The Q&A Archives: Red Stems on Flowers

Question: I have several outside planter / tubs w/ Pansy like [jonny jump ups] & snapdragon type flowers. Some, not all, have red to redish purple stems. Plants seem healthy but no not seem to flower as much as the plants w/ greenish stems. Soil type is mulched comifer humus w/ sand. All have good drainage & no bugs. As the conifer mulch is acid could this be a ph problem? If so what should the overall ph be. I want to stay w/ as organic techniques as much as I can.

Answer: There is a good possibility that pH is in fact the cause for this. Pansies prefer a more alkaline growing range of 6.5 to 7.0 and snapdragons from 6.0 to 7.5. You might also find that there is some other imbalance in the soil if you test it. You might wish to confer with your County Extension (836-4204) about testing your soil and any possible amendments especially if you plan on extensive use of this mulch.

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