Thursday, March 12, 2009

Autumn Pansies

On Wednesday our rep Di told me Scotsburn had the only potted Pansies available in the Melbourne retail market. No wonder sales were so good this week! Unfortunately we have finished that batch and the next is not quite ready, so next week looks pretty lean. I could moan about all the over sized stock we have thrown out over the past 2-3 weeks because we couldn’t sell it through that terrible February, but I think there is a more interesting story to tell…
For many years now we have targeted having our potted Pansies ready for sale from the first week of March. Demand is always greater than supply right at this point. Why? Because to have flowering Pansies right now means we potted them early January and we have had to grow them through all that hot weather. Petunias would be much easier and they still look fabulous, but nobody wants to buy them any more.
So how do we do it? Get Pansies ready this early? Well there is no special trick and we can have plants get thin and stretched at times, that’s the chance we take.
Our Pansies are grown in the full sun all year round. Some shade could help protect them from drying out completely on hot days, but they are really very resilient. Not drought tolerant like a Petunia or Zinnia but resilient. We need full sun to maintain compact plants and to encourage bud development. So long as they have sufficient water Pansies will even survive 3 days of mid-forties weather conditions.
If you are planting in hot conditions keep transplant shock in mind. Damage to roots when transplanting, coupled with the stress of hot conditions can lead to root rotting infections that may not otherwise harm the plant.
How can you overcome this? Water plants in really thoroughly and if possible apply Fongarid to protect the roots at this critical stage.
There you go, early Pansies are easy if you want them. Late Petunias look fabulous too. Autumn really is a beautiful time of year.

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