The Q&A Archives: Petunians And Painsies

Question: How can you keep these two plants in bloom all summer besides pinching them back? And what's the lowest temperature they can stand at night?

Answer: Pansies prefer cool weather and generally do not bloom in the summer, in some cases they sulk so badly or even die in the heat so that many gardeners plant them in the fall, enjoy them the following spring and then yank them out. Newly purchased spring pansies may need to be acclimated to the outdoors gradually if they have just come straight out of a sheltered greenhouse. Petunias, on the other hand, do not withstand frost at all, particularly in the spring when they are young and tender. They too will need to be acclimated and should be protected from frost.

The best way to get maximum bloom from both of these plants is to remove the spent or faded flowers regularly, plant them in a rich soil, and keep them moist but not soggy. A regular fertilization program is also helpful as is good soil preparation prior to planting by adding copious amounts of organic matter such as compost, rotted leaves, or aged stable manure and bedding.

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