Spring is in the air here in Charleston, South Carolina. Well, almost. With the Festival of Houses and Gardens coming up this month, the Charleston Naturally team is ready to start planting.
Depending on where you live, it may be too early to start gardening outside. The good news is that it’s never too early to begin gardening indoors.
Starting your seeds in indoor pots will help to mature and strengthen their roots, allowing them to endure small, early-spring struggles once they’re transplanted outside. When planting seeds indoors, remember to keep them in a place that receives ample sunlight. If you don’t have an area in your home that receives this much sun, try using a fluorescent light to nurture the budding plants.
In addition to plenty of sunlight, your growing seeds also need just the right amount of water to mature. Mist the soil so that it remains moist, but not drenched. If you drown your plants in water every day, that might just kill them. Poke the soil with your index finger to get a reading on the soil saturation. If it’s moist, you don’t need to water.
Now that you have your plants steadily growing indoors, how do you know when it’s time to plant them outside?
Spring planting has no definitive start-to-finish dates. Each year, the planting season begins at different times—depending on your local weather patterns and which plants you plan on growing. Sometimes planting begins early; other times it begins later. If local weather has been fluctuating from freezing to temperate, you may want to wait to transplant until frost is out of the question.
Are there certain plants that can be transplanted earlier than others?
Annual flowers tend to have negative reactions to cooler temperatures, which is why it’s suggested to wait until after the last frost of spring. Perennials, on the other hand, can handle harsher and colder conditions that often occur at the beginning of spring.
If you think your plants are ready for outdoor conditioning but still cautious about frost, keep them in their pots but leave them outdoors in the sun and protected from the wind. If a chilly night or day hits, bring them inside a garage, greenhouse, or shed.
Remember to immediately bring them back outside once the frost or cold conditions have subsided and water them when necessary.
Once you get more comfortable with the weather conditions and trust that your plants are conditioned to the outdoor elements, you can begin to transplant your flowers from their pots into mineral-rich soil.
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