Hanging baskets require more intensive care then other container plants. Air circulates around the entire planter and causes drying faster than in gardens or floor container gardens. Pansies provide a beautiful plant for use in hanging containers. This annual plant likes temperatures around 60 degrees F and prefers a full-sun location. Care of a hanging pansy requires proper planting and maintenance to keep the planter looking healthy and beautiful.
Hanging plants require new potting soil at initial planting to promote plant health. Fresh potting soil also contains a small amount of fertilizers and nutrients for healthy growth. Reusing potting soil risks exposing a plant to soil-borne disease and pests. For plants that overwinter in containers, remove the plant from the old soil. Shake the roots clean and dump the container. Rinse thoroughly, pour in fresh potting soil and replace the pansy in the basket.
Pansies prefer full-sun locations, provided outdoor temperatures don't reach scorching in midsummer. Move the hanging pansy to a partial sun location as the temperature increases to limit burning. Any wilting indicates lack of water and likely the need for relocation.
Air exposes all sides of a container-bound plant to drying. Hanging pansies need regular watering and in some cases watering multiple times each day. Test the soil daily by pressing the dirt with your finger. Dry, powdery soil or a gray color indicates the need for watering. If soil feels moist, check again later in the day. Pay close attention to the moisture levels during the sunniest, hottest days, since container-grown plants dry very quickly.
The confines of a container require the gardener to supply additional nutrients for plant health. Select a basic fertilizer in granular or water-soluble form with ratio of 1-2-1 to promote both flowers and foliage. Follow package instructions for mixing rates. Plan to fertilize at least every other week during the active growing season. Bright green foliage and abundant flowers indicate the pansy is receiving plenty of nutrients.
Like most annual plants, hanging pansies require pruning to maintain their appearance. Deadheading removes spent flower blooms to prevent seed formation. Clip back dying pansy blooms where the flower stem meets the denser clump of foliage. Pruning promotes branching and fullness of foliage as well as directing the plant's energy toward flower production.