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Select Matrix, Delta pansies for pretty winter landscapes
As I was browsing through the garden center this weekend, I saw the first display of pansies for the upcoming fall and winter season. I consider this a positive sign as we are all still sweltering with the summer heat.
Pansies are tough plants that will perform all through the fall and winter in our Mississippi landscapes. I’m in the habit of planting the next season’s flowering annuals before the current plants start to decline, and this drives my wife crazy. But I do it for a good reason: If you wait, you risk not having a good selection of new flowers to choose from at the garden center.
I really appreciate the Matrix series of pansies for its landscape performance in Mississippi. These plants come in a wide range of colors.
Many of the Matrix pansies have the traditional blotch, a dark coloration of the lower flower petals that sometimes is known as being faced. Though Matrix mixed colors are gorgeous, I really like the Matrix Ocean Breeze mix which consists of varying shades of blue and dark purple.
A really attractive group of Matrix flowers has what are known as clear colors. These flowers have a flash of pure color without a blotch. A nice feature of the clear-colored flowers is that the throat of each flower has a small, yellow eye.
Another sure thing in your landscape is the Delta pansy. An old favorite of mine is Delta Fire, which features brilliant-yellow flowers with blotches that range from burgundy to rusty red and orange. These warm colors are unusual for pansies. Delta Wine and Cheese is an attractive mix of primrose, red, violet and pale yellow shades that are very reminiscent of the colors of their actual namesakes.
Both of these groups of Delta pansies have freely branching growth characteristics and will reach 8 inches tall and wide. When massed together, they create an impressive, colorful landscape carpet.
Matrix and Delta pansies produce more flowers and start blooming much earlier than other pansies. Their huge flowers are held above the foliage by strong stems that allow the petals to flutter in the slightest breeze.
When placing pansies in the landscape, prepare the soil as you would for summer-flowering annuals. Amend the soil with organic matter, and add a couple of handfuls of a good, controlled-release fertilizer to maintain nutrition for the extended garden performance pansies are known for. Keep the planting beds evenly moist, even in the low temperatures of winter.
Pansies may be the perfect winter-flowering annual. The plants can freeze solid and thaw with little damage. In response to the cold weather, the leaves will be tinged purple, and the current flowering will slow down or stop completely. But once it gets a little warmer, the flowering gets revved up again.
Matrix and Delta fire pansies will provide nonstop color to get you through the winter months.
Their short, sturdy stems resist stretching, which means the plants will look good long after the days begin warming up in the spring.