When to plant flowers

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Wondering when to plant flowers? Fortunately, there are so many different types of flowers that there’s always something to plant!

Most flowers are planted in the spring, simply because that’s when flowers are well-stocked in garden centers. Some types of flowers are tolerant of frost and freezing temperatures, while other plants must be kept indoors until after the last frost of springtime.

Cold-hardy annuals include Petunia, Calendula, Pansy, Calibrachoa, Sweet Peas, Cosmos, and Cornflower. Annuals that are harmed by freezing include Begonia, Coleus, Marigolds, Salvia, Zinnia, and Impatiens. Perennials and flowering shrubs are tolerant to cold within their defined hardiness zone, although they might be set back in their spring growth by a late cold snap.

Flowers can also be planted later on in the summertime, although they may suffer in the heat (particularly if not watered thoroughly). Fall is perhaps the best time to plant many types of long-lived flowers, especially bare root perennials like peonies and flowering shrubs like roses. Winter is a great time to plant flowers indoors and to order seeds for spring planting.

Read on to learn all about when to plant flowers in your garden!

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Different flowers for different seasons

Different flowers grow best in different seasons. Flowers need to be well tended to, so growing flowers in welcoming conditions are best. In most places, the harsh seasons are summer for heat and winter for cold. This leaves spring and falls as the best seasons for flowers to be planted and grow.

Wherever your garden is located, the first thing to do is to determine the average date of the last spring frost in your area. You’ll also want to investigate the average date of the first autumn frost. You’ll also want to determine your local growing zone.

Once you have an idea of the local climate and the timing of changes in the seasons, it’s time to investigate the specific flowers you’re growing. Hardy flowers like Cosmos, Sweet Peas, and Cornflower can survive frosts, while tender annuals like Zinnia and Salvia need to be protected from cold temperatures until all danger of frost has passed.

For example, if someone wants to grow roses in San Deigo, California, they could likely plant the rose shrubs anytime between November to May. These cooler months are great for planting long-lived types of flowers like roses, which will hopefully live for many years to come.

If you want to plant roses in New York City, the timeline is entirely different due to the frozen ground during the winter. Roses can be planted between October to December – until the ground freezes. Roses can be planted again in the early spring when the ground thaws, often between March-May.

Every type of flower will need to be matched to its climate and growing season. You can give your blooms the best chance of success by finding the right time to plant them.

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Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of Home for the Harvest. She's also a professional engineer, certified permaculture garden designer, and master gardener in training. Mary Jane has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, Heirloom Gardener, and Family Handyman.