I thought flowers would be cheerful. I don't know a thing about flowers.
April 14, 2020 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Taking advantage of our florist's pay and then pick up (no contact) service, I purchased some pansies. Now suddenly it's been colder the usual (40 degrees F today) and even the net says our last frost could be as late 4/27. What is the best way to keep these babies healthy until it's warm enough to plant/frost time is over?
posted by intrepid_simpleton to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Response by poster: That should have said "greenhouse." Aren't the florists the ones who make bouquets?
posted by intrepid_simpleton at 12:26 PM on April 14, 2020

Pansies handle 40 degree temperatures like champs. If it drops lower, you can cover them with fabric (I use landscaping fabric, but I suspect tarps, sheets, or towels would be ok) or use some of the other materials suggested by Home Depot.
posted by marfa, texas at 12:42 PM on April 14, 2020 [5 favorites]

I think this is generally okay for pansies. Agreed that you can cover them (I use shower curtains or storage bins upside down over them, my mother has always used old sheets) if it's threatening a hard frost or ice storm. If you've been having warmer days, the ground isn't going to be that cold and the temperatures at pansy-height should stay well above freezing as long as wind chills aren't extreme.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Can you keep them inside the house until the end of April? Or at least bring them in on colder nights?

If not, a couple of things to keep plants warmer outside:
If they're going to be in a pot, a bigger pot holding more soil will retain its warmth better than a smaller pot.
If you can locate them closer to the house they'll be able to get warmth from the house and the house will also help block the wind. Also, if you can keep them on the side of the house that gets afternoon/evening sun the sun's heat will radiate off the house to the plants once it gets dark.
You can also do things like use milk jugs or pop/water bottles as "greenhouses" to help raise the temperature.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:02 PM on April 14, 2020

Are they in small squares, or big pots?

If in bigger pots, I just pull them in against the house. If its going to be colder that freezing, I'll cover them.
In in small squares, I'll put them in the garage, covered most nights.
posted by Ftsqg at 1:04 PM on April 14, 2020

Pansies are TOUGH. They can take very, very cold weather. I've seen pansies covered with snow that bounced right back. What hurts them eventually is warm weather. Pansies are so tough that here in Chicago—right now— I have baby pansies that are sprouting (and blooming!) from seeds dropped from last year's pansies. And only the daffodils are up right now.. it's still early. The word "pansy" is not what folks think it means.

Another tip: keep them moist. A dry plant will suffer from cold snaps much worse than a well-watered plant.

ALSO: where are you located? A geographical location would help answering this question. I've worked in retail annual sales in a fancy-pants garden center, by the way. I'd be working there right now again this year if it wasn't for Covid 19.
posted by SoberHighland at 1:16 PM on April 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

Pansies should be fine... if there's a freeze warning, bring them inside or put a blanket on top (if they're in the ground), as others have recommended.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:32 PM on April 14, 2020

The pansies I planted last fall survived an entire Missouri winter and are blooming profusely now. They can handle pretty cold temperatures.
posted by Ostara at 2:07 PM on April 14, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks all. They're in (a) a hanging basket and (b) small squares, so no worries about pulling them in. Here's to spring!
posted by intrepid_simpleton at 2:08 PM on April 14, 2020

I've had a bucket of pansies blooming since November, over a Great Lakes winter. I accidentally left them outside in a snowstorm, and when it melted they looked a little droopy but within a week they bounced right back! They will be absolutely fine!! They're such happy flowers - enjoy them!
posted by deep thought sunstar at 2:27 PM on April 14, 2020

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