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Hot & Cold Weather Planting
If your spring order arrives when it’s still cold outside, or during an early hot spell, or if your fall order arrives when it’s still hot outside or during an early cold spell, just keep these additional points in mind while following the regular instructions in this planting guide.
Hot Weather Planting
Delayed Planting – If you are not able to plant your order immediately after it arrives, store your plants in a cool location, such as a basement. Do not allow them to dry out, and plant them as soon as possible.
Trees and Shrubs – Newly planted trees and shrubs need plenty of deep moisture in the soil to establish strong roots. If your area experiences extended periods of hot, dry weather in the spring or before winter, prepare the soil before planting by filling the hole with water several times and allowing it to drain deep into the ground.
Perennials – Again, moisture in the ground is essential. Do not allow newly planted perennials to dry out after planting.
Bulbs – Spring and summer-blooming bulbs can be planted as usual, even if it’s hot outside.
Cold Weather Planting
Potted Plants – You can treat potted shrubs and perennials as houseplants during cold weather. Provide some light, such as on a windowsill. Keep them moist, but not soggy, and plant them outdoors as soon as weather permits.
Trees and Shrubs – You can plant trees and shrubs if the ground is not frozen. If the ground freezes because of a cold spell, it will probably not stay frozen for long, so you can plant trees and shrubs as soon as the ground becomes workable again. In the meantime, store them in a protected spot like a garage, and plant as soon as the ground is ready. If you don’t have time to plant them all in the fall, place them together in one hole, cover their roots with soil, and wait until early spring to replant them before new growth appears.
Bulbs and Perennials – If you are not able to plant your bulbs and perennials immediately when they arrive store them in a cool location, such as a basement. Do not allow them to dry out, and plant them as soon as possible. It’s never too late to plant bulbs as long as the ground is not frozen. Even if you have a snowfall, you can still plant beneath the snow.
Spring Flowering Bulbs – As long as the soil is workable, it’s not too late to plant your bulbs – even if there’s snow on the ground! If the ground isn’t frozen, simply brush away the snow and plant your bulbs according to this planting guide.
Forcing Bulbs – If the ground is no longer workable, you can force your bulbs to bloom indoors. Forcing tricks the bulbs into thinking they’ve been underground and dormant all winter, which makes them bloom months before the usual cycle. Select a pot with bottom drainage and fill with soil. Place bulbs just below the soil surface, and place pot in a water-filled tray to soak. Remove and place in a cool, dark, ventilated area with a temperature range between 40-50°F. Water occasionally, but never soak the soil. In about 8-12 weeks, when roots show in drain holes and slight top growth appears, place pot in sunny window in coolest room of the house. Turn occasionally to encourage straight stems. To extend the life of the blooms, remove from sun and return to cooler room at night. In the spring, plant them outdoors, according to directions.
Winter Storage– Bulbs: If you don’t wish to force bulbs, store them in your refrigerator or a cold cellar. If you store them in a frost-free refrigerator, remove the plastic bag and wrap them in damp sphagnum moss, then return them to the plastic bag and refrigerate. Do not store near fruit and do not freeze. Plant them outdoors as soon as the ground is workable in early spring, even in a spring thaw.
Perennials, Roots and Tubers: These can be stored over the winter in the crisper of your refrigerator. If they start to show mold, remove them from their plastic wrapper, wipe away the mold, and wrap in paper towel or newspaper before returning to refrigerator. Remember: Plant all stored items outside as soon as the ground can be worked.