What to plant when

scraplollyJuly 27, 2008

Hi!

I'm new to gardening. We've spent the summer, so far, taking out the stuff we don't want--now it is time to think about planting.

I understand I can plant perennials anytime--is that so? I'm beginning to think it's really getting a bit late...

Spring Bulbs are to be planted in the fall about a week or so before the first snow, right? I did plant some only a few hours before our first snow one year (and it didn't go away). They were a joy to see that following Spring!

And shrubs. When's the latest?

Just to give you an idea of the timing of our seasons, here --our first frost free date is usually around the May long weekend--and all outdoor construction usually ceases by the third week of October. (Leaves start turning in early September, usually they're all off the trees well before Halloween)

If there's no way for you to let me know (given that I am uneasy about giving out a more precise location)--what's the best way for me to find out?

Thanks!

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marricgardens

We plant all our trees and shrubs in the fall because it is cooler, usually fall is fairly wet and if you do it now, thing have a good root system before winter. Perennials, I plant in either spring or fall. I don't plant in summer because where we are the sun and wind are very intense at times, making planting then hard on the plants. If I had shade (I don't yet, my trees aren't growing fast enough!) then go I would go ahead and plant, making sure to keep things well watered. Hope this helps. About the only bulbs I grow are lilies and dahlias. I start them early inside and then plant them outside. Before planting them right in the garden, I harden them off first, putting outside in a sheltered spot for a few hours each day. Hope this helps. Marg

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 9:02AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Most perennials can be planted any time, you get a deal at a nursery. LOL The plant will usually be happier in the ground than in a small plastic container.

The preferred time would be about a month before the big freeze, but if you get some now, by all means put them in. You will have to water more in the hot spells of August and early September. Another general rule is that it is best to move plants when they are not in flower. Similarly with shrubs, when it is cooler, it is a preferred time to move. Those are generalities. Some plants have more specific needs, so without any information about what type of plant you are interested in, it is very difficult to give definitive information.

I hope that helps allay any concerns that you have about planting & transplanting.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 9:04AM
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scraplolly

Thank you both.

I'd like to plant a small dogwood, Ivory Halo, into a shady spot on the North side of my house.

I haven't actually decided on any others, yet!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 11:04AM
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ianna(Z5b)

"I understand I can plant perennials anytime--is that so? I'm beginning to think it's really getting a bit late.."

In the summer, best plant when it's overcast, when it's rainy, or in the evening or early morning. When it's hot, sunny and dry, it's not ideal - it can cause the plants to suffer.

"Spring Bulbs are to be planted in the fall about a week or so before the first snow, right? I did plant some only a few hours before our first snow one year (and it didn't go away). They were a joy to see that following Spring!"

Spring bulbs require cold treatment in order to germinate. If the ground was soft enough to plant, then it was fine. Some people even waited it out in Feb or March when the grounds here in Ontario thawed out a bit. - However I'd advise you not to wait too long. Bulbs do suffer from rot or other disease when not planted in a reasonable amount of time.

"And shrubs. When's the latest? "

before the grounds freeze for the winter. roots are just starting to go dormant and so it sort of protects them for transplant shock. Make sure you top dress it with mulch and when it's snowing add more snow for insulation

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 3:28PM
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scraplolly

Fantastic, ianna.

I want to get out there are plant something!

It won't hurt to wait about another month or so. I'll just keep on planning!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 4:00PM
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scraplolly

I was reading last night that to plant shrubs, I should put them in 4-6 weeks before the first frost.

I just looked up our first fall frost date--50% chance it is Sept 10. (The mean average date)

I have less time than I thought!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 10:43AM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

I have planted and divided perennials quite late in the year before (Mid November was the latest I can remember doing anything). This doesn't mean that what I did was ideal though - I just inherited a plant at that time and it needed attention if it was going to have any chance to survive. Normally, I'm on the cautious side when it comes to planting perennials late.

The reason why you want to avoid it as much as possible, is because planting, dividing, or transplanting all cause new growth. If this new growth happens after the plant has started to go into dormancy, then the plant will not be as prepared for an early winter freeze as if it had been left alone.

There is a *lot* of wiggle room though. Many plants are quite tough and are able to handle this sort of thing with no trouble at all. Others are more fragile and may not be able to go fully dormant before they freeze and they may die. Ultimately it depends on what you're planting and where you live. When in doubt, plant all your plants before the middle of September, but if you see a great deal on a plant later in the year, don't be afraid to grab it and try.

Having said all that - you are in no danger at all of running out of time, unless you get really cold, really fast (don't know where you live). I would say 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes is a better timeline to follow for perennials.

BP

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 5:37PM
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