by Beth Cook, Mammoth Cave Transplants:
Is it safe yet? This is a question all of us gardeners ask ourselves when Spring begins and we have our first few days of warm weather. We all have an impulse to garden and plant, but it’s just not safe for some of the more tender plants until the threat of frost has passed. So we begin by getting our beds and landscapes ready, we keep planning and waiting very impatiently for the all clear. Here in south central Kentucky it is best to wait until around the first of May to do any major planting of flowers. Well folks that time is upon us!
In all of the dreaming and planning you have done over winter, have you decided what flowers you are going to plant and where? A big question is how much time do you want to devote to your blooming beauties? If you plant them in the ground, they require less care. When planting in pots or planters they require a little extra attention.
You also need to keep in mind that not all flowers are the same. Some varieties can handle the hot sun and dry conditions, while others are very fragile and need only the morning sun. It is a good idea to evaluate how much sun your bed gets or where you will hang or set potted plants. Determine whether or not it gets morning sun or afternoon sun.
Another thing to keep in mind is your soil condition. Is it well drained, or stay fairly moist? Some plants, like Vinca, like hot dry locations and do not require a lot of watering. Also what will be the size at the plants maturity? Carefully read the tag supplied with the plant at the time of purchase for any particulars that might apply to the variety you are planting. Once you have determined these things, it will help you in your plant selection.
Now you have your plants, how do you plant them? If you have decided you are putting them in a bed, it is a good idea to enhance your soil with some organic material like peat moss, composted manure, or organic soil. Mix those well into your soil. This is also a good time to add a balanced, timed-release fertilizer to get your plants off to a good start.
If you are planting in pots and planters, we suggest a planting medium that already has time release fertilizer in it, like Miracle Grow potting mix. If you choose a medium without fertilizer in it, you can always use a liquid fertilizer for proper nutrition. Also planting in containers requires more watering than those planted in beds.