The Q&A Archives: Wilting Pansies

Question: I am having a problem with the pansy I have planted. I have lost several, replaced them, and them lost several more. The plant wilts down and dies. I have added some dursban to the soil, but still lost some more. The bottom leaves also turn yellow.

Answer: Pansies are generally tough little plants so I suspect that there's a problem with the soil yours is planted in. Dursban is an insecticide and, if there were any grubs in the soil, an application should have taken care of them. I don't think grubs are what's ailing your pansies, however.

Pansies thrive in part shade, planted in rich, moist, well-draining soil with a pH level of 5.5 (acidic) to 7.0 (neutral). If your soil is alkaline, try adding some peat moss to lower the pH. Mulch the soil after planting to help keep the soil cool, retain moisture, and suppress weeds. Feed with a diluted solution of liquid fertilizer every 3-4 weeks and keep the spent flowers removed to prolong blooming. If you snip off the stem as well as the spent flowers, you'll keep the plant from getting leggy.

If the lower leaves are turning yellow and wilting, followed by wilting of the stem, I suspect the plants are being overwatered. This can happen if drainage is poor, so make sure the soil drains quickly after watering or after rainfall. If it doesn't, add some organic matter to the bed to loosen the soil and provide better drainage.

Hope you have better results with your next pansies!

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