For a grower, deciding which pansies to grow is not an easy task! With well over 100 varieties to choose from growers have to pick out ones that they feel will grow the best in their particular climate, and will offer their customers the traits and colors they want. One of our seed suppliers offered 11 new pansy colors for this spring! The palette continues to grow with awesome new colors each season.
Seeds for our pansy crop were planted last October (about the time you were here to learn about pumpkins). Right after Christmas, they were transplanted (taken out of the seed trays) and put into the containers they are in now.
We place all of our pansies in greenhouses on benches that can be rolled outside. Beginning in mid January, each day that the temperature is above freezing (32 degrees F) we roll the benches outside so the pansies can get used to cooler temperatures. Then we roll them back inside the greenhouse during the night so they do not freeze after the sun goes down.
In mid February, if the weather is not too cold, we will leave the benches full of pansies outside all night to get them used to a light frost. They stay outside, unless it will be below 20 degrees F. By mid March, the pansies are used to cold weather, so we take them off the rolling benches, place them on the ground where they will grow until they are ready to be shipped to this greenhouse.
When leaving pansies outside during the night, one of the biggest problems we have faced is deer eating the pansy flowers. When deer see and smell pansies, they love to eat them, because there are not many other “leafy” things around for them to eat. We have to be very careful how we handle this problem.
The pansies we have here are “hardened off” and can be planted now, even if it snows, or if it gets cold. If you were to compare these pansies with others that are in some of the stores now, the other ones may have bigger leaves and flowers. It is unlikely that those pansies have been introduced to cold temperatures, and probably will not hold up as well if the weather turns cold.