Pansy blooms rely on many factors

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If you have healthy-looking pansies that are not blooming well, the following are some potential reasons.

Pansies bloom at Rye Patch in Aiken. Lack of sun or nitrogen can prevent blooms.  FILE
Pansies bloom at Rye Patch in Aiken. Lack of sun or nitrogen can prevent blooms.

Some pansy varieties bloom later in the season than others. Many times you just have to be patient.

Pansies also need nitrogen in the nitrate form when the soils cool in late fall and during the winter. If you look at the label on fertilizer, it always gives a breakdown of the forms of nitrogen. Look for fertilizers that will have some in the nitrate form. This is absorbed better in cooler soils. You will most commonly find this in liquid fertilizers. Use a liquid feed every 10 to 14 days.

On the other hand, while nitrogen is needed for the plants, make sure you are not giving them too much. High nitrogen levels can make any plant put all of its energy into growing foliage and not into bloom production. The best fertilizer ratio for pansies or any blooming plant is about a 1-1-1. The organic fertilizer, pansy mate (Kricket Krap from Bricko Farms) is great to use for pansies.

Another reason for lack of blooms can be not enough sunlight. Pansies need a lot of sun, so if they are in a shadier spot, they won’t have many or any blooms.

Pansies will develop seed pods when the blooms fade. Anytime a plant goes to seed and is in the reproductive stage, that is a signal to stop or slow the blooming process. For pansies to bloom well, they typically need deadheading. Deadhead your plants every seven to 10 days.

Sometimes overcrowding pansies will cause them to not bloom as well.

In the attempt to make the beds look really full, they are often planted too close together.


Many people purchase tropical hibiscus plants for their beautiful display during spring and summer on their patios, porches or decks. When it gets cold in the fall, they take them inside for the winter. More times than not, you wind up with insect problems, usually either whiteflies or aphids.

Most of the time, it is aphids. I had the same problem several years ago. There are a few things you can do to take care of this problem with either insect.

One nonchemical way to help with this is to give your hibiscus a shower. Cover the top of the pot with aluminum foil or heavy plastic (to keep the soil from washing out and making a mess; also to prevent water logging the roots) and make sure to completely seal off the pot around the stem. Then just stick the plant pot and all in the shower, turn on a low to moderate spray directly on the leaves. Use lukewarm to comfortably warm water. Make sure the water is not hot.

A removable shower head or attachment is even better. Be sure to get the undersides of the leaves if you can. You can even turn the pot on its side if you seal the top of the pot. Do this for about five to 10 minutes.

This might sound extreme but it gives your tired, dusty, buggy plant new life. Even if you do this only once or twice during the winter, you will notice a difference.

You can also do all the above I described, but instead of in the shower, just take it outside and do the same thing with a hose. This is what I would choose to do since it is less messy than in the shower. The only problem is you cannot use warm water. Do this on one of our warmer days.

This washing will not eliminate the pests but will certainly help control them.

Another alternative would be to take the plant outside and spray it with a labeled pesticide. Organically, you can use an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Make sure you get thorough coverage to completely kill the insects. Again, this will probably not totally eliminate the bugs but will do a fairly good job.

The most effective control would be to use systemic insecticides. A liquid is acephate (Bonide Systemic Insect Control). You don’t have to be as diligent with the thorough coverage because the plant absorbs the pesticide and should protect it for about 6 weeks. Again, take the plant outside when making pesticide applications and make sure it is dry before you bring it back in.

Another systemic is imidacloprid (Bayer Advanced 2 in 1 Insect Control plus Fertilizer). This is plant spikes you simply push in the soil that will protect and feed your plants for up to two months.

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