Pansies (Viola × wittrockiana) bring color to cool-season gardens with their cheery flowers. Pansies technically grow as perennials in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 10, but they're usually grown as annuals. Pansies may wilt for several reasons, so make sure you know what's causing it before you start treating the problem.
Water the Flowerbed
Pansies need consistently moist, but not soggy, soil. Not providing pansies with enough water is the most common reason they die. Leaf curling and wilting are the first signs of drought stress. If your pansies are wilted and the surrounding soil looks or feels dry, water the area immediately. Water again as soon as the top 1 inch of soil dries out.
Rapidly fluctuating soil temperatures can stress pansies, causing wilting and blossom loss. Mulch insulates the soil from these temperature changes, helping to keep the soil at a more consistent temperature. Mulch also reduces evaporation, further protecting against drought-related stress.
Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the pansies. You have several mulching options, including:
- Shredded leaves
- Bark chips
- Shredded bark
- Certified weed-free straw
Fertilize the Flowers
Soil nutrient deficiencies can contribute to poor plant health, weak stems and wilted foliage. Fertilizing regularly guards against this, enhancing pansy flowering and increasing plant health and vigor. If your pansies appear wilted, have pale leaves or aren't blossoming, fertilize them with a 5-10-5 garden fertilizer at a rate of 1/2 pound for every 25 square feet of flower bed.
Occasionally, pansies become infested with pests, including whiteflies and aphids. These insects suck on the juices in the pansy plant's stems and foliage, causing wilting, leaf loss and blossom loss. Blasting the pests from the pansies with a strong spray of water from a garden hose is often enough to keep pest populations at levels too low to cause much damage.
If this fails to keep pansies pest-free, make your own homemade insecticide spray.
Clean and rinse a plastic spray bottle.
Add 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap to the bottle.
Pour in 1 quart of fresh water.
Close the bottle and shake it to thoroughly mix the soapy solution.
Spray the soap spray on all exposed surfaces of the pansy plant. The spray kills insects on contact.
Repeat once a week until pest problems subside.
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