None of the spring bulbs I've bought give me any idea when it is safe to
put them in the ground.
I'm in north zone 5 on a hillside that is a bit colder than the rest of
the county. We still have one last patch of ice in the yard and my
compost heap is still frozen but my bulbs are growing like gangbusters.
The stuff I bought includes:
1. Dahlias (regular and the spiny type). I potted up last year's which I
stored in peat in the basement to see if I could give them a head start
(and figure out if they are still alive.) I am wondering if I should pot
up the new ones to give them a head start, too. I was told I can't plant
these until no frost and last year mine seemed to take forever to grow
from roots and they flowered later than everyone else's I saw on my
walks, though they did eventually have pretty flowers. Should I pot the
new ones to get a head start or just wait until it's warmer?
2. Lily of the Valley - I've got a lot of woodsy shade that won't grow
much under some oaks. I read online that they probably won't flower
3. Balloon flower.
4. Clematis (well, there's a bit of help with them. The packages says
"when the ground temperature is 50 degrees". Does that mean they can
withstand a night frost? The ones I got are teensy and I stuck these in
potting soil with a stick to climb as they were already growing in the
bag. From reading about them online, it sounds like maybe I should grow
them in big containers on my deck this summer and plant them in
September. I'd like to have them grow on the trellis surrounding our
deck where we had a really nice show of Morning glories last year. It
isn't full sun by any stretch of the imagination, but the morning
glories didn't seem to mind, so I'm hoping they clematis won't either.
Also, what about planting dianthus? I found some for sale next to the
pansies and wondered if this means I can put them in the ground now.
I learned an amazing amount about gardening here last year and am really
excited about what I'm going to be able to do this year.
Pot them. You could get some of those brown pots (usually called peat
pots, but I see them with all sorts of names) that will go away in the
soil over time and just plant pot and all when there is no danger of
frost. I saw some here at either Wal-Mart or Lowe's the other day
that were plenty big to start dahlias in. If you wait until after
frost and plant them out in the garden, it will just be that much
longer before you have flowers.
I have no idea. One of the common garden plants that I have never
tried. I see them every year and think about buying some but I know
they will be everywhere the next year too and I keep saying "nah, get
this more unique plant first." And so I never buy them.
I wouldn't plant clematis out until there is no chance of frost.
Actually for young plants, your deck probably would be a great place
to get them started since it sounds like it does not have really
intense sun. Clematis like mulch to keep the roots cool and it is a
litter harder to keep them happy in pots than in the ground if they
are in the hot sun. I bought some clematis last year and just planted
them out, little plants that I picked up in bags at Wal-Mart. They
both had new growth and looked pretty happy. They both died. This
year I bought a couple but planted them in pots. I will let them grow
for a few weeks and then plant them outside.
If they are the perennial type, yeah. If they are the annuals I would
wait until it stops freezing to even buy any.
The fact that they were next to pansies means little, unfortunately.
I saw all sorts of cold sensitive plants at Lowe's and Wal-Mart two
weeks ago and we had a 28 degree night after that. Things like
peppers and tomatoes - even if they were not killed the peppers would
never recover to be the plants they would have been without the
You have to be wary both of buying plants too early in spring and
buying shrubs, trees and perennials that are not really hardy in your
area. I have seen a lot of plants hardy to zone 8 and even 9 sold
here in 6b as perennials, even though most of them would not survive
even a mild winter here. Often they will have tags on them that will
say how cold hardy they really are, which amuses me to no end. I
guess nobody bothers to take their dead plants back to Lowe's because
I see all sorts of plants every year being sold as perennials with
that one-year guarantee that I KNOW will not survive the winter.
It gets more fun every year that you do it. Of course if you are like
some of us, it becomes more and more work every year too, but the
payoff is usually worth it.
pull the weeds to email me: snipped-for-privacy@WEEDSgmail.com
The clematis I bought were the cheap ones in bags at Wal-mart too, so
I'll baby them.
I bought a bunch of expensive shrubs last year at the local upscale
privately-owned garden center staffed by grad students from U. Mass's
horticulture program before I'd had a chance to start learning anything.
They turned out to not to be hardy enough for my microclimate (their
label which I didn't look at until they were in the ground said zone 6,
and I'm in the part of Zone 5 that is really more like 4.75!) They
look pretty dismal this spring, though the guy I talked to there claims
they may bounce back in a couple weeks.
In contrast, the cheap shrubs I bought at Home Depot and and on closeout
at another local place looks great. Grew like gangbusters last year and
they are full of buds now. So that taught me something--probably that
the stuff they sell at Home Depot is the stuff that is hard to kill and
that the fancy place sells things that require more knowledge than I have.
OTHO, all the bedding plants I bought at Home Depot and Wal-mart were
crap and did very poorly, while the stuff I bought at a couple local
places did extremely well. Right now, there's a 36" wide impatiens plant
sitting near my sliding glass door which has been completely full of
blooms all winter long. I bought it in a pack of 6 for $2.50 last
spring, planted it on a rocky bank with almost no soil, transplanted it
into a big pot in the soil it was sitting in with the builder's bark
mulch still attached in October and watched it flower its little heart
out all winter--in an eastern exposure window. Needless to say, I intend
to buy a lot of plants from the lady who sold it to me (she grows them
herself), even though she's a long drive from me on a nearly
inaccessible road. She had dahlias for sale that I didn't know enough to
buy last year, but this year, you better believe I'm buying them.
In short, a lot of what I learned last year was what to buy where. I'm
lucky our area has a great number of places to buy plants chain and
locally-owned and even a couple places that grow their own.
The work part is okay--gardening on my hilly lot is my exercise program.
I would much rather get stiff and sore doing something that results in
something beautiful rather than wasting time at some gym being forced to
listen to dreadful music!
timorous barghest wrote:
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.