The Q&A Archives: Time of Year to Plant

Question: I live in NJ, and just planted in the ground purple Petunias, Red & Pink Geraniums in potters. My questions is, did I plant them to early. My aunt told me not to plant till May 10th. What are my options now, I just spent $50 on these plants that I do not want to lose. Any suggestions, or will they be fine? What happens if we get cold weather?

Answer: Sounds like you're playing the odds! The safest bet is to plant about a week after your average last frost date - which historically May 4. That's only a couple of weeks away so, your plants may be safe and because they were planted early they should outperform plants put in the ground on May 10th. However, if a hard frost is predicted, you may lose your plants, no matter how much protection you provide for them. A mild or short term frost shouldn't hurt them too much and you can always cover them with old sheets to keep them warm overnight. I'd just watch the weather reports each afternoon. If frost is predicted, wait until the sun sets and go out and cover up your petunias with old sheets and move your geraniums to a frost free place (garage, porch, etc.) overnight. Best wishes with your new plants!

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