July 31, 2018

Too late to plant?


This is for us folks north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Those of you who can grow tropical plants outside in December please ignore this. You can laugh if you want but we can grow Peonies and you can’t so there.

Several people here in south-eastern Wisconsin (Z 5) in the last few weeks have asked “is it too late to plant?”
The simple answer is, “no.” It’s not a problem at all.

Here’s why. What you want is for perennial plants to grow roots into the ground (root in) before winter. That prevents frost heave when the thawing and freezing in winter lifts unrooted plants out of the ground sometimes killing them.

In general roots grow when the soil temperature is 55˚ or warmer. There’s no doubt that the soil is warmer now. But even into fall soil temperatures stay warmer than air temperatures for quite a while. If you mulch the soil it will stay above 55˚even longer. So plant away to your heart’s content or move plants if you want for probably another two+ months. After that you can think tulips, daffodils, lilies and those things. They should be planted in cool soil.

And here’s a pretty picture because all posts need to have a picture: