It’s hard to know when to do what in the garden during our fickle Carolina spring. A weekend with temperatures in the 70s might find us enthusiastically planting tender annuals, and the next weekend covering them with sheets and hoping for the best as temps dip below freezing.
Here are a few tips to keep you blooming and growing.
Although the colorful displays may tempt you, don’t plant annuals anywhere in the Allen Tate areas until at least after April 15. April 26 may be even better.
In October, plant pansies and violas among spring flowering bulbs, and they will provide a perky display until it’s time for spring annuals.
Perennials and Native Plants
Late blooming perennials (such as mums, black-eyed Susan’s, and perennial ornamental grasses) are best planted in spring. Chrysanthemums, day lilies, Shasta daisies, asters and others can be planted any time from early spring until hot weather arrives.
- Choose a cool, cloudy, or damp day to plant, or plant in late afternoon.
- Plant in good soil; create a basin of soil or mulch around each plant; and give a good, soaking watering. Check that the water drains well.
- Mulch after planting.
Perennial clumps already coming up in your garden can be dug, divided and replanted now. But let the spring-flowering ones, such as bearded irises and primrose, stay put until after they bloom.
Native plants will be resilient to our Carolina pests and summers. Look for and include natives in your garden plan.
During the remainder of April, look for cool weather crops. This includes lettuce, cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower. You’ll find young plants of these veggies in the garden centers now, ready to plant.
Start your summer garden – tomatoes, eggplants, summer squash, cucumbers and peppers – from mid-April to early May at the latest. Optimal planting times for other vegetables vary, so be sure to consult a planting guide for your region of North Carolina or South Carolina if your garden is diverse.
To Prune or Not to Prune
Pruning hollies, laurels, boxwoods, ligustrums, cleyeras and nandinas growing in the Carolinas is best done in late winter, before new growth begins, so mark your garden schedule and take care of that next year.
However, azaleas, forsythia, rhododendrons, camellias, pieris, gardenias, spiraeas, and most other shrubs that bloom in spring and early summer should not be pruned until the flowers fade, or you risk removing flowering wood and buds.
By: Susan Larkin (Vice President, Marketing & Public Relations)