5 THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT SPRING PLANTING
This is the time of year when days are getting longer and we all yearn to be outside. This is especially true for many of our customers who are enjoying their first Spring in their new homes. While the great weather beckons us to be outdoors, it also drives folks to garden and home centers like a flock of birds returning north. Everyone wants to make the most of their patios and yards, and almost instinctively, we start planting. Before spending an entire Saturday (along with all your hard-earned money) at the garden center, here are 5 things to keep in mind about spring planting:
1. Avoid the garden center on the busiest days –
Saturday and Sunday. You are likely to get a better selection during the week, and you won’t have to fight the crowds. Plus, you’re far more likely to get help from a knowledgeable person.
2. Know the difference between Annuals and Perennials.
Annual plants are basically disposable. They die at the end of the season. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them for color in beds and containers, just remember that you will have to replace them. These include marigolds, pansies, and the like.
Perennial plants come back next year, hence the name. They may die back at the end of the season, but it means you won’t have to replace them next spring. Hostas are a good example.
3. Color sells, but buyer beware.
Garden centers use colorful blooming plants to entice you – and who doesn’t enjoy colorful flowers? Be sure that the colorful blooms you buy today will continue blooming throughout the season. Some plants will bloom only once. (Native azaleas and some daylilies are a good example.) Other plants may require that you remove dying blooms before new ones will appear (this is called “deadheading.”) If you don’t want to tend plants all summer, avoid these. They include most geraniums, daisies and petunias.
4. The right plant for the right place.
It’s simple – some plants like hot sun and some like shade. Read the tags and ask questions. Strive to get drought-tolerant plants. Our summers can be very hot and dry. Unless you are planting them where you can water them very frequently, look for plants that will hold up in the heat. Just because the garden center sells it doesn’t mean it will do well in our climate. If in doubt, there are plenty of resources online.
5. When it comes to trees and shrubs, plant them in the fall.
It may seem counter-intuitive to hold off planting trees and shrubs until fall, but you’ll have far greater success. Planting trees and shrubs now means that they (and you) will struggle all summer trying to keep them from frying in the Lowcountry heat. In addition to the money you spend on plants, you’ll spend a fortune on water too. Fall weather, especially in the Lowcountry, is far more conducive to planting shrubs and trees. In fact, the later in fall that you plant, the better. The mild weather of our fall and winter months will be gentle on your plants and will allow them to develop stronger, deeper root systems. You won’t have to water nearly as much, giving them a deeper soaking less frequently. Even deciduous trees (those that shed their leaves) will fare much better over winter and will be prepared to thrive in the warm sun of spring and summer.