Planting Annuals – Not So Fast

Flats of marigolds ready for planting

Annuals are in every garden center and big box store now and look beautiful. But this is the first week of April, and our general frost date is around April 15. Monday morning of this week we had a light frost, and if there is anything usual about our weather there is generally a mid-April cold snap and often a freeze. One of my experienced gardening friends never plants tender annuals or vegetable transplants until after April 21. A good gauge for me is the annual Plant Sale at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens which is the weekend of April 12. So what can I plant now? Plant any trees and shrubs, but remember if they are in bloom and we have a freeze, the blooms might be hurt. Perennials especially the spring flowering types, peonies, and vegetable transplants of lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower can be planted now. Onions, garlic, and chives are fine to plant either just the bulbs or transplants. And of course potato cuts with eyes are ready to be put in the ground. So there are plenty things you can plant now, just hold off on planting your summer annuals for several weeks.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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