Considering Winter Conditions While Planting

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Thanks to Estabrook’s for permission to repost!

Sometimes in the fair weather of spring and summer our quest to “cover that foundation” or “get it in the ground” can get ahead of us. Snow from roofs, wind, rain and water run-off are all important considerations at the time of planting.

The best way to avoid damage to plants is to allow enough room between structures and plants to allow for snow, water and ice to fall from the roof. We’ve all seen wooden structures and burlap used to protect plants, and this may be an effective method for some, but on a larger scale, can be cost and time prohibitive.

Another common problem is what we call “utility” damage. In our gardening exuberance we often create areas that are susceptible to winter damage by meter readers and fuel delivery personnel. If a plant is buried under snow, one misstep can wreak havoc with brittle plants. If you have an existing trouble area, consider using some perennial material in combination with shrubs that can handle the forces of nature, since most perennials emerge from ground level each year.

Some plants that are more tolerant of snow load and extreme conditions are listed below. You will also find a list of plants that are the most severely damaged by winter winds and snow. These plant lists should be used as a general guide; for any specific questions or concerns, please contact us.

Shrubs That Will Tolerate Snow Load

These shrubs will tolerate a reasonable amount of snow load.

  • Acer
  • Buddleia
  • Caryopteris
  • Chaenomeles
  • Clethra
  • Cornus
  • Cotinus
  • Cotoneaster
  • Euonymus
  • Hibiscus
  • Hydrangea
  • Hypericum
  • Ilex
  • Juniperus
  • Leucothoe
  • Microbiota
  • Myrica
  • Physocarpus
  • Picea
  • Pinus
  • Potentilla
  • Prunus
  • Rhus
  • Salix
  • Sorbaria
  • Spiraea
  • Stephanandra
  • Syringa
  • Thuja
  • Weigela

Plants Susceptible to Damage

Pay special attention to these plants during the winter and provide cover if at all possible. Plants marked with an asterisk (*) are also susceptible to winter wind damage.

  • Acer *
  • Azalea
  • Daphne
  • Deutzia
  • Forsythia
  • Ilex
  • Juniperus
  • Kalmia *
  • Lonicera
  • Picea *
  • Pieris *
  • Pinus
  • Rhododendron *
  • Sciadopitys *

Winter Interest Perennials

Provide structure to your winter garden with these perennials.

  • Achillea
  • Allium
  • Artemisia
  • Aruncus
  • Astilbe
  • Baptisia
  • Bergenia
  • Cimicifuga
  • Coreopsis
  • Echinacea
  • Echinops
  • Epimedium
  • Kirengeshoma
  • Perovskia
  • Rudbeckia
  • Salvia
  • Sedum

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Lemon Queen Sunflowers - Helianthus annuus

Annual

 

Short Description

Beautiful butter yellow flowers blossom mid-summer to frost! Typically grow to more than 5 ft. tall. Expect 70 days to flower.

Growing Guidelines

  1. Around the last frost date, sow seeds directly into the soil.
  2. Plant seeds 1" deep and 6" apart.
  3. Water well after planting.
  4. Apply a 3"-4" layer of mulch to conserve water and keep down weeds.
  5. Thin seedlings to 1 ft. apart to allow 2 to 3 ft. between plants.

Care and Feeding
Plant in full sun. Sunflowers are drought-resistant, but they'll grow better if you water regularly from the time the flowers begin to develop until they're mature. Thriving in most soils, these flowers will become massive if given ample fertility, space and water. Harvest blossoms for continued flowering.

Need more information or gardening supplies? Contact your local independent garden center.

Calendula Mix-Calendula officinalis

 

Short Description

Fruition has hand-selected this variety to have a brilliant diversity of colors with dozens of gorgeous, petals on each blossom.

Growing Guidelines

Direct sow (recommended)

  1. After the last frost, sow directly outside in the garden.
  2. Plant seed 24 to 36 inches apart in all directions.

Transplant method

  1. A cool-season plant, calendula can be started indoors in flats, under grow lights 6-8 weeks before the last frost for early season flowering.
  2. Seeds germinate in 5-15 days.

Care and Feeding
Plant in full sun to partial shade. Easy to grow and remarkably drought tolerant, calendula also thrives in containers and will readily naturalize when let go to seed.

Transplanting Tips

  1. Purchase a good seed starting soil like Espoma Organic seed starting mix or Coast of Maine.
  2. Use a small greenhouse tray(tray with a clear plastic dome) to germinate your seeds.
  3. When it's time to transplant into the garden, use a fertilizer like Espoma Flower-tone or Espoma Plant-tone.

Need more information or gardening supplies? Contact your local independent garden center.

Purple Queen Anne's Lace

"Dara" Daucus carota

 

Short Description

Gorgeously laced 3-5" umbels in shades of burgundy, lilac, mauve & white on long, strong stems perfect for cutting, adored by pollinators. Related to our native carrot, Queen Anne's Lace.

Growing Guidelines

Direct sow (recommended)

  1. In early spring, after late frost, sow seeds directly in soil.
  2. Plant 1 seed 1/8" deep and 2" apart.
  3. Expect 2 weeks for germination.
  4. When seedlings are 2-3" tall, thin to 1 plant every 9-12".
  5. Support may be needed if fertility is high or if your garden is windy.

Transplant method

  1. Chill seed at 40 F 1-2 weeks prior to sowing 1/8" deep, 2 seeds per cell 4-5 weeks before planting out.
  2. Expect germination in 1-2 weeks.
  3. When first leaves appear, transplant into larger containers.
  4. Harden off & transplant with 9-12" between plants after last frost.

Care and Feeding
Plant in full sun. Expect 65-75 days to maturity. Dara has an exceptionally long vase life; harvest when 80% of an umbel's flowers are open & no pollen has shed. Enjoy 7-15 heads per plant on swaying 35-50" stalks.

Transplanting Tips

  1. Purchase a good seed starting soil like Espoma Organic seed starting mix or Coast of Maine.
  2. Use a small greenhouse tray(tray with a clear plastic dome) to germinate your seeds.
  3. When it's time to transplant into the garden, use a fertilizer like Espoma Flower-tone or Espoma Plant-tone.
Need more information or gardening supplies? Contact your local independent garden center.

Marigolds

Annual

Care and Feeding

Transplant Only: Sow 4 weeks before last frost shallowly, 2 seeds per cell and thin to 1, keeping soil surface moist until emergence. Transplant to larger containers when true leaves appear. Harden off and transplant outside when the danger of frost has passed with 12" between plants. Deadhead for blossoms all season.

  • Sowing Date: Indoors before last frost
  • Seed Depth: 1/4 inch
  • Days to Germination: 4-7 days at 75-80°F
  • Days to Maturity: 60
  • Plant spacing after thinning: 12 inches
  • Height: 12 inches

Need more information or gardening supplies? Contact your local independent garden center.

Organic Mexican Sunflower (Torch Tithonia)

Annual

Care and Feeding
Direct Seed (recommended): After final frost, sow every 8" and thin to one every ~2'. Light required to germ, so barely cover seed. Full sun is best. Any (even poor) soil is suitable. Harvest flowers when 90% open for bouquets.

Transplant: Sow indoors 2-3 weeks before last frost, transplanting after frost with spacing below.
 
  • Sowing Date: After frost; Late May- early June
  • Seed Depth: 1/2 inch
  • Days to Germination: 7-14 days
  • Days to Maturity: 85
  • Plant spacing after thinning: 2 feet
  • Height: 5-7 feet

Need more information or gardening supplies? Contact your local independent garden center.

Cosmos

Annual

Care and Feeding

Direct Seed (recommended): After last frost, shallowly sow 4 seeds/foot & thin to 1/foot when first true leaves appear. Wider spacing = thicker stronger stems.

Bouquets: harvest when petals first open. Deadhead for blooms all season.

Transplant: Shallowly sow 4 weeks before transplanting after last frost at below spacing. Transplant your cosmos for earlier blooms and more full-size plants per pack; direct sow for blooms throughout the season and simplicity of sowing.

  • Sowing Date: After frost, late May to early June 
  • Seed Depth: 1/4 inch
  • Days to Germination: 7-10
  • Days to Maturity: 65-70
  • Plant spacing after thinning: 18-24 inches
  • Height: 3-4 feet

Need more information or gardening supplies? Contact your local independent garden center.