Tender Plants – Wait A Bit Before You Plant

Tomatoes need to be planted up to their first set of leaves. Planting them deep encourages root growth.

Colorful petunias are considered tender annuals, as are most of the summer annuals that are in garden centers now.

Why would I make such a bold statement about waiting to plant? The reason is simply this. The soil temperatures are still too cold to encourage root growth on plants that love summer temperatures. A quick look at the night temperatures this week tells me that at best the soil in the sun may be approaching 50 degrees a few inches below the surface. I have always said wait and plant tender annuals and vegetables like tomatoes after April 15. A gardener friend has always said wait to plant until the last week in April. One thing for sure is this year she is right. And plants like eggplant and peppers really will just sit until they get good warm soil. A friend of mine said that the tomatoes he planted in March had a bit of frost damage last week. So if you have bought your tender annuals, simply keep them watered and leave them in the containers they were bought in at least until next week. You will improve the success of having beautiful summer plants even though they might be a little late showing off this year.

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.

2 thoughts on “Tender Plants – Wait A Bit Before You Plant

  1. John, hope you are well. I have transplanted the four tomato plants in pots. I’ve noticed on one of the plants, possibly two, there are white spots appearing on the leaves. What should I do?

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