fresh and bright during our coldest nights. It’s frost cloth. I know I’ve mentioned this amazing winter gardening tool in the past, and for good reason. It’s inexpensive and makes a warm blankie for the little gems in your garden. I have a pot on the northwestern side of my house. It’s crazy cold there during the winter, but I must have a pot of pretty pansies on my porch. So I toss a small piece of frost cloth over my pot o’ pansies each wintry night, and in the morning when I take off the lightweight blanket, the pansies smile and thank me for the warm, toasty bed I’ve provided. Well, not really, but when you see how great your winter flowers look after a night under a frost cloth during the first week of January, you will be the thankful one.