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How Early Can I Plant My Annuals

Posted on April 25, 2017 in Garden, Garden Tips, Spring Gardening

Written by Jason VanderMey

Dear West Coast Gardens, is it too early for annuals?

Trust me, we only want what’s best for you and your garden! So, when we say you might have to wait just a couple more weeks to adopt those colourful annuals into your wonderful gardens, we have your best interests at heart.

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But I want my annuals now!

The warmer days and blue skies are tricking us all into breaking out the Birkenstocks and lemonade. But when the sun goes down and the stars come out, those garden beds are mighty cold! Much too cold for tender annuals to thrive.

However, keeping your annuals inside during the nights so that they won’t get hit with frosty dew can go a long way towards a beautiful summer garden. As well, if you plant them in containers and pots then they can safely live under protective eaves or other covered areas.

Since our homegrown annuals are all raised in cozy greenhouses it can be a shock to their system when they’re suddenly exposed to cold temperatures, especially when frosty dew appears. A few clear cold nights and suddenly your garden isn’t looking so hot.

Since our homegrown annuals are all raised in cozy greenhouses it can be a shock to their system when they’re suddenly exposed to cold temperatures, especially when frosty dew appears. A few clear cold nights and suddenly your garden isn’t looking so hot.

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So what is the magic number?

When night time temperatures average 10 degrees celsius, it’s the perfect time for filling the garden with those annuals. A general rule of (green) thumb is to wait until between Mother’s Day and Victoria Day. Historically this is when the bulk of spring planting is done successfully.

Why is everyone else selling annuals then? Well, I don’t think it’s any big secret that bright colourful blooms catch the customer’s eye. And many big box stores use spring as a time to lure customers into their stores without worrying about whether the purchased plants survive the night. If you’ve visited us at West Coast Gardens then you know we’re much more concerned with your garden’s success than a quick sale.

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What if I want to get a jumpstart on my garden?

Unlike other things in life (blockbuster movie lineups, jogging, reading skills…) starting early isn’t better for the annuals in your garden. Rather than larger and lusher plants this summer, you could end up damaging or stunting your plant’s growth when they get chilled in the cold night air. A recovery that requires more than a cup of tea and some chicken soup, in fact it can seriously harm your summer garden prospects, giving you smaller less healthy plants.

I advise patience. (Not impatiens, which are also an annual and need warmer nights.) You will be rewarded, as our homegrown annuals are gently transferred to your garden in mid-May they will continue to grow and flourish, giving you the bigger and better garden your were hoping for! This also saves you money, as you won’t have to replace all those languishing early planted annuals later on.

Ok, but what can I do right now in my garden?

Good news! There’s lots you can be doing in your garden right now to pass the time until mid-May. All of your shrubs, Rhododendrons and perennials can be planted. Perennials are raised in cool greenhouses and are hardy, cool weather plants. Looking for some colour? Pansies and Petunias will liven up your garden and patios!

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A few of my other favourite ideas are:

  • Stock up on soil so you’re all ready to plant! (Read our new article on Sea Soil for ideas!)
  • Clean up your pots from last year
  • Upgrade your pots to bigger or better ones
  • Plan your garden, including making notes on shady and sunny areas
  • Take an inventory of your fertilizer and garden tools
  • Clean out your irrigation system, especially ones for hanging baskets.

Trust me, your garden will thank you. We grow thousands of top-quality annuals from seed or cuttings and have years of experience selling to wholesale customers across Canada, as well as directly to you, our retail friends who visit our South Surrey location. I want to give your garden the best chance to thrill you this summer.

For updates on what annuals are ready, follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

Sincerely,
Jason 

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