Pansy Fertilizer Tips & Programs

Pansies are a versatile crop being grown for spring and fall sales. Diverse cultivars are available from a number of breeders with solid face colors, mottled face colors as well as large and small flower forms. Pansies are hardy in most parts of the country as long as they are planted early enough in the landscape in order to fully establish themselves and are allowed to harden off. Pansies are currently being sold in a variety of containers, including 606 cell packs, 4” pots, 10” bowls or pans and Hanging Baskets. They also provide unique color choices for mixed fall combinations.

Different soilless mixes may be used for Pansy production, including mixtures of peat, perlite, rice hulls and composted pine bark. The media should provide good air space and be well drained. The starting pH should be adjusted between 5.7-6.2 for soilless mixes. Iron and Boron are two micro elements in high demand for optimal Pansy growth. These two micronutrients decrease in availablity when the pH rises above 5.8. pH during Pansy production should be maintained between 5.4-5.7 for soilless media and 5.6-6.0 for soil-based substrate.

EC levels should be maintained between 0.75-1.5 mS to promote good growth. Pansies are light feeders with a constant feed of 100 ppm N being suffiecient. In addition to their high demand for Iron and Boron, pansies also require 12.5-50 ppm of Magnesium, depending on their stage of growth.


Starting from seed, pansies should be fed with Plantex Solutions 15-2-20 Pansy Special. Pansy Special has a slight basic soil reaction but has a 3:1.5 Ca:Mg ratio and higher levels of Boron, Molybdenum, Iron, and Magnesium.


Pansy fertilizer, as with all crops, is dependent upon the quality of the irrigation water being used. Options are available for various alkalinity levels. Acid injection (usually sulfuric acid) is used when the alkalinity level is above 250 ppm CaCO3 for growers who want a constant feeding program. MPPI can provide water tests to determine your alkalinity level and general water nutrient levels. Based on your water analysis, we can determine which fertilizer schedule would work for you.

For all water types, if extra Boron is required, as indicated from a soil test, drench the soil with 0.25 oz per 100 gallons of Solubor. Boron deficiency shows up as mottled younger growth and distorted leaves in severe situations. If acid is not an alternative, rotation between acidic blends and a Cal Mag is suggested. The fertilizer analysis suggested would be determined by the water sample results but in general the following guidelines apply:


Water alkalinity between 75-100 ppm CaCO3 with low Cal/Mg levels:
Use Plantex® Solutions 17-5-17 Complete at 100 ppm N, alternated with Plantex 17-4-19 Pansy at 100 ppm N. Keep soil pH between 5.4-5.7.


Water alkalinity between 150-200 ppm CaCO3 with low Cal/Mg levels:
Option 1 – Use Plantex Solutions 19-8-13 Complete Plus at 100 ppm N, alternated every other feeding with Plantex 17-4-19 at 100 ppm N.

Option 2 – Use Plantex 20-10-20 All Purpose High N or Plantex Solutions 19-2-19 Fertility Plus to provide extra Iron, Manganese, and Magnesium. Fertility Plus has a lower amount of Phosphorus which also helps to keep pansies compact. Alternate every third watering with Plantex 17-4-19 to provide enough Boron, Iron and Magnesium.


Water alkalinity greater than 250 ppm CaCO3:
Option 1 – Use acid as mentioned above. Use Plantex Solutions 17-5-17 at 100 ppm N, alternated with Plantex 17-4-19 at 100 ppm N. Check pH of soil to keep pH between 5.4-5.7.

Option 2 – Use Plantex Solutions 18-9-18 pH Reducer and alternate every 2nd or 3rd watering with Plantex 17-4-19. Make sure you check your pH to keep it between 5.4-6.0. pH Reducer will decrease the pH in the soil and will also provide extra Iron, Manganese, Zinc and Boron.


Pansy Fertilizer should be reduced in the 2-3 weeks prior to shipping and Plantex Solutions 15-0-20 No-Stretch® should be used to maintain compact but sturdy growth.

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