Paul Masson would “sell no wine before its time” and we do not pull plants before their time.
We have three seasonal change outs at Tucker Hill each year, one more than many communities in the Metroplex, but two less than a select few. We base our major change outs on several factors; day length, average first/ last frost dates, and annual temperature averages, for starters.
In mid-October, we plant pansies and their companion plants. Pansies are cool-weather plants and will take several hard freezes but not tolerate heat. We wait until mid October, for at least the night-time temperatures to drop, before we plant pansies. By mid April, the pansies have given us 6 months of color. As it starts warming up, the pansies will decline rapidly. When plants have passed their prime, and are declining, they are more susceptible to pests and pathogens.
We pull the pansies in early spring to make room for petunias. Petunias are a good transition plant between the pansies that have reached their peak and the heat loving plants that are not ready to go in the ground quite yet. Spring demands a fresh planting, even though it is too early for many of the heat loving plants like lantana, angelonia, or profusion zinnias to be planted. Petunias are also cool weather plants, but they will not take the freezes that pansies can. They will not do well in the heat either, but for a few months of spring they provide wonderful color when cold hardy plants and heat loving plants will not. Petunias are planted to ensure color throughout the community during the spring transitional time period.
When the number of sunny hours per day increases, and the heat of the sun grows more intense, it is time for summer color. Lantana, angelonia, zinnias, vinca, scaevola, purslane, pentas, (and more) will do very well with a lot of heat and not so much water. We like these plants to be showing lots of color going in the ground in June, and get only better for fall color in September and the beginning of October.
And that brings us back to the pansy and its companion plants in mid-October. Now you know, there is a natural and orderly flow here at Tucker Hill based on research, observation, and experience.