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Need spring color now?

Plant some pansies. After recent snows gave them a dose of moisture, and with temperatures heating up along the Front Range, some early spring bulbs are hinting at the color to come. Crocuses, hyacinths and even some daffodils and tulips are showing their faces.
The warm days might inspire you to add some color to your landscape. However, keep in mind that April in Colorado could still bring us heavy snowfall. Wait at least six weeks to plant most annuals.
If you’re really feeling the itch to get out and garden, consider planting some cool-hardy pansies. Pansies are anything but when it comes to withstanding the frost.
When you go pick out your pansies:

  • Check with garden center staff that the flowers you are purchasing are ready to plant. Pansies should be hardened off before putting them in the ground. If they have been kept outdoors at the garden center, they are probably hardened off and ready to plant.
  • Be aware that pansies that haven’t yet been hardened off need some protected outside time to get used to the outdoors. They need to adjust to night-time temps more than they need sunshine. Keep them outside on the patio in a protected area for about five nights before planting. If there is a frost or hard freeze, bring them indoors.
  • Keep an eye on the temperatures at night. Once planted, pansies are frost-hardy but will be seriously damaged by a hard freeze. If temps fall below 28 degrees, protect the plants from freeze damage like you would annuals in the early fall. Cover them with household items like sheets, blankets or towels (but not plastic).

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