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Can I Plant In Winter?

Can I Plant In Winter?

Our customers are asking if it’s possible to put plants in the ground in the wintertime. “Can I plant in January?” So far the weather has been very mild this winter, and the ground isn’t frozen, so this question is understandable.

The answer is, it depends. If the shrubs or trees that you want to put in your yard have been outside through the fall and are acclimated to the current temperatures, by all means you can place them in the ground. However, don’t skimp on the process because it’s colder while you’re working outside. Dig a wide, bowl-shaped hole, only as deep as the rootball, so that the soil is loosened on all sides. Place the shrub or tree in that hole and fill around the plant with the soil you took out. Then top-dress the area you just dug with an inch or two of composted manure which will begin improving the soil from the top down. You can top that with an inch or two of mulch now, or in the spring.

If the shrubs or trees you want to put in your yard have been outside, by all means plant them! But if they have been in a greenhouse or other warm location you’ll need to get them used to the cold gradually, if possible.

Some ask if they can plant the Hellebores or other perennial plants they purchased for holiday decorations. If these plants have been protected, put them outside during the day and bring them into a cool but protected place such as a garage at night. Do this for a week to ten days and then plant them where they are to grow. Monitor the rainfall and if we get no significant water for a couple of weeks, provide some for the plants that were installed.

Other customers have called to say that they’ve recently discovered a bag of bulbs they forgot to plant last fall. As long as the ground isn’t frozen, these should be planted asap. If the ground is frozen, plant them in a pot of soil in your garage so that they can develop roots now. Don’t store the bulbs until spring; it’s better to plant those bulbs soon be it in the ground or in pots.

Bulbs should be planted as soon as possible. If you leave them until spring they might turn soft and not have the energy to flower.

Any plants that you purchase that might have been raised in another climate, or are coming straight from a greenhouse, shouldn’t be planted outside in the winter. So, for example, the herbs that we have Country Garden’s front greenhouse should not be planted outdoors. A thyme that is indoors now, for example, might be hardy through winters if it was planted during the growing season, but it might die from shock if it was taken from the warmth of a hothouse into the cold January weather.

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