Southern Gardening: Matrix, Delta pansies are great cool-season colors

 

Flowers with dark blotches such as these are thought of as a more traditional pansy, but pure color s selections called clear are available in the Matrix series.

Flowers with dark blotches such as these are thought of as a more traditional pansy, but pure color s selections called clear are available in the Matrix series. Photo by: Gary Bachman/MSU Extension

 

Gary Bachman

 

 

This week, I got to get back gardening after cleaning up the Hurricane Zeta debris. While visiting a garden center upstate, I was reminded that if you haven't done so already, now is the time to get your pansies planted for great cool-season color.

 

Stop in your favorite garden center now to find all kinds of colorful pansies ready for their new home landscapes. Pansies are among my go-to annuals, and there are some great selections available in the market.

 

My all-time favorite pansies belong to the Matrix and Delta series.

 

 

I think Matrix pansies are some of the toughest annual, cool-season color plants, which should be planted in everyone's garden and landscape. For several years, the Matrix group of pansies has been a great choice for gardeners in Mississippi.

 

Matrix offers a huge range of colors and styles. Flowers with dark blotches are thought of as a more traditional pansy. For pure color, though, there are blotchless selections that are called clear. A nice feature of the clear flowers is that the throat of each has a small, yellow eye.

 

Matrix pansies are also available in color-coordinated mixes instead of the traditional random color mixes.

 

Matrix pansies have freely branching growth habits and will reach about 8 inches tall and wide. When massed together as pansies were meant to be planted, they create an impressive, colorful landscape carpet.

 

Matrix pansies flower earlier, and the huge flowers are held above the foliage by strong stems. This structure allows the petals to flutter in the slightest breeze.

 

Delta is another group of pansies that will be a sure thing in your landscape.

 

A favorite of mine has been Delta Beaconsfield, which features brilliant yellow flowers with blotches that range in warm colors from burgundy to rusty red and orange.

 

My newest must-have is Delta Wine and Cheese. I love the clear flower colors that have no dark blotches. The mix of primrose, red, violet and smooth, pale-yellow shades are very much reminiscent of their actual wine and cheese namesakes. This mix is hard to find, and when I do find it, I buy, buy, buy.

 

Delta pansies have freely branching growth characteristics and will get 8 inches tall and wide. Delta pansies produce more flowers, and they bloom much earlier than other pansies. As with the Matrix pansies, Delta pansies have huge flowers that are held above the foliage by strong stems that allow the petals to flutter in a light breeze.

 

Be sure to maintain a consistent soil moisture, and feed your pansies with a water-soluble fertilizer, even during the winter months. Pansies are a great choice for winter flowering as the plants can freeze solid and thaw with little damage. In response to the cold, the leaves will be tinged purple.

 

When the plants freeze, the flowers are nipped back, but once it gets a little warmer, the flowering gets revved up again.

 

Matrix and Delta pansies will give you nonstop color to get you through the winter. The short, sturdy stems resist stretching, which means the plants will look good long after the days begin warming up in the spring.

 

Buy your Matrix and Delta pansies now so you get the best selection. In no time at all, your flower beds and containers will be pansying and ready for months to come, and they will continue looking good into spring.

 

Gary Bachman is an Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi and hosts Southern Gardening television and radio programs. Contact him at [email protected]

 

 

 

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