Growing Pansies In Winter
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Let me tell you," says C. L. Meller of Wisconsin, "how I have obtained rather inexpensive, though very pretty floral decorations from the pansy, and that without going to a florist. You can have pansies any winter month in bloom if you will follow directions, and if you have a pansy bed, or can get a few plants from one.
Remove the winter covering from the bed and dig up a few plants, roots and all, nor hesitate even though the ground is frozen solid, Then take the plants into the coolest part of the cellar or basement, there to thaw the ground out thoroughly, but not too rapidly. Leave the plants there for a week at least, taking care, however, that the ground does not become too dry and hard. When the soil around the roots has warmed somewhat, and is just dry enough so it can be worked easily, place each plant in a 5 or 6-inch flower-pot. Do not pack, but firm the soil well around the roots. Then saturate each pot with lukewarm water. If you have not dug up enough dirt with the plants to fill each pot, get a few shovelfuls from the richest field on the place and mix about one-fourth sand with it. Warm it like the other soil. This ought to make excellent potting soil.
"After the plants have been watered allow the surplus water to drain off and place them in a warmer but not a much lighter place for a few days more. After this, place them in the warmest, sunniest window in the house. In about three weeks from the time they are placed in the window they ought to be nicely in bloom. As soon as a blossom shows signs f wilting, cut it off to give the buds a better chance. There is one drawback to the pansy used in this manner; plant lice are very apt to attack it, but seldom until at least two crops of flowers have been produced. When the lice do make their appearance, the best remedy is to throw away the pansies, when the lice will likewise disappear and will not bother your other pansies.