Spring is here and that means it's time to start sprucing up the porch, patio and yard with some beautiful spring flowers. Of course, living in the Upper Midwest we are well aware of the challenges that spring weather can bring. In this edition of Owning Your Outdoors, we are going to highlight plants and flowers that love our cooler, springtime temperatures. Cool weather annuals are plants and flowers that handle cool springtime temperatures a little better than other plants. The trade-off is that these plants do not do quite as well when the dog days of summer roll around.
If you want to have colorful flowers in your containers from now through the end of fall, you should expect to completely replace what is in your containers at least a couple of times during the season. Our KSFY yard and garden expert, Doug Schroeder from Lewis, recommends at least three plantings throughout the spring, summer, and fall. You should start now with plants and flowers that like cooler temperatures and can better handle morning temperatures in the low to mid 30s. As temperatures rise in late May and early June, you should replace those with summertime heat loving plants. When fall rolls around, you should once again clear out your container and replace the summer plants with plants more appropriate for autumn.
Doug recommends daffodils, tulips, osteospermum and others. While these plants will thrive in cooler spring temperatures, they will also handle the cold morning temperatures we often experience this time of year. While these plants are a bit more hearty in cooler spring temperatures, Doug still suggests covering your cool weather annuals when temperatures are expected to drop to or below 36 degrees. If possible, Doug suggests bringing your planter into the garage if temperatures are expected to drop below 34 degrees.
Doug says one of the nice things about cool weather annuals is that they're not typically planted into the yard or ground. They're usually placed in a planter or a hanging basket which makes them easy to move on nights when temperatures are expected to drop into the low 30s.