Plant These Great New Pansies Now!

Last spring, Grumpy was privileged to attend the Ball Horticultural Company's fields trials in California. In addition to reconnecting with my acid-rock roots, I also got to preview some of the premier new plant introductions for 2010. One of them impressed me so much that I profiled it in my story, "Cheerful Advice from our Grumpy Gardener," in the September issue of Southern Living.

It's the 'Plentifall' pansy. You may have read about it first in my April post, "Suffering to Bring You New Flowers." But you couldn't plant them then. You can now.

What makes these pansies so special in the Grump's estimation?

'Plentifalls' are among the first trailing pansies, each plant spreading about 18 inches wide. In flower beds, they grow flat on the ground and fill in to form a solid sweep of color, like this below.

If you plant them in containers, they'll cascade over the sides and practically hide the container with blooms. This display on a garden center bench gives you some idea.

They're also extremely cold-hardy, easily surviving sub-zero temps. One of Grumpy's big beefs regarding pansies is that when I plant them in fall as instructed, they look nice until winter, when a big freeze invariably turns them to mush, and I don't get any more blooms until April. 'Plentifalls' don't do this.

Where O Where Can I Get Them?

Any new plant takes a while to get out there. Grumpy can't guarantee they'll be available where you live, but they should be any day now. You can't get them through the mail. So ask for them at Lowe's, Home Depot, and better garden centers near you.

Plant them in fertile, well-drained soil. Full sun is best, but they'll also take part sun. Give them a drink of water soluble fertilizer (the blue stuff) at planting and keep the soil moist, but not soaked. Plant them farther apart than normal pansies -- remember, they spread. Mulching between the plants before they spread is a good way to go. Or you could plant spring bulbs, like daffodils, between these pansies now and enjoy a layer cake of color next spring.

Bring Me My Steed!

Everyone in Lexington, Kentucky (and indeed the entire world) is thrilled that Grumpy will be speaking at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on October 4 at 11 AM and 2 PM. I'm scared of big animals like horses, so I don't plan on riding, unless the folks there confuse this event with the Kentucky Derby and fill me with mint juleps. Oh, and Jon Carloftis (if you're reading), a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle wouldn't hurt.

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